Everything to know about kayaking


            Kayaking is one of the fastest growing sports worldwide, particularly in United States. Modern technology allows for mass production of kayaks, with good quality of the vessels and with affordable prices. Today’s kayaks, built predominantly with materials like fiberglass, wood, plastic or Kevlar allow for safe and, at the same time exciting paddling experience. In that way, a boat invented 4.000 years ago is being re-invented and its original purpose is being forgotten. Traditional kayaks were used by the Inuits for hunting and fishing, and were constructed with materials found in nature: whalebone and seal skin as the most common of those.

             The various design options when making kayak offer great range of options when it comes to type of usage as well: they can be used professionally or for recreational purposes, and also on different water environments, including lakes, river or sea. When it comes to amateur kayaking, or just that typical recreational drive around you favorite lake, it is necessary to be familiar with certain basics of technique and elements of equipment. Since kayaking is in fact a very delicate relationship between a person, kayak and a paddle it is easy to make beginner’s mistakes, but almost anybody can master the fundamental requirements with a bit of practice.

             When it comes to equipment, it basically consists out of two elements – a kayak and a paddle. Body of a kayak can be made of different materials, and therefore they vary in prices: from the cheapest ones made out of plastic (ranging from $250 to $1.500) up to the most expensive versions constructed with a lighter and stronger material called Kevlar (up to $4.000). Design also has many variations, so kayaks used on sea are usually longer, and those used on whitewater rivers have stronger bodies so they can survive all of the impacts when hitting rocks. When it comes to paddle selection, it depends on number of factors – your stature, size of the kayak and stroking preferences. Unlike canoes, which have only one blade, kayaks use two-bladed paddles, and they can be shorter or longer, narrower or wider, flat or curved, or even feathered. Another element of equipment, which is not actually basic but is very important, nevertheless, is safety equipment. PFD (personal flotation device) is essential requirement for any kayaking attempt and should always be selected with care.


            After you decide to give it a try, it is time to get into the kayak and to actually start experiencing the real deal. Here are some general steps you need to follow, if you are a beginner:

  • Go the a good, secure kayak provider where you can also get general pointers for start
  • Learn how to properly wear your PFD
  • Learn how to adjust and sit in the kayak (essential for good control of the kayak)
  • Learn how to get into the kayak (while it is on water)
  • Learn how to properly hold the kayak paddle
  • Learn how to paddle with forward stroke
  • Learn how to exit kayak

              Kayaking is a very entertaining activity, and it is probably best to start with one or more friends, since this usually provides a lot of fun and laughter about all the mistakes and problems controlling a kayak brings along.

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