Since the dawn of time, man has had an affinity with water. For many of us, there’s a sense of excitement, yet calmness that washes over us (pardon the pun) when we’re around water in the great outdoors. Water is, after all, the natural life-bringer, but it offers us so much more.
For those of you who can’t get enough of the great outdoors, you’ll find there are plenty of adventure sports and activities which can be performed on the water. One activity which is proving to be particularly popular as of late, is kayaking, and it is kayaking which we’re going to be looking at today. If you’re considering taking up kayaking, or if you’d simply like to learn more, here is a definitive introduction to kayaking for beginners. Contained within this guide is everything you could ever wish to know about kayaking.
A brief history of kayaking
If you were paying attention during our introduction, you’ll remember how we said that we’d be looking at everything you could ever wish to know about kayaking. We weren’t saying that just to try and sound clever, we said it because it’s true. Though this section on the history of kayaking is unlikely to ever prove useful whilst on the open water, it is still very interesting and it’s a great way to show off with your kayaking buddies at the bar after an awesome afternoon on the water.
Kayaking can be traced back to ancient Inuit culture several thousand years back. The name literally meant ‘hunter’s boat’. Needless to say, with a name like that, you can probably guess what the boats were used for.
That’s right, they weren’t designed to provide a leisurely mode of transport down a soothing and calming river, they were designed to act as transportation vessels to allow the Inuit hunters to stalk animals from the water and sneak up on them from the water’s edge. Nowadays, kayaks come in all shapes and sizes, and are made from durable and hard-wearing materials. Back then however, they were commonly made from lumps of driftwood, as well as whale bones, which were then wrapped in animal skins to help prevent them from becoming waterlogged.
As fantastic as those designs were, they were of course flawed, and kayaks nowadays wouldn’t hold up if they were made to those specs. Thankfully for keen kayakers out there, kayak designs have evolved dramatically and nowadays kayaks are commonly made from durable and hard-wearing materials such as fibre glass or polyethylene plastic.
Common types of kayak
Whilst there are kayaks which hold multiple person’s, when out on the water, the most common kayak design you’re likely to encounter is a traditional single cockpit model. Here, the paddler will sit inside of the boat and will be sealed in using a spray deck which also happens to be bendy. You can get hardwearing plastic kayaks, upmarket fibreglass ones, tandem kayaks, and much more besides. As well as being made from different materials, and coming in different shapes and sizes, you’ll also find that many kayaks also come in different colours, shapes, sizes, and designs.
Okay, so what exactly is kayaking?
Now that we’ve looked at the history of kayaks, as well as where they originated, how they’ve evolved, and what they are, we now need to take a look at precisely what kayaking is. Kayaking isn’t some complex water sport which requires expensive kit and a wealth of knowledge. It’s actually very simple. Basically, kayaking