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Kayaking – Can you take on the rapids in just your one-man boat?
Kayaking is a fun outdoor pursuit that like many modern pursuits started as a practical tool for survival.
A kayak is a very small boat barely large enough for one person. They bear a resemblance to a canoe but are historically and structurally different. A kayak is very slim and the user’s legs cannot be seen, making them appear to be a floating torso with a paddle. They are made from a variety of materials from wood to plastic, fibreglass or more advanced things like Kevlar. Many of these boats are made from a skeleton that has a fabric cover. Originally this would be sealskin, as the Inuits of the Arctic invented the first kayaks. They build each boat specifically to a person’s size so that no two kayaks are quite the same and they have maximum control.
The Inuits used kayaks for hunting, taking out a double bladed paddle and a spear, and fishing the cold seas. They were typically sewn into the kayak like a piece of clothing. The obvious danger is that if the boat capsizes they will be trapped under the water; this is where the ‘Eskimo roll’ technique was born. This varies in method but allows a practised user to right a kayak without leaving the cockpit, extremely useful for safety.
There are a variety of modern kayaks. They are classed depending on the way that they curve and the measurements of the width and length. People can buy kayaks that fit more than one person allowing for a family or a group of friends to enjoy sailing together. More daring people will get specially built ‘white water’ kayaks to brave the rapid waters of wild rivers. These are often a tough material like a strong plastic and can be used to perform stunts on the rushing waters, sometimes becoming airborne for a few seconds. There are kayak variations for recreational use, streamlined models for competitive racing, and even folding kayaks that can be collapsed. These are built on skeletal frames and are the closest to the original Inuit kayaks. Sea kayaking is a widely enjoyed past time but it requires a kayak built for the conditions and with space for provisions. This is one of many forms of kayaking that has become a popular activity and a widely recognised water sport.
About the Author: John Gibb is the owner of kayaking guidance
For more information on kayaking check out http://www.kayaking-inormation-4u.info