Kayaking is one of the most popular activities among Americans. Kayaking, also called kayaking (abbreviated as kayak), is a recreational water activity originated from early Polynesians that involves paddling a small inflatable boat using paddles. Kayaks can either be fixed-rigged or collapsible and are made of wood, fiberglass or plastic. Kayaks are typically rowed with the use of oars or paddle pumps, with most varieties suitable for speeds up to forty miles per hour and in calm waters.
Kayak travel is similar to surfing, and so is accessible on most major airlines. However, most bookings for kayaking must be done through a travel agent. Booking through an airline direct may be possible, however, due to higher costs associated with airfare and luggage handling. Kayaks are available for rent on most major river banks, and can be picked up at most marinas and lakes. It’s more convenient to rent a kayak than to try to transport it home; it’s better to be able to test drive the craft on the water before spending the money on a large one. Most kayak tours include transport of the kayak, and in some cases, have provision for loading and unloading it on local roads.
Fixed kayaks can be made of oak, cedar or composite materials. Fiberglass and Kevlar are also used, as they are lightweight, durable and resistant to UV damage. The seats are padded for comfort and features a twin seating bench and an easy to reach cockpit style. These boats have outriggers that help to keep the kayak steady, as well as a bailer that makes it easier to paddle into tight areas or to pull into tight stops.
Double-bladed paddle style kayaks are more compact and offer a smaller footprint than traditional single-bladed paddlers. They typically offer less padding, but some models have additional padding built in. A single-bladed paddle is designed for more maneuverability and offers more support. Many of these crafts feature an easily adjustable release foot, which makes it easier to gain control in the event of a kayak crash. Some models feature an optional headset microphone to increase sound clarity when communicating with others in a kayak group.
Surf ski kayaks have been in use for decades, originally developed as surfboards and later used on dry land as a means of transportation. They were originally developed as surfboard boats, but recent modifications have made them highly versatile in the world of kayaking. Typically, they are length over 36 inches long and between nine and ten feet wide. These are typically single-handedly propelled by means of a single paddle, although some can double as oars. Surfing kayaks provide no protection from the elements, although a foam or gel cushion in the cockpit can help provide protection against the hull’s movement.
Fishermen enjoy kayaking for two primary reasons: for navigation and for fishing. Depending on the location, a kayak can function as either a primary means of travel or a secondary source of entertainment. Recreational kayak enthusiasts also enjoy the challenge the sport presents. Regardless of the primary use, kayakers need to take special safety precautions to protect themselves from other kayakers, wildlife, and other watercraft. To this end, it’s important that all kayakers take a few basic safety steps, such as wearing a life vest, following all rules and regulations of the lake, following natural currents, and avoiding locations with high waves or dangerous currents.