Kayaking is a fun and exciting sport to get into. It’s relatively simple to pick up the basics, making it an easy and enjoyable activity for beginners. But what do you need to know before you take the plunge?
Check out our guide on how to get into kayaking and everything you need to know to get started.
What is Kayaking?
Kayaking is a water sport, where you move through the water in a narrow, low-to-water vessel, aided by a double-ended paddle. A paddler will normally sit within the vessel with their legs enclosed and their torso free to move. You can get other varieties of open kayaks where your legs are exposed.
There are several types of kayaking, including recreational (best suited for beginners), sport, and sea kayaking. But the two main categories of kayaking include white water and flat-water kayaking.
Flat Water Kayaking involves paddling across fairly calm waters, like lakes, where you need to simply keep the boat flat across the water. This is the easiest type of kayaking for beginners to start with. White Water Kayaking, however, involves faster running ‘white’ waters, where you need to be confident in moving the kayak in multiple directions, edging, and leaning.
Kayaking has been around for a long time. It is approximated that the first ever kayak was made around 5,000 years ago by the Inuit and Aleut people, in order to travel across the water. These kayaks would have been made from anything the tribes could find, including wood, bones, and animal skins. Today, modern kayaks, including sea, white-water, and flat-water styles are most commonly made from fibreglass or plastic.
What is the difference between Canoeing and Kayaking?
Kayaking is often mistaken for Canoeing; however, they’re two entirely different sports, although they might seem similar!
There are several differences between canoeing and kayaking; the main difference is, as mentioned, Kayaks are often closed-deck boats where paddlers sit within the boat and use a double-ended paddle. In contrast, Canoes are usually open-deck boats, where individuals sit or kneel, and use a one-bladed paddle.
Furthermore, when you head out in a canoe, the chances of you getting wet are far less than when you’re in a kayak. This is firstly due to a canoe often being far more relaxed, which means that canoeists are also less likely to need protective clothing like a helmet and can wear a lifejacket over a buoyancy aid because you won’t need to move quite as much.
Secondly, the shape of the canoe and the fact you’re seated higher up and further away from the water means, canoeists are more likely to get away with shorts and a t-shirt on warm days. Whereas people kayaking have a far higher chance of getting splashed so will need waterproof clothing.