The various types and uses of kayaks
Kayaking is very fast becoming the choice vocational sport or activity for many people. Kayaking was traditionally a crucial means of survival for the Inuit people of Greenland. It was primarily used for hunting whales and seals. Kayaks were also used as a means of transport from one place to another on icy waters. Kayaks were simple vessels that were made of a frame of light drift wood or whale bones covered by tightly sewn skins. The skins were made watertight using whale fat.
The kayak is a slender vessel that can carry only one person across its width. Two people cannot use the kayak side to side. However, kayaks can be designed to carry two people in tandem i.e. along its length.
The kayak has evolved to be used today as a sporting vessel and as a recreational vessel. Today Kayaks are probably used most of the time as recreational vessels. Visiting any recreational facility that has navigable waters you are most likely to see kayaks.
There are many kinds of kayaks. Kayaks are built and designed in different ways depending on where they are to be used, what activity they are to be used in, and the preference of the paddler.
For example we have kayaks that are known as sit in kayaks. These are kayaks that are made in the same design that the Inuit people used to make them in, and still make them. This is where the user of the kayak, the paddler, has a cockpit that is in the kayak, i.e. the vessel is a rounded vessel with the pilot having the cockpit buried in the hollow. When in the kayak, the pilots feet go into the kayaks hollow body and only the upper torso and head are outside.
Today there are newer models where the kayak is not a hollow rounded vessel but it is made more like an open slender flat boat. This type of kayak, known as a sit-on-top kayak, enables the paddler to sit comfortably with his whole body able to move around. This design is used mostly for recreational purposes and fishing since it affords the paddler the ability to stand on the boat. In these type of kayak the paddler can get a good full body sun tan and one can relax in the kayak in various postures. A sit-on-top kayak can also allow one to go on a ride with pets such as dogs. This open kayak also has more space to carry other things such as camping gear.
Kayaks are also used today for sports. They are used for competing down rivers or in calm waters. Some of the kayak sporting activities include white water kayaking, flat water sprints, kayak surfing, and play boating. Play boating is where special kayaks are used to make acrobatic moves such as spins, flips, and other rodeo moves.
Kayaks are usually made from a hard rigid material but recreational kayaks can also be made from inflatable hypalon, PVC, or polyurethane. This makes them very easy to transport since when deflated they can fit in a very small bag. Some rigid kayaks are also made such that they can be folded or snapped apart into two or three pieces to make them easier to transport.