Got a Kayak? Kayaking is Closer than You Think!

If you own a kayak that is easy to transport, you can take it anywhere you visit, even in a city.

Also, you can always rent a kayak to enjoy this sport that is easy to learn. Kayaks can be paddled on all bodies of water from rivers and lakes to coastal waters.

Many cities throughout the world have lakes that are perfect for flatwater kayaking. In fact, whitewater kayaks are found on rushing rivers in many areas near cities.

Types of Kayaks

Kayaks are enclosed canoes although there are other differences between the two. A person operating a canoe uses a single-blade paddle while kayakers use a double-bladed paddle. Both types of vessels are long and narrow.

There are several types of kayaks:

  • Sit-on-the-top open kayak
  • Touring kayaks
  • Enclosed recreational kayak
  • Sea kayaks
  • Whitewater kayaks
  • Peddling kayaks

The kayaks are made from fiberglass and other modern materials. Many traditional kayaks are made from wood. There are also inflatable models that you can take with you as luggage. Most kayaks generally take only one person, although two-person kayaks are popular for flat water and touring.

The open sit-on-the-top kayaks may be a little wider than other styles. This vessel is easy to get into and it is great in warm weather. This is the kayak that can be carried on top of a car and is ideal for warm days on calm lakes and rivers. Kayakers, who must always wear a life jacket, paddle along lakes, rivers, and protected bays.

Recreational kayaks have a closed cockpit, but the opening is large enough for one paddler and a small child. These kayaks are usually 10 feet long and they can be transported on a car-top with a special rack. They track well, meaning they’re easy to paddle in a straight line. The open cockpit can be covered with a special skirt to keep it dry and warm in cooler weather.

Touring kayaks that can also be sea kayaks are usually 12 feet or longer. They are narrower and may have rudders and foot pedals to help them turn. They may be tandem models with cockpits for two people. These kayaks are fast and often used for long trips on open water. 

Some kayaks have foot pedals and rudders for people who prefer to use their feet rather than their arms. 

Whitewater kayaks are for running rapids. Longer “old school” boats are popular on rivers. Many outfitters offer guided river rafting trips for experienced kayakers on rivers near cities. They supply the vessels, life jackets, helmets, and a professional guide to lead kayakers through the rapids on a wild and wet ride.

Kayak History

The concept of the kayak began in the far north by native Inuit and Aleut people who built these vessels with wood frames covered in seal skins. The vessels were warm and watertight. They enabled individuals to fish and travel by water when there was little or no ice. The interior was roomy and it could hold fish and tackle. Designs varied in different regions.

Kayak races became an Olympic sport in 1936. The racecourse was 1000 meters and 10,000 meters over flat water for single and double kayakers. Whitewater kayaking and slalom courses were added to the Olympics in 1972.

Professional kayakers are usually whitewater experts such as Emily Jackson, daughter of Olympic kayaker Eric Jackson. She is a World Freestyle Champion who grew up on rivers and calls Rock Island, Tennessee home.

Health Benefits

Travelers visiting cities can take a break and kayak on local lakes and rivers. Kayaks can be rented everywhere from Alaska to Florida, in Canada, the Caribbean, Pacific, and Europe.

This is a nice way to enjoy the local waters, especially in warm weather. Also, paddling through the water is a good exercise that benefits the cardiovascular system and your muscles. It’s the perfect way to relax!

Learn about the local waterfowl and aquatic plants as you glide over the water of an unfamiliar lake during your travels. This is an easy and fun activity for older children and adults of all ages.