6 Facts You Didn’t Know About Kayaks

Couple enjoying kayaking

For thousands of years, kayaks were a means to navigate waters. Now, however, it has turned into a leisure activity for many. From cruising along wide lakes to crossing narrow and fast waterways, kayaks are available in many forms and shapes. Additionally, if you’re interested in purchasing portable kayaks or canoes, check out our buyer’s guide at Outdoor Trends.

What Is A Kayak?

A kayak is a type of small and narrow boat that’s propelled using a double-bladed paddle. Commonly a kayak is a covered boat with cockpits for people to sit in. it can have one cockpit or two or more, and each occupant uses one paddle. Generally, the cockpit is covered by a spray deck so that water doesn’t get in. this is also the major difference between a kayak and canoe.

Moreover, this deck makes it easier for kayakers to roll the kayak in the water in case it topples. Many modern kayaks don’t have a cockpit-style look. Instead, these kayaks have inflated air chambers to keep the boat buoyant. Some of them are also fitted with small electric motors to power the boat.

White kayak and blue water

Why Is It So Popular?

Kayaking has become a popular outdoor activity among young adults who see it as a means to relax and let loose after a busy week. But that’s not all. Kayaking requires strength and endurance, so many people take it on as an activity to keep themselves fit and healthy. People also turn it into a family outing with their kids for a weekend getaway.

But kayaking isn’t that easy. Riding the waves is fun, but you need to have a strong balance because it doesn’t have any additional equipment, so it’s essentially propelled by your techniques. This is why you need proper training before you can kayak alone. There are several other interesting facts about kayaking that we have compiled in this blog.

Some Interesting Kayak Facts

Kayaks Are Over 4000 Years Old

It is widely believed by archeologists that kayaks were first invented around 1577 by the northern people such as Inuits, Yup’ik, and the Aleut tribes. These tribes resided in the Arctic lands of the world and used kayaks to travel across North America, Greenland, and Canada. One of the oldest crafted kayaks can be seen in Munich, Germany, at the Five Continents Museum. This kayak is around 450 years old and is built completely from natural materials.

They Were Made From Animal Skin

Since, in those early times, refined materials weren’t available, kayaks were made from natural materials such as animal skins. The skin of seals and other mammals was commonly used to create the cover for the kayak, while the structures were created using whale bones. The skin was stretched over the whale bones to create a buoyant craft with an open top.

But as time passed, kayaks were constructed using different techniques and materials such as birch barks and pine frames. In Australia, these kayaks were created by carving large buoyant logs.

These ancient techniques are still used today but the materials used are different. You can find kayaks made from wood, plastics, carbon fiber, and metal alloys. Not just that, but modern kayaks also vary in shape and size. However, the general design is somewhat the same.

Over 10 Different Types Of Kayaks Exist

Depending on the usage, kayaks come in different types. A whitewater kayak is completely different than the one used in the Olympics. Similarly, an open-top sea fishing kayak is quite different from a freshwater touring kayak. The difference comes from the performance required from the kayak.

For example, if someone wants to go down a route with class 5 rapids, they’ll need something durable enough to withstand it. Otherwise, the kayak might topple or even break. On the other hand, kayaks designed for tours have space for food, water, and even some camping gear.

Woman sitting in a blue kayak

They Were Invented For Hunting

The original purpose of kayaks was to allow tribes to get access to food sources. This is why kayaks were designed for hunting. As a result, the kayaks were not only designed to survive harsh waters but also had space to accommodate the catch.

Moreover, the ancient kayaks were pretty much silent on the waters due to their design, making it easier for the hunters to get closer to the fish and other animals without alerting them. Because of the kayak, transportation also became easier and people during that time started trading what they hunted.

It Was Introduced To The Olympics Over 100 Years Ago

Even though kayaking was properly introduced in the Olympics in 1936, it was displayed as a demonstration sport in the 1924 Olympics in Paris, France. The demonstration featured flatwater kayaking to see the audience and the Olympic committee’s response to the sport.

Even though kayaking was formally introduced in the Olympics in 1936, it was not until 12 years later that the women’s event was introduced. This even was a 500-meter kayak sprint. In contrast, the first-ever whitewater kayaking event premiered in Munich, Germany, in 1972. As of today, the Olympics has 15 different men’s and women’s kayaking events.

The Longest Kayak Trip Lasted Over 7 Years

In ancient times, the tribes used kayaks for traveling in the northern region, but modern kayaks aren’t designed for that. But Oskar Speck, a popular kayaker of his time, undertook the longest kayaking trip on record. He started on this journey from the Danube River in Germany in 1932 with the end goal of reaching Australia.

To achieve this, he used his 18 feet long folding kayak. Oskar traveled 30,000 miles, which took him seven and a half years. The interesting thing is that during his journey, WW2 started, but that still didn’t stop him. He faced vicious sharks, hostile locals, and even malaria during his journey.

But once he reached Australia, he was asserted on suspicion of being an enemy foreigner. But once the war ended, he was freed and spent the remainder of his life as a successful opal merchant.

Two men in a kayak

Kayaking is fun to do with your friends and family over the weekend. If you’re interested in buying the best portable kayak fish finders for 2022, check out our product recommendation and buyer’s guide at Outdoor Trends. In addition to that, we’ve also reviewed several other products, such as the best all-rounder surfboards to buy in 2022, the best professional hoverboards, the best electric mountain bikes, and many more. So hurry up, check out our website and find the latest gadgets today!

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