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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sea Kayaking at Wilsons Promontory in Victoria, Australia

Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. Kayaking is generally differentiated from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is defined by the International Canoe Federation (the world sanctioning body) as a boat where the paddler faces forward, legs in front, using a double bladed paddle. Almost all kayaks have closed decks, although there are many sit-on-top kayaks, and these boats are growing in popularity. A canoe is defined as a boat where the paddler faces forward and sits or kneels in the boat, using a single bladed paddle. Canoes can be closed deck or open deck.

Whitewater kayaking involves taking a kayak down rapids. Sea kayaking, sometimes referred to as Ocean Kayaking, involves taking kayaks out on to the ocean or other open water e.g., a lake. Sea kayaking can involve short paddles with a return to the starting point or "put-in" or expeditions covering many miles and days. Kayaking of all kinds has continued to increase in general popularity through the 1990s and early 21st century.

Kayaking at Great Falls, Virginia.

Kayaks are classified by their intended use. There are six primary classifications: polo, slalom, whitewater, surf, touring/expedition, light touring/day tripping and general recreation. From these primary classifications stem many sub-classes. For example, a fishing kayak is simply a general recreation kayak outfitted with features and accessories that make it an easier kayak from which to fish. A creek kayak is a certain type of whitewater kayak, designed to handle narrow gully type rivers and falls. Also within these classifications are many levels of performance which further separate the individual models. In other words, not all touring kayaks handle the same.

There are two major configurations of kayaks: "sit on tops" which, as the name suggests, involves sitting on top of the kayak in an open area, and "cockpit style" which involves sitting with the legs and hips inside the kayak hull with a "spray deck" or "spray skirt" that creates a water resistant seal around the waist. Whether a kayak is a sit-on-top or a cockpit style has nothing to do with its classification. Both configurations are represented in each of the five primary classifications. While most kayaks are designed to be paddled by a single person, other configurations include tandem and even triple cockpit boats.

Because of their range and adaptability, kayaks can be a useful mode of transport for other sports such as diving, fishing, and wilderness exploration.

See also


Kayakers off the coast of Raspberry Island (Alaska)
  • The Bombproof Roll and Beyond (1993) P. Dutky, Menasha Ridge Press, ISBN 0-89732-085-9
  • International Canoe Federation (2007)

External links

  • Wikipaddle - Online canoe and kayak wiki guide.
  • Kayakwiki - A wiki website (like Wikipedia) about kayaks and kayaking.




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