Kayaks as we know them now have evolved from those developed over perhaps thousands of years by the Inuit peoples of the Arctic regions.
They were fast and sea worthy craft made out of drift wood, bones and animal skins. They had to be quick as a hunting or fishing craft and sea worthy to handle freezing cold waters. Europeans quickly adapted the designs using wooden and rubber / canvas skins. Klepper was one of the first to develop this design.
There followed all wood and then composite construction and finally plastics. The use of the double bladed paddle is one of the defining characteristics of kayaks today although the design of the craft may have modified over recent times.
From the Arctic hunters craft the kayak designs have evolved to suit many different uses and pursuits from recreational, sporting and commercial including military.
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For most of us just getting out on the water is a great way to rejuvenate, re-create and experience the sheer pleasures of being outdoors. especially on the water. (or in the water).
Recreational paddling can be anything from an hour or so just dipping the paddle to extended multi day expeditions with your self or a group of like minded people. Paddling on glassy waters to challenging yourself in fearsome white water rapids or mountainous open water seas.
Whatever your personal tastes there is a multitude of places to go, things to learn and do along the way. As such there is a multitude of recreational kayaks designed to suit just your needs.
There is almost no end to the ways that adventuresome people will make use of a kayak. Whether it be a leisurely paddle on still waters to a full on adventure in big rapid or open seas or even Olympic competition.
Kayaking has a special place for everyone.
Whatever the use there is a design to suit it. The following articles / blogs will attempt to give a brief overview of the kayak use and its appropriate design considerations..
The range of construction materials is becoming mind blowing with technology advances making leaps and bounds. While skin on wood frame construction may still be very popular with diehards the array of new material in use is expanding.
Composites consisting of fibreglass reinforcing with polyester resin through Kevlar, carbon fibre, and epoxy resins for the highest levels of quality and strength.
Wooden kayaks have always held a special place with their individual designs and usually finish more as a piece of art than a kayak. One of my favourites.
Making in roads has been other plastics such as polyethelines, thermosets, inflatables, foldable and the list goes on.
Today there is something very romantic about wooden boats. While wooden boats have been around for centuries and have largely been replaced by the technological marvels of steel, cement, fibreglass and plastic the continuation of traditional wooden boat building techniques never fails to enthral and delight any person who has at least a passing interest in boats.
This category is devoted to the pursuit of aesthetic beauty in designing and crafting wooden kayaks.
Of all the types of kayaks available today perhaps one of the most advanced have been in the design and development of sports kayaks.
From recreational padding to Olympic competition levels, the sport of kayaking has many disciplines and as such many more designs and developments. Skills and agility to flat out racing. Water polo, rapid racing, slalom, sprint, marathon. The ways that people engage in sport is absolutely amazing. This category attempts to collate article and information about the sports of kayaking.
What is Canoe Ocean Racing?
Canoe Ocean Racing consists of long distance surfski, sea kayak and sea touring races. A surfski is the fastest boat over long distances on ocean swells, with the only flatwater boat able to go faster being an Olympic-standard canoe sprint boat.
Surfskis originated in Australia in the 1900s when two brothers, Harry and Jack McLaren, used them around their family’s oyster beds on Lake Innes in New South Wales. They would also use their custom-made boats to surf the beaches at nearby Port Macquarie. The speed and versatility of the boats made them ideal for lifesaving, and in 1946 surfski became a part of the lifesaving competition programme.
The challenges canoe ocean racing can face include large waves driven by the wind, cyclone generated ground swells and paddling in wind speeds of more than 20 knots. (ICF https://www.canoeicf.com/disciplines/canoe-ocean-racing )
Meridian Kayak's new sit on / open cockpit sea kayaks are idea for the recreational paddler to get involved in this exciting sport.
A very competitive form of whitewater paddling. This sport consists of running a rapid through a series of gates, both downstream and back upstream.
Sprint kayaking is what it sounds like. Going as fast as possible over a relatively short flat water course.
This competitive sport comprises some of the most innovative designs, kayak materials and paddling techniques.
Sprint kayaks are fixed in length due to the unfair advantages in extra long kayaks. The longer the kayak, the faster it goes. They are also very narrow, Again length beam ratio means faster and so are fixed in their beam / width.
Where the water flows quickly and there are obstacles in its way then you have rapids forming. Playing on rapids with waves, stoppers, water falls and many other features is a great sport in itself.
Play boating is fast becoming popular where the paddler simply plays on a wave doing all sorts of tricks.
Slalom and Rapid Racing or Down river racing and just two of the competitive sports in this category.
Slalom consists of negotiating a set of rapids both down stream and back upstream through a set course (through and around "gates").
Rapid Racing can be seen as is going straight downstream as fast as possible.