Kayaks, Kayakers and Kayaking

Kayaking can be recreational as well as adventuresome. Kayakers are serious about their sport. Kayaks give them an opportunity to see the world from a different perspective and, if they so desire, to pit themselves and the kayak against Mother Nature's wildest rivers and rapids.

Basic Kayak Terms

Basic kayak terms include bow, bilge pump, bulkhead, chine, demo boat, dry bag and stern. The bow is the front of the kayak. A bilge pump is a hand pump used to remove large amounts of water from the inside of the kayak.
The bulkhead is a vertical partition inside the kayak. It's usually made of foam. It serves two purposes. It reinforces the hull and aids flotation. The chine are the edges of the kayak. The term refers to changes in angle.
A demo boat is a demonstration boat dealers use to allow kayak drivers to test drive specific models or styles. The dry bag is a waterproof bag used to keep items dry. The bag is available in a variety of sizes for large or small items. The stern is the back of the kayak.

Basic Kayak Equipment

Basic kayak equipment includes kayak, paddle, life jacket or PFD, helmet and spray skirt.
Kayakers choose a kayak to fit the type of kayaking they plan to do. There are different types of kayaks for recreational kayaking, sea kayaking, and rocky river or creek kayaking. The kayakers size will affect kayak size.
Kayaking paddles come in multiple styles. Kayaker size and paddling style play a part in determining which type of paddle will be used.

Personal flotation devices or life jackets are required by law on most bodies of water. The Type III PFDs are legal for kayaking. Proper fit is vital.

Kayakers can choose helmets that reflect their style and personal tastes if they wish. Helmets are now available in a wide variety of colors and designs. In addition to the basic kayaking style helmet, there are helmets which include protection for the face. These resemble football helmets and are used when extra protection is required.

Spray skirts are used to keep the wearer dryer and to keep water out of the kayak. A properly fitted spray skirt seals the cockpit. Spray skirt style varies according to kayak style. The best spray skirt is made of neoprene. Sea kayaking spray skirts often contain both neoprene and nylon. Nylon spray skirts are often used in recreational kayaking.

Kayak Trails

There are kayak trails mapped out on many United States rivers and other waterways. Kayakers can choose short or long rides, wild or calm rides. Some of the National Forests feature kayak trails.

Kayak Tours

Kayaking is a way to see the United States and even the world with a different perspective. Kayak tours abound all
globally. Kayakers can paddle through the area in Hawaii where Jurassic Park was filmed. They can see killer whales up close while sea kayaking in Alaska. Brave kayakers can shoot the rapids all around the world.

Kayaking is here to stay. Kayaks give Kayakers a chance to go places that can't be accessed any other way. They allow kayakers to pit themselves against nature, to calmly paddle and enjoy nature and to renew an acquaintance with the world without the intrusion of technology.


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