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Kayaking
By Hanna Nilson

Like Canoeing, Kayaking is a great out-door water sport. Whether you're looking to take a calm and relaxing trip down a scenic river or venture out into the wide open sea - a kayak can do it all, and everything in between.

For beginners, it might be tricky to tell the difference between kayaking and canoeing. Indeed, they are very similar. However, knowing the differences might help you to make a choice about your next vacation get-way.

The International Canoe Federation defines a kayak as a boat where the kayaker faces forward, has their legs in front of them, and uses a double bladed paddle. While almost all kayaks have closed decks, there are also many sit-on-top kayaks which are actually becoming more and more popular. On the other hand, a canoe is defined as a boat where the passenger faces forward and kneels in the boat. Canoes also require a single bladed paddle rather than a two bladed paddle. Since canoes are generally portrayed as open deck boats, you may be surprised to know that a canoe can be closed deck or open deck. In this case, one would generally have to have some canoeing or kayaking experience to tell the difference between a closed-deck canoe and a closed-deck kayak.

As it is with canoeing, there are several different types of kayaking styles and techniques such as Sea or Ocean Kayaking, White Water Kayaking and Surf Kayaking. These various kayaking skills are described below.

White Water Kayaking: This may be otherwise known as river kayaking. White water kayaking can be just as rough as ocean kayaking as it depends on the current's strength or class. (See White Water Rafting for class system). Depending on the course, river kayaking may require a significant level of experience and navigational skill. If you're a beginner, make sure to stay on calm waters and travel with a professional guide.

Ocean/Sea Kayaking: A sea kayak is specifically designed for enduring open waters. They also have closed decks and a spray guard or spray-deck. These boats lack in maneuverability what they make-up for in cargo capacity, ease or straight-paddling and comfort. These are all important qualities given that extensive sea kayaking trips can last for weeks. Sea kayakers often combine kayaking activities with kayak fishing, camping and site-seeing.

Surf Kayaking: Surf kayaking is similar to surf board surfing, but instead, surf kayaks are boats come equipped with paddles to help propel and navigate. Although this particular kayaking technique is relatively new, it is steadily growing in popularity. As with any water sport, surf kayaking can be dangerous. But, as long as you remain in control of the kayak, it can be lots of fun.

So, the next time you plan your kayak or canoe trip, consider some of the FAQs. Also, you may want to check you local Directory and Resources for some great kayaking and canoeing ideas.


 

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