Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water while using a paddle. Kayaking is different from canoeing by the fact that a kayak has a closed paddling area and a canoe has an open paddling area. Kayakers sit in a seat on the bottom of the boat with their legs extended out in front of them. Canoeists will either sit on an elevated bench seat or kneel directly on the bottom of the boat.
Whitewater kayaking involves taking a kayak down rapids and this is purely an adventurer driven sport. Sea kayaking sometimes also referred to as Ocean Kayaking is taking kayaks out on to the open ocean or other open water such as 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 grow in popularity through the 1990s and early part of this century.
Kayaks are classified by their use. There are five primary types of Kayaks: whitewater, surf, touring/expedition, light touring/day tripping and general recreation.
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 and a “spray skirt” that creates a watertight barrier around the waist. Whether a kayak is a sit-on-top or a cockpit style has nothing to do with which type it falls under. 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, Kayaking is popular amongst divers, fishers, and adventure enthusiasts. The current marathon kayaking world champion is Owen Dabney