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Kayaks

Ticket to fun & adventure

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Kayaks

It can be used to ride sweet waves, carry dive gear, slip into undiscovered caves, or catch the biggest fish of the day. It even allows gliding through the water, standing up. Name any water sport and you can find a kayak to go along with it.

It can be used to ride sweet waves, carry dive gear, slip into undiscovered caves, or catch the biggest fish of the day. It even allows gliding through the water, standing up. Name any water sport and you can find a kayak to go along with it.

When kayaks were first created by the Inuit and used in the Arctic Ocean, getting through tough terrain and sneaking up on unsuspecting seals and walruses prompted the design.

Fun for everyone
Today kayaks are created with fun and safety in mind. While kayakers may still want to sneak up on unsuspecting seals and walruses, it’s likely in the hope of snapping photos.

The kayak design varies depending on the activity it is built for. Sit-on-top kayaks make activities such as fishing and diving possible because they have sealed hatches to secure gear and provide easier entry to and exit from the water.

Whether it’s used for diving, surfing, fishing, or water skiing, the kayak is the new, cool, eco-friendly king of the sea.

Ellen Moran, a kayak instructor and kayak buyer for an outdoor specialty retailer, has seen the sport grow tremendously with the advent of small, affordable recreational kayaks.

“Kayaking is not all about running whitewater rivers and going over crazy waterfalls—these images have been used by marketers for the rush factor,” explains Moran. “In fact, 85 percent of kayaks sold in North America are used for quiet water recreational activities
like fishing.”

Fringe benefits
Dian Jordan-Werhane considers herself to be the “queen of the kayak.” She enjoys the connection with nature and serenity she feels when kayaking.

“I am 45, and kayaking keeps me fit and healthy. Sometimes I paddle like crazy and get a great arm and abdominal workout. It’s an inexpensive hobby; no gas to buy and the kayak is light enough that I can load it up by myself and just go.”

Environmentally sound
Besides being a healthy low-impact sport, kayaking is a sport that leaves no trace–no chance of noise or gas pollution, oil leaks, or environmental damage from a propeller.

“As we cruise in our motorboats upon the lakes and streams, we feel a power over nature; but when we glide down a river and work with the current, we feel more a part of nature and feel a humbleness and a responsibility,” says Steve Box, executive director of Environmental Stewardship, a nonprofit association that provides environmental education and outreach to protect, conserve, and restore the earth’s natural resources.

Box’s organization believes that through our personal experiences with nature we develop a sense of responsibility and become advocates for the protection of our natural resources. Making the choice to use a kayak means making a conscious effort to lessen our mark on the underwater world, while still participating in the activities we love.

Basic kayaking safety
Here is a list of basic precautions to prepare you for a sublime kayaking experience.

  • Begin with a water safety course (check local paddling clubs).
  • Look for instruction on basic paddling techniques and first aid.
  • Invest in and wear a properly fitted Underwriter’s Laboratories of Canada(ULC)-approved personal floatation device (PFD).
  • Attach a safety whistle to your PFD.
  • Store a bilge pump (with a float) to drain water in case of a capsize or rogue wave.
  • Store an extra (collapsible) paddle.
  • Dress appropriately for all anticipated weather.
  • Bring drinking water to stay hydrated.
  • Pack enough food and/or energy snacks (for example, energy bars, dehydrated fruit, nuts, or chocolate) appropriate for the length of your paddle.
  • Check weather conditions and water temperature before embarking.
  • When paddling in a new area, learn about currents, shoreline, and local weather patterns, such as off-shore winds that make it difficult to come to shore.
  • Take along a topographical map of the area and store in a waterproof container.
  • Let someone know your paddle plan, including where you plan to go, how long you plan to be paddling, and who is in your party.
  • Take along sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellant, first aid kit, and a dry bag.
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