History and Origin of Kayaking

History and Origin of Kayaking

Kayaks that are available today have undergone a lot of changes. The first kayaks made their appearance 4000 years ago in the Arctic region. Eskimos used kayaks for hunting, fishing and transportation purposes in the oceans surrounding the area. These kayaks were mainly constructed using a stitched animal skin that stretched over a frame. This frame was made by assembling driftwoods or whale bones. The interiors of kayak were lined with animal fat to make it waterproof and keep the paddler dry.

old kayaking example

Initially, there were only three basic types of kayaks. The oldest design rounded at the ends that gave it a Blimp-like appearance was called Baidarkas. The other two types of kayaks, West Greenland and East Greenland kayaks were more angular in shape and were tapered at the ends. Kayak, basically means "man's boat" or "hunter's boat". Native kayaks were custom made according to the measurement of the paddler who would use them. East Greenland kayaks were made to tightly fit around the paddler so that it gave him maximum manoeuvrability and control. To create a waterproof seal, Tuilik, a unique skin jacket was used to line the kayak.

The use of kayaks gradually grew around the world and the designs varied from place to place depending on the specific needs of people.

Folding Kayaks

By the 20th century, kayaks were commonly used for various purposes. The concept of the folding kayak was developed by a German architectural student, Alfred Huerich, who called it Delphin. The Delphin was constructed using sturdy bamboo for the frame with a sailcloth hull stretched over it.

Johannes Klepper made folding kayaks a commercial success. Klepper kayaks were renowned for their compact design and light-weight. In fact, a model designed in 1951, Aerius II is still in production. Newer versions of folding kayaks are made of rubberised canvas and frames of different materials like aluminium, plastic and fibreglass.

Recreational Kayaks

Kayaking - A sport and recreational pastime was first created by a Scottish explorer by the name of John Mac Gregor. He travelled across the shores of Europe and the Middle East in a sea kayak,"Rob Roy". Since then, recreational kayaking has become a favourite pass time for many paddlers. Over a period, kayaks have evolved in structure and usage. Given the rise in trekking activities, many kayak production companies sprung up in the 70s. The manufacturers have contributed innovations to the designs of their kayaks, and today we have various kayaks for every single sort of kayaking. Contemporary day kayak designs derive from the"Rob Roy". Recreational kayaks are designed in such a manner that it allows hours of casual and comfortable paddling. The cockpit is usually big and contains segments to keep attachments while paddling.

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