More and more people are getting into kayaking nowadays. After all, it is a fun water sport that is relatively easy to learn and have varying degrees of difficulty – one can even compete if they are so dedicated! in addition to being a good workout, kayaking also brings one closer to nature. What is more? Kayaking is an enjoyable activity regardless of whether you are trying it out as some sort of a solo adventure or you are going with friends.
But aside from the fun, adventure, and numerous health benefits that come along with kayaking, did you know that kayaking, in itself, is actually pretty interesting? Here are some interesting facts about kayaking you probably have not yet heard about:
- Kayaks have been around for much longer than you might think. Kayaking might have picked up popularity quite recently, but this water sport is by no means a recent invention. In fact, the kayak was first invented by the Innuits roughly 4,000 years ago. The word “kayak” originally meant “hunter’s boat” and, true enough, it served that purpose during its earlier conception, especially since kayaks are very quiet, making them ideal for hunting and stalking prey. Kayaks were originally made out of animalskin stretched over either a wooden or a whale bone frame. Back then, seal skin was the preferred material considering its waterproof properties. Another ancient variety of the kayak is the “umiag”, which was typically used by earlier tribes as transportation of their families.Umiags can be really long, with some measuring up to 60 feet.
- Not all kayaks are created equal. At present, there are eight main types of kayaks according to this kayak guide, each with a particular characteristic that makes it more suitable for certain activities and purposes. The speed of kayaks, in particular, tend to greatly depend on the its type and build. Generally, longer kayaks are faster than shorter ones.
- Kayaks have actually been used for military operations. Kayaks may look pretty basic and harmless, but these boats have actually been material in certain military operations, especially during the war. Specifically, two-man kayaks called “kleppers” have been used in special missions which involve either insertion or extraction. The small size and the stealth capabilities of the humble kayak have made this unassuming vessel the transportation mode of choice by the US Marines, the British Commando, and even the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.
- It is possible to cross the ocean in a kayak. While this is hardly an advisable activity for beginners, the thing is crossing the ocean in a kayak is actually feasible – and true enough, it has been done before. Even more interestingly, it has been accomplished a long time ago, too! To be precise, it was accomplished in 1928 by a 29-year old German kayaker and World War I veteran named Franz Romer. Romer crossed the Atlantic Ocean, travelling roughly 4,000 miles to Puerto Rico from Lisbon, Portugal.
- It is also possible to raft up together multiple kayaks. You think rafting up together five kayaks is ludicrous? Well, wait until you hear how many kayaks have been successfully rafted up together. In 2011, 1902 kayaks were successfully rafted up together in Inlet, New York. That high number certainly earned a spot in the world records.
- There is an objective way of assessing a river’s rapid. Judging how difficult a rapid may sound like complete guesswork and perfectly arbitrary, but there is actually a standard for measuring such difficulty. In fact, there is an international scale of difficulty which kayaker’s use in describing the strength of river rapids.
- Kayaking can also be an extreme support. What makes kayaking so appealing is the fact that it is beginner-friendly. Even individuals who are not into extreme sports can enjoy it and get a kick out of kayaking. Nevertheless, kayaking can be done with increasing difficulty. For example, one can kayak on long, winding rapids – or even do a waterfall drop! And true enough, in 2009, an American kayaker by the name of Tyler Bradt set the world record for the highest waterfall drop while on board a kayak. How high was the drop? A whopping 189 feet over Palouse Falls!
Pretty interesting, right? Kayaking may sound super chill, making it perfect for beginners, but this water sport actually has a long and interesting history. From the kayak itself to the peats performed while on board one, it is undeniable that this water sport is a lot more dynamic and more interesting than is commonly assumed.
I hope that the seven interesting information tidbits about kayaking above has piqued your interest in kayaking and has motivated you to try out the sport. After all, who knows? You might end up being the next one to set a world record on kayaking.