Modern kayaks fall into several catagories including: surf kayaks, WhiteWater, sea kayaks, flat-water racing, and recreational. These catagories may also be subdivided. Modern kayaks are made of plastic, fiberglass, kevlar, wood or traditional.
So, what is a kayak? By Function: it is a paddlecraft that is capable of utilitarian-based travel in ocean and river environs. Terminology: In the UK it is a canoe; in Alaska the primary traditional term for a kayak / paddle-craft is qayaq? (Yupik, Cupig, Inupiaq). In the pacific northwest US a generic Russian term 'baidarka' is often used and in Greenland it is a qajaq. Is there anyone except us parochial Americans, (ulp... I mean Yanks, USians) that really mean kayak?? Nevertheless, we digress...
|Sea Kayaks||Whitewater Kayaks||Recreational Kayaks||Racing Kayaks|
|Length||longer than 15 feet||usually less than 10 feet||less than 14 feet||as long as rules allow|
|Width||20-26 inches||22-25 inches||24-30 inches||as narrow as rules allow|
|Cockpit||Small to large||Large||Oversized||Large for comfort|
|Spray Skirt||Yes||Yes||Optional||Optional, per conditions|
|Storage||generous, dry||very little||limited, often wet||N/A|