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A kayak is an obvious piece of Standard Equipment required for kayaking! Kayaks are typically propelled with a double ended paddle. The user or paddler sits down or kneels in the hull with feet or knees out forward. The top of the boat is oftentimes covered with a deck. The paddler sits in a hole in the cockpit which may be sealed off with a spray skirt. This makes it possible for the boat to become capsized and righted again without taking on water. This manoeuver is known as an Eskimo Roll. This makes the boat very seaworthy.

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...

Kayak Types
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
Rudder Optional No Optional Often

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Last edited April 12, 2006 5:25 pm by Michael Daly (diff)