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The world's original kayakers were the peoples of northern North America, Greenland and Siberia. The Inuit, Aleut and other peoples developed these fast, stealthy craft primarily as a means of subsistence hunting and secondarily for transportation. The term "Eskimo" was once used to collectively describe this population of peoples, but it is now considered somewhat vulgar. Aleut, Inuit, and Inuk are preferred monikers.

Traditional kayaks, kayak building, and kayaking techniques have become extinct in some of their original locations and have narrowly avoided extinction in other areas (perhaps most notably Greenland?), and are enjoying a renaissance in Greenland, some parts of Alaska, and areas beyond where kayaks were originally used.

Kayaks referred to as "traditional" typically owe their inspiration to these original kayaks. There are a wide variety of skin on frame kayaks built by the different Arctic peoples. The most common influences in modern kayaks are from GreenlandKayaks and Alaskan kayaks commonly referred to as Baidarkas.

A common thread running through all the "traditional" kayaks is their skin on frame construction using driftwood and later dimensional lumber for the wooden frame and seal skin or recently canvas and ballistic nylon for the skin.

See also:

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Last edited April 11, 2006 12:57 pm by Nick Schade (diff)