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History of Kayaking

Kayaking is one of the most popular water sports as of recent years. Not only does it improve your overall health, it can take you to places you can’t reach on land. There are plenty of locations available worldwide to explore, including kayaking on Yellowstone Lake

The first kayaks were rudimentary designs built approximately 5,000 years ago by the Inuit and Aleut people to travel swiftly across the water. Located in the Artic North America, these tribes would construct the kayaks out of whatever types of material they could find, including animal skins, bones and wood.


There were typically two main types of kayaks. The first was made from driftwood. The second was constructed from whalebones. Both types were covered in animal skins and coated in whale fat to make them waterproof. Seal bladders were often filled with air and attached to specific sections of the boat to make it more buoyant. While these kayaks were extremely lightweight and easy to carry, they were not very durable.


Much like the kayaks you are familiar with today, ancient designs were made in varying lengths. For example, large open skin boats, called umiaks, measured 60 feet or more. These long vessels could carry entire families along with their possessions. Hunters would use small kayaks for sneaking up on animals in the water. These boats were agile, lightweight and easy-to-control, much like the vessels today.


In the mid-1800s, kayaks were introduced in Europe as a soft-sided vessel for skimming across the cold waters. The Germans and French were the first to use the boats for recreation, while tribes in the North and South Poles still used the boats for exploring.


In 1936, kayak racing was added as an event to the Berlin games. Over time, kayakers developed a much lighter and more resilient boat, and in the 50s, kayaks were made from fiberglass.


Today’s kayaks are made from heavy-duty polyethylene plastics that can last as long as 10 to 15 years if properly cared for. They come in an array of colors, styles and lengths to choose from. Tandem kayaks are ideal for sharing with a friend, they are also harder to flip and easier to manage.

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