White water kayaking has become a huge past time and even an Olympic sport. Of course, if you want to try white water kayaking you need white water kayaks and this article will explain what they are, how they’re used and where you can buy one so you can get started in this exciting extreme sport.
A kayak looks very similar to a canoe, and many people can’t really tell the difference. A kayak is a little lower to the water and unlike a canoe, you actually sit in the kayak with your legs stretched straight out in front of you under the deck of the kayak. A canoe is open and you sit with your legs bent (this is possible since a canoe is much deeper than a kayak).
A canoe is paddled in a different manner than you would paddle a kayak. A kayak paddle is longer and has a paddle on both ends so that you alternate which side of the paddle is in the water. With a canoe paddle you have to actually remove the paddle from the water and bring it across the boat to put it in the other side and paddle from that side.
Since many of the white water areas around the world are run offs from mountain streams, the water is usually very cold. For this reason you can add a spray skirt to the top opening of the boat. This spray skirt will keep the water out of the boat and off of your legs.
Since you are ‘in’ the kayak as opposed to sitting on a seat in a canoe, kayaking can be dangerous. If your kayak tips over and you can’t get it righted you could get stuck underwater and drown. There is also the very real risk of hitting your head on rocks when you tip over in a kayak.
When choosing white water kayaks you want to find kayaks that are specifically designed for that purpose. You need to make sure that it is highly maneuverable, high strength and lightweight. The length of the kayak will also be an important factor to consider. Typical sizes for kayaks that are used for shooting the rapids are usually between 10 to 12 feet in length since this length will provide greater tracking control and are easier to turn.
Hitting white water in your boat can be an exhilarating experience. It is an excellent upper body and cardio workout and the feeling of satisfaction you feel when you’ve successfully made it through a particularly challenging stretch of water can make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
If you are brand new to the sport though make sure you take the time to get proper instruction. It’s a lot more than jumping in a boat and pointing it downstream and hoping for the best. You need to understand how to steer your boat and how to right it if it capsizes, you don’t want to be floating upside down with your head underwater all the way down stream. You instructor can also help you pick out the right white water kayaks for you and your skill level and recommend some places to buy one.