'Kayak' is a transliteration of an Inuktitut word meaning "hunter’s boat", the small craft designed by the northern Inuit for long hunting trips to gather winter food. Though it evolved from the canoe, the protective and enclosed kayaks were originally made from dugout driftwood with sealskin decks and buoyancy bladders.
Today, the kayak’s class designation is ‘K’.
Europeans took kayaking to the next level, developing sport kayaks capable of running rapids or whitewater. Advancements in materials and designs continue. There are a number of different kayak disciplines, with several integrated into Olympic events.
Whitewater kayaking is for athletic, adventurous types looking for exhilarating thrills.
Evolved from whitewater kayaking, freestyle kayaking sees paddlers performing various technical moves in one place on the water, challenging a single wave or undertow created either by tidal changes through an ocean narrows, or by a large boulder mid-stream in a river shoot. Unfortunately there is not a lot of whitewater paddling in the Kelowna area.
Sea kayaking has become a very popular sport both on large lakes and the ocean. These boats are typically longer than the whitewater kayaks, with dry storage compartments and a steering rudder. Very seaworthy and able to accommodate gear needed for extended trips, they are the perfect way to access secluded coves and campsites.
Kayaks may be made of marine plywood, Kevlar, carbon fiber, or other light and exotic materials. However they are most commonly made of plastic composite – light, yet durable for landing on beaches or hitting a rock on a killer whitewater run.
Double-bladed paddles are made from wood, plastic composites or space-age materials such as carbon fiber.
Check back soon for for new kayaking updates, photos and videos. For more information about paddling in the Kelowna area check out Kelowna Paddle Centre.
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