Grand River Kayaking, Elora Gorge, Ontario, Canada

Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water.

Kayaking is generally differentiated from canoeing by the fact that a kayak has a closed cockpit and a canoe has an open cockpit. However, there are many sit-on-top kayaks, and these boats are growing in popularity. They also use a two bladed paddle.

Another major difference is in the way the paddler sits in the boat. Kayakers sit in a seat on the bottom of the boat with their legs extended out in front of them. Canoeists will either sit on an elevated bench seat or kneel directly on the bottom of the boat.

Whitewater kayaking involves taking a kayak down rapids.

Sea kayaking sometimes also referred to as Ocean Kayaking involves taking kayaks out on to the ocean or other open water ie a lake. Sea kayaking can involve short paddles with a return to the starting point or “put-in” or expeditions covering many miles and days.

Kayaking of all kinds has continued to increase in general popularity through the 1990s and early 21st century. Kayaks are classified by their intended use. There are five primary classifications:

  1. whitewater
  2. surf
  3. touring/expedition
  4. light touring/day tripping, and
  5. general recreation.

From these primary classifications stem many sub-classes. For example, a fishing kayak is simply a general recreation kayak outfitted with features and accessories that make it an easier kayak to fish from. Also within these classifications are many levels of performance which further separate the individual models.

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