Water Sports

Kayaking is a type of water sport.

Kayaks are “those smart tiny, snug little, slight little, light little, thin little, skinny little watercraft,” according to one description. The sight of a kayaker navigating a rapid will undoubtedly cause its Eskimo creator (who created such a vessel for seal hunting) to turn in his grave! Kayaking, sometimes known as paddling, is a water sport that involves paddling a kayak, a narrowboat propelled by a double-blade paddle. A kayak is similar to a fishing boat and is usually equipped with a covered deck. Whitewater kayaking, where the paddler navigates rapids and waterfalls, and ocean kayaking, where the kayak is piloted in open water or on a lake, are the two types of kayaking. Whitewater kayaking necessitates a high level of competence (and is a lot more exciting than rafting, to boot).

Kayaks come in solo and tandem (for one or more people) versions and are known for their agility, accessibility, flexibility, and versatility; there is no river that these wonderful “small” boats can’t navigate. Kayaking is a joy, and it’s a more relaxed pastime than rafting.

Kayaking’s History

The Inuit inhabitants of the Arctic region invented the kayak, which they utilized for hunting. The Eskimos utilized single-bladed paddles to power the first kayaks, which they used to hunt seals (kayak means ‘hunter’s boat’). The beginnings of kayaking as a sport, and especially as a recreational activity, can be traced back to a man named John MacGregor. This Scotsman, a barrister (and an adventurer and artist), created the Rob Roy kayak in 1845, based on sketches of the narrow canoe used by the Eskimos (this had a two-bladed paddle). MacGregor paddled across rivers and lakes all over Europe and authored a book about his adventures called ‘A Thousand Miles in the Rob Roy Canoe.’ It was a best-seller that got a lot of people interested in paddling.

MacGregor found the Royal Canoe Club (1866) with fellow kayak enthusiasts, and the club hosted the first competitive kayaking event in 1873. In the Berlin Olympics, kayaking was made an Olympic sport (1936). As the popularity of the sport grew, kayak clubs began to crop up all throughout Europe.

In India, you can go kayaking.

Kayaking has slowly gained appeal among adventurers, although it is still a sport that is not widely practiced in India. It is still mostly a recreational activity rather than a competitive sport. However, kayaking is more popular in and around Bangalore’s southern suburbs, particularly on weekends; trips are planned on the Kali (near Dandeli town), Kaveri, and Narmada rivers. A kayaking journey in Goa – along the shore, on the river (Mandovi, Zuari), or in the backwaters – is hard to match for sights. The peaceful backwaters of Kerala also entice kayakers.

The rivers in the Himalayan region in the north were made for kayaking. There are trips on the Ganges and the Alaknanda, Mandakini, and Yamuna rivers in and around Rishikesh. Summer trips on the Zanskar and Indus rivers and the Tsarap the Chu are planned further up in the bone-chilling and unforgiving Zanskar (a tributary of the Zanskar). A kayaking journey to Arunachal Pradesh, on the huge Brahmaputra or the Subansari (a tributary of the Brahmaputra), and to Sikkim’s Rangit and Teesta rivers is also advised (make Darjeeling your base for a kayaking trip on the Teesta). Meanwhile, if you want to do sea kayaking, travel to Kerala’s shore.