Kayaks are small, self-powered watercrafts that originated in the Arctic regions of the northern hemisphere. Today, the native craft has been widely adapted into many different styles used commonly by recreation enthusiasts.
In the first decade of the 20th century, a German student designed a folding kayak that was made from wood and canvas. These boats could be carried to the water in a canvas tote bag and assembled on the spot. Soon thereafter, a tailor named Hans Klepper purchased the patent and began manufacturing and selling kayaks.
Kayaks come in one-, two- or three-seated styles and vary between 10 and 20 feet in length. A single-seated overturned kayak can be righted while the paddler is still seated in the boat. This feat is accomplished by a hard stroke delivered under water with the double-bladed paddle. Called the Eskimo roll, this technique is commonly practiced in a pool before venturing out into whitewater.
The kayak has developed into an excellent river craft, for it handles very well in whitewater and also on calmer stretches of water. During the late 20th century, several historic first runs were made on major falls and rapids by kayaks. These whitewater milestones include the descent of the Great Falls of the Potomac in 1975, the Quarry Run on West Virginia's Cheat River in 1977 and a section of Class VI rapids in the Tallulah River Gorge in Georgia in 1994.
Article Written By Henri Bauholz
Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.