The History of Kayaks

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Canoeing and Kayaking go back to the dawn of human culture. The word “kayak” literally means “hunter’s boat.” The kayak was useful for transport, but it was a miraculous hunting tool, facilitating a quiet approach towards one’s desired prey. The covered deck of the kayak made it more sea-worthy and better able to shed waves than the traditional canoe. Kayaks are mostly used during summer months, primarily for hunting and fishing.

Similar to the kayak, the umiak is a larger boat which can carry up to 20 people. The umiak and the kayak existed side by side, both finding useful niches for transporting and hunting throughout history.

Kayak design varied according to the specific needs of inhabitants of particular regions. For instance, early kayaks designed by inhabitants surrounding the Bering Straight were wider and shorter. Whereas the kayaks from Greenland were sleek and low. Kayaks from Baffin Island were wider and longer.

The kayak was first created by the Inuit, an artic people. Interestingly, despite being the birth place of the kayak, very little archaeological evidence of the covered kayak can be found on the...

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