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Kayaking is a real fun watersport as you get wet often from spray or rolling. It differs from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is a low-to-the-water, canoe-like boat in which the paddler sits facing forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle to pull front-to-back on one side and then the other in rotation.

Most kayaks have closed decks which you can seal with a spray cover. If you don't use a cover, your boat may fill with water over time and become a submarine. Sit-on-top and inflatable kayaks are growing in popularity as well. Below is a list of available designs.

Open Cockpit Kayak

This type of kayak is used for touring and is suitable for those who want to cover distances without going onto rough water. You will get somewhat wet from the water that drops off the paddle or small waves that splash over.

No capsize training drill is needed. When you capsize you just fall safely out of the big kayak cockpit. We recommend you practice this anyway, even if it is easy. Learn how to empty the upturned boat in shallow water.

Closed Cockpit Kayak

These kayaks are ideal for white-water or sea surfing. They have a relatively tight-fitting cockpit sealed with a spray-deck to keep out the water when you do the Eskimo roll. Practise rolling and the capsize drill regularly. Learn how to exit the kayak safely underwater (wet exit).

Closed Long Cockpit Kayak

A variation with a long closed cockpit is often found in racing kayaks and some boats for beginners. It is easy to get in and out of. Your knees don't slip inside the canoe, they are covered by the spray deck. When you capsize, you simply fall out of the boat when the spray deck comes off.

Sit-on-top Kayaks

The next evolution of open cockpit kayaks are boats where you simply sit on top. They are completely sealed and thus unsinkable. You can simply fall off or jump off whenever you want. Then climb back on and jump in again, or capsize. Great fun for beginners.

Sea Kayak capsize
sit on top kayak

Slalom Kayaks

These competition kayaks are designed for quick turns, great for wild-water action. If you're not into competition you can enjoy them for freestyle stunts. However, Squirt kayaks maybe better for that.

sit on top kayak

Squirt and Rodeo Kayaks

These kayaks are very low volume fun boats that allow some extreme moves and get you wet before you know it. Make sure you fit inside. They come in various sizes. Try it on.

canoe squirt fun boat

Sea Kayaks

They are long and keep a steady course, great for touring, even on the open sea. Their shape is based on the very old and proven boat designs of the Eskimos. Some have watertight compartments to some dry bits in, like more clothing and camping gear.

You can easily roll them back up in case of a capsize. Practice this well before you go off on a wet adventure trip.

Sea Kayak capsize

Reader Story

By Finn from Toronto, Canada

Yesterday I went kayaking as it was a hot and humid day 25°C (77°F). The lake was calm, no wind, just the sound of the birds and the boat gliding through the water. I paddled along the tree-lined shore, enjoying the warm rain on the lake.

When I got to the other side of the lake I decided it was time to cool off. My clothes were already wet from the rain so I decided to keep them on in the water. Paddling usually involves swimming in clothes anyway.

I rolled the kayak a few times, and finally did a wet exit into the lake to enjoy a nice swim for a while. The water was still on the cool side, but my warm clothes helped enjoy it more.

I got back into the kayak and slowly returned to the other side, enjoying the calm and steady rain. Before I reached the pebble beach, I rolled the kayak in chest deep water to get out and carried it out so it wouldn't get scratched.

While I got out, several others were jumping into the lake at the dock, dressed in jeans and hoodies. When they saw my wet clothes they asked me to join them, and so I went in again for a another swim and a few jumps. It was a great day. I'll do it again soon.