Kayaks that are available today have undergone a lot of changes. The first kayaks made their appearance 4000 years ago in the Arctic region. Eskimos used kayaks for hunting, fishing and for transportation purposes in the oceans surrounding the area. These kayaks were mainly constructed using stitched animal skin that was stretched over a frame. This frame was made by assembling driftwoods or whale bones. The interiors of kayak were lined with animal fat to make it water proof and keep the paddler dry.
Originally, there were only three basic types of kayaks. The oldest design rounded at the ends that gave it a Blimp-like appearance, was called Baidarkas. The other two types of kayaks, West Greenland and East Greenland kayaks were more angular in shape and were tapered at the ends. Kayak, basically means “man’s boat” or “hunter’s boat”.
Native kayaks were custom made according to the measurement of the paddler who would use them. East Greenland kayaks were made to tightly fit around the paddler, so that it gave him maximum maneuverability and control. To create a waterproof seal, Tuilik, a special skin jacket was used to line the kayak. The use of kayaks gradually grew around the world and the designs varied from place to place depending on the specific needs of people.
By the 20th century, kayaks were commonly used for various purposes. The concept of folding kayak was developed by a German architectural student, Alfred Huerich, who called it Delphin. The Delphin was constructed using sturdy bamboo for the frame with a sailcloth hull stretched over it. Johannes Klepper made folding kayaks a commercial success. Klepper kayaks were renowned for their compact design and light-weight. Infact, a model designed in 1951, Aerius II is still in production. Newer versions of folding kayaks are made of rubberized canvas and frames of different materials like aluminum, plastic and fiberglass.
Kayaking as a sport and as a recreational activity was first developed by a Scottish explorer, John Mac Gregor. He traveled along the shores of Europe and Middle East in a sea kayak, “Rob Roy”. Since then, recreational kayaking has been a favorite pass time for many paddlers.
Modern day kayak designs are based on the “Rob Roy”. Recreational kayaks are designed in such a way that it allows hours of comfortable and casual paddling. The cockpit is generally large and has sections to store accessories while paddling.
Over a period of time, kayaks have varied in structure and use. Given the rise in kayaking activities, many kayak manufacturing companies sprung up in the 70s. The developers have added to the designs of the kayaks, and today we have different kayaks for every type of kayaking. You can check more information for these types of kayaks at www.beachpliz.com