Kayaks are very versatile water vessels. Amongst all the water vessels, the kayak is one of the leading vessels in terms of different applications. The versatility of the kayak is hugely due to its design.
The kayak was invented by the Eskimos who live in the Arctic. The Eskimos survive mostly on hunting. They hunt wild animals and marine life. Wild animals are however not very dependable as a source of food since wild animals are always migrating. As such, Eskimo’s depend mostly on marine prey for a dependable supply of food. Eskimos hunt for fish, whales, and seals in the seas around their homes.
Hunting for marine wildlife can be risky business especially for the Eskimos in the Arctic. This is because Eskimos do not have a chance to swim for survival once they fall into the water. The waters in the Arctic are very cold and exposure to the water would quickly kill anyone through asphyxiation. Swimming is also not an option for the Eskimos who wear very heavy clothing that would quickly soak water and drown them if they tried to swim. As such, when hunting the Eskimo’s required to come up with a vessel that would provide a lot of safety.
The Eskimos solution for an ideal sea touring vessel was the kayak. The original kayak was made of whale bones or drift wood which are very light. The frame was then covered by tightly tied seal skins which were made water proof by seal and whale fat. The kayak was designed with a small cockpit where the pilot would sit in. The pilot would then tightly tie a water tight skirt around him that was bound to the kayak. The skirt prevented any water from getting into the kayak.
The design of the kayak provided for a very light vessel that was highly navigable. The close fit of the pilot enabled him to be able to steer the craft using his body. In case the craft capsized, an experienced pilot can roll the kayak and restore it to its upright position hence escape drowning.
This superiority in terms of ease in control and navigation has seen the kayak gain popularity by being accepted into other water activities such as water sports and recreational activities.
The kayak’s shape and design makes the kayak a very fast vessel on the water. The slender hull creates for very little resistance to water and the sleek shape of the hull is streamlined for speed. Kayaks that are made for speed are also made with a longer hull designed to provide a slant that gives the kayak a stronger forward thrust.
Kayaks are widely embraced as recreational vessels due to their ease of use and their portability. This is especially the case with the modern inflatable kayaks. Inflatable kayaks are very buoyant and safe for users in calm waters which make them ideal for beginners. Inflatable kayaks are also very light and easy to carry. When deflated, the inflatable kayak can be folded to fit into a small manageable bag that a single person can carry.