You're sat in a small, sleek boat out on the water.
Your legs are pointed forward in the boat, slightly bent.
With your hands you are holding the shaft of a paddle.
The paddle has a blade at each end of the shaft.
You push the kayak forward across the water by pushing water backwards with the blades, alternating your stroke left and right.
It sounds very simple, but it takes time to learn it if you want to do it effectively.
Kayaking as exercise can be very gentle on your body as your body and especially your legs are not exposed to any high impacts, sparing your joints. You mainly train your upper body and can also get a great cardio workout.
If you want to compete against others you can participate in kayak races both on short tracks and longer distances. Many different types of races for many different types of boats and water conditions right from sprints on lakes protected from the wind to races on the open sea and thrilling competion on whitewater rivers.
For some kayaking is mainly a leasure activity that grants outdoor- and nature experiences. You get access to water- and coastal areas that are difficult to reach in other ways. In a kayak you can bring everything you need for daytrips and even sleeping out. With experience, you can even venture out on longer expeditions. Hunting and fishing directly from your kayak is also an option if you are so inclined.
The native inuit people of The Arctic originally developed the kayak as a means for hunting at sea.
In a kayak one can silently get close enough to seals and other prey that they are reachable by a thrown harpoon. Hunting from kayaks is still done until this very day, but the hand-thrown harpoons have since been replaced by firearms.
Europeans learned of kayak rowing through the exploratory expeditions to the artic circle during the 1800's & 1900's. Kayaking gained popularity as a sport in Europe during the eighteenhundereds, and has spread all across the world as a sport and passtime since then.
The construction of- and ideal rowing technique for different kayak types vary greatly based on what purpose they are intended for. This list features most but not all types of kayaks floating around on the worlds waters in the 21st century.
Sportkayaks are what Sønderborg Kajakklub was founded on These boats are relatively lightweight and thus easy to lift, handle and transport.
Sportkayaks are great for moderately intense exercise and can be used short to medium trips into nature. They are best suited for calm water in lakes, rivers and coastal areas like Alssund, Augustenborg Fjord and Sønderborg Bay.
Many variants of sportkayaks exist, right from wide boats for providing beginners with stability and safety to slimmer, faster boats for the more experienced. These faster boats trade innate stability for speed and thus are a great starting point for learning to row a racing kayak.
Racing kayaks are for, well, racing! These boats are difficult to handle, being narrow, lightweight, fast and quite fragile. It takes a long time to master a racing kayak and thus our racing kayaks are meant only for experienced rowers who can handle and row in them without damaging the boats.
Kayak rowing on the sea requires a boat that is up to the task of handling these rougher conditions. This is what seakayaks are for. Seakayaks are also ideal for sleeping out, longer expeditions and rowing on open water in strong winds and waves. They offer great cargho capacity and stand up well to waves, as well as being quite comfy to sit in.
Strong currents on rivers are challenging to row on. Whitewater kayaks are relatively short and wide, providing excellent
maneuverability under these conditions. Competive whitewater kayaking is a sport all of its own, practically unrecognizable when compared to other ways of kayaking. Excruciatingly thrilling and not for the faint of heart!
Kayakpolo, which is most often arranged in and around ports, combines watersport and ballgames.
Some coastal conditions offer great opportunities for kayak surfing. Riding the waves is a playful and very entertaining way to enjoy kayaking.