Saturday, November 25, 2006

The History of the Sea Kayak and the Sport

The exact origin of the kayak is unknown, but we do know that the first people to navigate with kayaks were the Eskimos. It is believed to be the oldest type of boat that is still employed today, estimating over 3,000 years old.
Kayaks were utilized by the Aleuts (inhabitants of the Aleutian archipelago near Alaska), the Inuits of Northern Canada, the Norse of Greenland and Iceland, Lapons in Northern Europe, and the Koryak and Chukchi tribes in Siberia.
According to some historians, the word kayak means “clothing for going in the water” since it was built to the exact measurements of the paddler. Other historians say it means “man-small boat”. Nowadays, many paddlers maintain that you “put on” a kayak, not get in one.
In the Eskimo society, children could not navigate these boats until they became older and reached their maximum growth. Then, almost like a ritual, the family constructed a kayak especially for the child. It was said that if an Eskimo went out to hunt and did not return, he had borrowed the boat.

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