About Paddling

Paddling is a popular outdoor water activity that requires a person to propel, maneuver and navigate a small watercraft using one or more paddles or oars. Paddling provides outdoor enthusiasts a wide range of exciting opportunities when embarking upon an aquatic adventure whether navigating small waterways or larger bodies of open water. While there are different categories of paddling for leisure, the most popular types include rowing, canoeing and kayaking.

Canoeing dates back centuries to ago as a primitive mode of transportation along waterways in North America, Polynesia and the remote Amazon Basin for natives requiring the need to travel over great distances. Although there's some debate on the origin of the word canoe, it's commonly associated with the term Keenu, which means dugout. Another thought regarding the origin of the word stems from the word "canoa" attributed to the Arawaks, natives of the Caribbean. Yet another origin is rooted in Portuguese which means "feeding trough." Despite the derivation of the word, the first canoes were basically constructed from large hollow tree trunks, appearing like a wooden dugout.

Scottish explorer, John MacGregor is credited for establishing canoeing as both a recreation and sport in 1858. In 1866, MacGregor went on to establish the Royal Canoe Club. The sport of canoeing eventually became an official Olympic sport in the Berlin games of 1936 and continues to be an all-time favorite.

Kayaking, another popular form of paddling is also rooted in primitive history that dates back 4,000 years ago as a means of transportation constructed by the indigenous natives to hunt over the waterways of the Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea, North Atlantic, and North Pacific. Kayaks are a small watercraft powered by manual paddling with a double-bladed paddle.

The term kayak means "man's boat", as well as "hunter's boat". The native Inuit people constructed the first kayaks from stitched seal skin stretched over either a whale's skeleton or materials gathered from trees. Kayaks were used by the natives not only as means of transportation for hunting, but also to transport goods and passengers. Eskimo people depended on kayaking to hunt prey such as seals, whales and caribou throughout the Aleutian Islands.

Kayaks found available today are adapted forms of the native watercrafts of Alaska and Southwest Greenland. While wooden and fabric kayaks were popular until the 1950's, the introduction of the Rotomolded plastic kayaks in 1973 revolutionized the manufacturing and resilience of fiberglass kayaks on the market today for avid kayak-lovers. Beginning with the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, kayaking is slated to be an official sport.


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