6 Kayaking Facts That May Surprise You To Learn

kayaking facts

6 Kayaking Facts That May Surprise You To Learn


Little known kayaking facts such as the fact that the sport of kayaking being over 4,000 years old are sometimes mind-blowing for beginners and advanced kayakers alike.

Kayaking is an ancient practice, originally used for hunting and travel and now used mainly for sport. Kayaks are a canoe with a lightweight frame and one hole to site in, designed for one or two people. You can take kayaks out on lakes, rivers, and even the ocean and paddle around.

If you’re a beginner kayaker, we’ve rounded up all the tips you need to get started and some helpful kayaking facts.

Kayaking Tips for Beginners

If you’re starting out kayaking, here are a few tips for beginner kayakers.

Start Small

For your first kayak trip, choose a lake or reserve that is a still body of water. Ideally, you want to find something that doesn’t get a lot of boat traffic that could create waves.

Paddle Into Wind at First

Although it may seem counterintuitive, you want to paddle into the wind at the beginning of your trip so that when you are most tired on the way back you have an extra push to get you home.

Plan for A Few Hours, Not All-Day

Beginner kayakers should start kayaking for just one to two hours and build up from there, if they want to go longer. Typically, beginners who kayak for longer than two hours will end up exhausted and sore.

Sign Up for a Tour

A really easy way to get started kayaking is to take a tour or class. Typically, the instructor or guide will provide all the equipment you need and will teach you to get in and out of the kayak. Many local lakes or adventure companies offer kayaking tours.

6 Kayaking Facts That May Surprise You:

Here are 6 Kayaking Facts That May Surprise You To Learn and tips that you can share on your next kayaking adventure.

1. Kayaks Were Invented By Natives of the Artic

The Inuit, Yup’Ik and Aleut, otherwise known as Eskimos, were the inventors of kayaks. these native people to the artic lived in what is now Greenland, Canada and Alaska.

2. Kayaks Were Originally Made of Animal Skin and Bones

The Eskimos didn’t have the plastic, rubber and material we have today. They relied on whatever they could find. The original kayaks were made out of seal skin to stay waterproof and whalebone skeletons or wood. They would also use whale fat on their boots to make them waterproof.

3. Kayaks are Ancient

The world’s oldest surviving kayaks were found in Munich, Germany from the year 1577. You can still go see them there at the Museum Five Continents!

4. Kayak Meaning

The word ‘kayak’ means ‘hunter’s boat’ which makes sense because kayaks were originally used to hunt animals living in the water and shore like seals, caribou and whales.

 5. Kayaks are in the Olympics

The first time kayak races were in the Olympics was in 1936 in Berlin. Since then, the Olympic sport has grown and in 1948 they added a women’s paddling event. Now there are over ten white-water events in the Olympics. Germany holds the lead for canoe and kayak medals in the Olympics.

6. Kayaks Have Crossed the Atlantic

In 1928, Franz Romer crossed the Atlantic ocean in a kayak. At 28 years old, he became the first person to cross the ocean in a kayak. He traveled 4,000 miles from Lisbon, Portugal to Puerto Rico.

Equipment and Gear For Kayaking


kayaking facts

First, you’ll need to choose a kayak. According to the American Kayaking Association, there are two main types of kayaks, each with their own variations. Kayaks are either designed for flatwater or whitewater. However, they cannot be used interchangeably. You should pick the kayak for the type of kayaking you want to do.

Of flat water kayaks, there are five varieties:

  1. Sit-on top kayak
  2. Recreational kayak
  3. Touring kayak
  4. Inflatable kayak
  5. Pedaling kayak

Whitewater kayaks are designed for more intense kayaking and include:

  1. Playboats
  2. River runners
  3. Creek boats
  4. Old school
  5. Infatable (Duckies)

Besides the kayak, beginner kayakers will need to gather or borrow or rent some gear to get started.

Here is the gear you need for kayaking, besides a kayak:

Additionally, if you’re taking a kayaking trip you’ll want to be prepared with the following essential items:

  • A water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Water shoes
  • A signaling whistle
  • Watch
  • Waterproof bag
  • Spare paddle
  • Helmet
  • Map or compass

Safety tips & safety gear you will need for kayaking


kayaking facts

To stay safe on your kayaking trip, here are a few things to know, a few things to check in advance, and a few things to bring.

Bring a Buddy

When first learning to kayak, you should always bring someone with you. You may want to hire a guide or just bring a friend. When kayaking, make sure you stay in the line of sight of your group. If you stay within sight and sound of each other, you’ll be able to help in case of an emergency.

Check the Weather

You should always check the weather forecast in advance and avoid kayaking in severe weather or fog. Choose a sunny day to kayak, which will also make it more enjoyable if you get wet! Additionally, check the currents and tides if you’ll be kayaking in the ocean.

Bring a Whistle

If you get lost, or separated from your group, then you’ll be glad you have a whistle with you. It one of the kayaking facts that three long whistle blows is a recognized distress signal.

Dress for the Weather

If your kayak capsizes, you’ll want a wetsuit or something to keep you warm and/or dry off, especially if the water is less than 60 degrees F. However, if it’s warm you may get away with just a swimsuit. And, if it’s raining bring a light jacket.


Hopefully, these fun kayaking facts will inspire you to try kayaking for yourself. Kayaking can be quite the adventure, and many people find it becomes a lifelong hobby. Anyone can learn to kayak with a kayak class. It’s fairly easy and a great way to explore the water.



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