The word Kayak denotes “hunters’ boar. There is no clarity with regards to the birth of the kayak, but the Aleutian and Inuit people (previously known as Eskimos) are believed to have propagated the rise of the kayak over thousands of years ago. This article explores the evolution and history of kayaks right from the original inventions to the modern day kayaks.
The early kayaks (Aleutian kayaks)
These kayaks comprised a wood frame that was endowed with a sealskin deck. The deck was then enhanced with spray skirts made of animal skin. The spray skirts were sewn on the deck with braided sinew. This was done for two main reasons. One of the reasons was to ensure the chilly Arctic water did not gain entry into the cabin. The other reason was to guarantee proper insulation of the rider.
These early kayaks had air filled seal bladders and were virtually unsinkable. The Aleutian kayaks were also designed in a manner that ensured they were quiet and swift at the same time They were primarily used for fishing and hunting during the summer season.
The folding kayaks
When Europeans learnt kayaks were very versatility, they modified the Aleutian kayaks. They made them using fabric covers as opposed to wood frames. A design for a folding canvas kayak lead to the invention of a kayak known as “foldboat.” This lead to the use of kayaks for sporting activities. For instance, kayak racing was integrated into the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936. Kayak clubs also blossomed in many parts of Europe hence kayaks started gaining popularity.
In the 1950s, kayaks witnessed structural evolution leading to the invention of fiberglass kayaks. The pioneer fiberglass kayak (“Anas Acute”) was made by Valley Products Company. The company also made another kayak “Nordkapp” which had the power to hold more cargo while assuring maneuverability.
Plastic and polyethylene kayaks
The period between the late 1970s and early 1980s witnessed the creation of roto-molded polyethylene kayaks. This manufacturing process facilitated mass production of kayas (poly boats) at a low cost. The pioneer plastic kayaks were introduced in the early 1980s. This invention has continued to give builders the determination to make more durable, light weight and versatile kayaks similar to the Fissot kayak.
Evolution of Kayaks based on construction materials and performance features
As the kayaks continued to evolve, the construction materials become more advanced and so did performance features. Builders now use materials such as fiberglass, carbon-fiber and Kevlar. These materials make the kayaks sturdier and more appealing in design. In terms of performance features, kayaks now have
1. Modifiable thigh braces, seats which offer comfort and control.
2. Modifiable foot braces for adaptable fit range.
3. Deck rigging that enhance gear storage and safety
To wrap up, kayaks have become a renowned self-propelled watercraft in today’s world. Many individuals use kayaks for water exploration globally. Besides, with the invention of kayaks using many varieties of materials, individuals can also use them for diversified sporting activities.