What is a kayak? It is a type of small boat; the kayaker sits in what is called the “cockpit”. The cockpit is designed of material that is waterproof, usually referred to as a spray deck or a spray skirt. These are created to help keep water out of kayak and secure the kayaker around the waist. All of these things combined creates a kayak that is virtually unsinkable, this is of course unless it gets a hole or runs into a large rock.
Even though it is virtually unsinkable, it is possible for it to capsize relatively easily. This means the kayak turns upside down with the kayaker still inside. This is not a favorite for any kayaker, because they are essentially tied in the kayak. When learning to kayak, the first thing learned is recovery when capsized.
Two blade, single paddles are used to move the kayak in the water. This is much different from the normal association of a paddle, single blade paddles. An extreme kayaker, lives for the thrill of dangerous waterfall or rapids, also referred to as whitewater. In fact, they will usually seek them out, and wants the danger and high that comes along with it. The recreational kayaker is far different, they will stick with milder forms of water, such as rivers and perhaps enjoy a little of the slower rapids, but when it comes to whitewater rapids, they will generally carry their kayak around these harsh rapids, also known as portage.
Whitewater rapids are classified by an internal grading system in six different ways. A Class one (I) white water is the easiest to navigate, a class VI (six) is deemed extremely hard to navigate, in fact virtually impossible. The classifications of whitewaters change with the river throughout the day and seasons. The following is a general guide to the six classifications of whitewaters:
Class I-Water is Smooth Flowing with an absence of rapids
Class II-Water is slightly rough, though the line is easy to pursue and see
Class III-Considered whitewater, but larger rafts can safely navigate. Canoeists and Kayakers on these waters should possess self-rescuing and rolling skills.
Class IV-Only for experienced kayakers, getting through might require the kayaker to maneuver through very quickly.
Class V-Advanced kayakers only, rapid scouting might be inevitable, hidden hazards possible, which will create the need for precise and experience maneuvers.
Class VI-Exploratory or Impassable, safety precautions are a must and only experts in teams should attempt
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about kayaking and get Ocean Kayaks at http://www.kayaknow.com