At its core, kayaking is simply a method of propelling oneself through a body of water by using ones own power. A paddle is used to do this with the paddle usually having two curved portions on each side to allow for a back and forth action unlike canoeing. This definition, however, fails in many ways since there are extremely different types of kayaking. Let's take a look.
Kayak roughly means hunting boat. It has been used throughout history by people living on shores to pursue food in the ocean. The indigenous people in the Arctic are believed to have been the first kayakers using wood frames covered by animal skins. In modern times, kayaking refers to a much broader scope of activities. That being said, the basic boat remains the same.
Kayaks are long, thin and usually one person boats. They come in different forms and styles, which are primarily adapted to a particular style of kayaking. Sea kayaks are very long and thin, which helps them glide easily through the water. Kayaks designed for running challenging river rapids, on the other hand, are short to facilitate maneuverability and the opportunity to roll to upright oneself after being flipped upside down.
While almost all kayaks are designed to have the person sit down in them, a certain class allows the person to site on a flat indention on the top of the kayak. Obviously, this type of kayaking is typically done on smooth surfaces such as lakes.
As these designs seem to suggest, kayaking comes in a lot of forms. Some people love to take them out on a cruise around a bay in Alaska or any ocean areas. Other kayaking enthusiasts prefer to shoot the rapids of extreme rivers and will travel all over the world to do so.
Kayaking is a huge adrenaline rush or a relaxing way to see sites up close and personal. You just have to make your choice, get out there and go.