Kayak as a Sport

The kayak is a small, long, and narrowboat with bow and stern. Typically the kayaks are one, two or four seats and we can use them in rivers (rafting), in white water, in the sea.

We can use the word kayak to also refer to the activity of sailing with this boat. Although this sport is better known as canoeing in Spain, the places that offer adventure sports also advertise it as kayaking. In Latin America, this activity has the name of boating, also including canoeing.

In a kayak, you don’t use paddles, but paddles. What is the difference? Rowing is used in the sport of rowing and consists of a pole with a single blade. The shovel has two edges, one on each side.

Kayaking classes

We can classify them into four classes:

Kayak– Kayak with flat or calm waters. In this modality, kayakers navigate in flat water rivers, in the sea or lakes. They may have variations depending on the medium in which they will be used. They usually have compartments to carry personal items and a small keel in the lower part to improve stability. It is essential to bring a sponge and a container to drain water.

– Fast water kayak, white water, or white water. Generally, it is a smaller boat than the one used in flat waters. To navigate in this type of water, a rubber skirt is used that adjusts to the kayaker’s waist and the contour of the kayak’s mouth to prevent water from entering the boat. This modality requires special equipment that consists of at least: life jacket, rafting helmet, and suitable footwear. It is also advisable to bring a wetsuit, nose cover, river knife, and a whistle to give signals.


– Touring kayak. They are used for long trips.

– Kayak-polo kayak. This ball sport played in the water between two teams of five players using kayaks that are approximately 3 meters long.


As you can see, there are many ways to kayak. These could be sea kayak, racing kayak, polo kayak, fishing kayak, surf and whitewater kayak, and swamp / lazy river kayak. There are some more, but I don’t want to make you dizzy. Being clear that there are several modalities, you will understand that there is a type of kayak for each discipline and that none is valid for everything. It would be best to think about what you want to do with the canoe and buy accordingly. Here I talk about the types of kayak. Although the original Inuit design has evolved to adapt to the uses, we can say in all cases that the kayak is a small boat, very hydrodynamic, and maneuverable.

In all disciplines, we will use a two-bladed paddle (paddle) that will help us advance, maneuver, or regain the vertical if we capsize (skimping maneuver). The paddle forms a lever when rowing that allows you to move faster than walking.