Created thousands of years ago by the Inuit, row kayaks are mainly used for fishing and hunting. Although fishing is still quite popular when we are talking about a row kayak, it is far from being the only use that can be given to a row kayak.
In 1931, row kayaks were used to descend into the Rapids. Adolf Anderle was the first to use a row kayak and go down the Salzach Gorge, marking the beginning of rowing in the Rapids. In 1936, row kayak races were introduced to the Berlin Olympic Games. Today, rowing is a reasonably popular sport around the world.
Today’s Row kayaks are made of various materials and for multiple purposes. The articles are range polyethylene, which is the most common material due to its performance and price, with carbon fiber and fiberglass, which are more expensive but offer better performance. There are even inflatable row kayaks made of inflatable fabrics such as rubber or PVC, for those who cannot afford to buy a hard shell row kayak and transport it everywhere they need it. There are row kayaks for fishing, for Rapids, for the sea, etc. and if you want to investigate further, you will find that even though some of them may seem similar, there are some differences that distinguish them. For example, you will find row kayak fishing equipment supports, but those you will not find in row kayaks to ride in rapids.
For this guide, I will focus on row kayaks for lakes. They are generally user-friendly for people who want rowing in the water. They are known as recreational row kayaks and are easy to maneuver and very stable, making them ideal for calm waters like the lakes. There are generally large-sized, open cabins, which allow you to enter and exit quickly, and you can keep your equipment inside. This type of row kayaks is a great way to enjoy a day in the water.
What should you know about a row kayak?
If you’re starting in the sport, there’s a couple of things you need to know. The first thing is to know what kind of equipment is necessary. The basics are rowing and rowing, and you will need to look for a wetsuit and a helmet.
Let’s start with the obvious – the row kayak itself. If you are a beginner looking to enjoy the days without any specific purpose, you will want a lake row kayak or recreational; both are the same thing. You may be tempted by the speed you can reach in a Fast-Water row kayak, but you have to be aware that they require a great ability to be able to control them. Fishing Row kayaks can also be attractive, with all their mounts, bells, and whistles, but if you just want to have fun, the bells and whistles will soon begin to get in the way. And, last but not least, the storage options of a crossing row kayak could lead you to believe that you can take everything you need, and more, but that will severely slow down the journey, which is somewhat un recommendable when you are learning. Therefore, we return to the first option – a lake row kayak.
Lake row kayaks have double-edged rowing and are usually about 2 meters long. However, the size will depend on the height and width of the boat, as well as its rowing style, so be sure to get the advice of an expert before purchasing. Make sure you stay dry even though you are continually getting sprayed with water with a good suit. A golden rule would be a standard 4: 3 neoprene suit style, which is 4 mm thick in the body, and 3mm thick in the arms. A helmet is also essential as it protects the head from rocks and hard objects where you can hit.
Last but not least, you must invest in a lifeguard. If you want to start paddling in a row kayak, you probably know how to swim, but you should be aware that if you have an injury, you will not be able to swim well, let alone become unconscious. It is essential to try a little before buying and getting one that fits well and has space to move your arms.
When you buy a row kayak, there are several considerations to think about: a boat that follows well, which means that it stays in a straight line comfortably, does not spin well. This is something you should take into account when buying.
Stability is another important consideration in terms of design. A lake row kayak is usually quite stable, mainly due to the hull design. The helmet has a flat bottom, which gives it more initial stability in the flat water. There are two ways to define security, primary and secondary. Primary, or initial balance, occurs when a boat is at rest. This will give you an idea of how easy it will be to get in and out of the ship, as well as how comfortable you will feel when you are moving slowly. If you are a beginner, if there is high primary stability, it can be very beneficial. Secondary balance, or end stability, is the feeling of turning when the ship is in motion. In general, if a row kayak has high initial stability, it will not be as stable under extreme conditions. And vice versa, if a ship feels unstable when at rest, it tends to be reasonably stable in extreme conditions. When you are getting a lake row kayak, you will move into flat waters, and the chances of being in hard compositions are very slim, which means you will have to choose a row kayak with high primary stability. Advanced rowers often need a boat with more excellent ultimate stability, because that means the ship is going to be much more stable once it takes a little bit of speed and the conditions will be worse.
Materials to choose from
As for materials, a long way has been traveled from the original materials that were used by Eskimos to make their row kayaks. Today, you can choose from plastic and carbon and wood fiber, and even inflatable fabrics. However, they all serve different purposes and come in various price ranges.
The plastic is by far the heaviest, and the most common variety you will find is polyethylene. However, it is exceptionally resistant to damage, which can be very beneficial if you are a beginner. It is recycled from consumers and industrial scrap, and can easily be recovered later. Most beginner’s row kayaks are made of polyethylene, and there are a couple of reasons why. First, it’s a little heavier, which makes it more stable, but slower. Second, it’s usually very cheap, and it’s much less expensive than materials like carbon or Kevlar. If you want a hard shell row kayak, polyethylene is the way to go.
Fiberglass is a little more rigid, and consequently more efficient. However, unlike plastic, once damaged, cracks are difficult to repair. This is 2/3 the weight of polyethylene, a beginner who paddles in a lake, will not notice. The same can be said of exotic materials, such as Kevlar or carbon. They are even lighter, but more susceptible to damage, and also quite expensive.
Inflatable row kayaks, as we mentioned, are the best for portability and storage, but they have advantages and disadvantages in terms of performance. They often sacrifice speed and price. Performance can vary from the cheapest and not so suitable, for some expensive models of high performance.