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Kayaking is a relatively recent form of active activity or extreme sports on the water using a small single (less often double) vessel - a kayak.
A kayak is a type of one-seater rowing boat (kayaks) widespread among the Eskimos, Aleuts and other peoples of the Arctic. Modern kayaks, manufactured industrially from heavy-duty materials, are divided into several types:
Rodeo kayaks (English rodeo, park & play, freestyle) - sharp and sharp contours, flat bow and stern provide these boats with better interaction with the incoming water, and also facilitate the performance of rodeo elements. This type of kayak is one of the most expensive due to the constant updating of the model range due to the rapid development of freestyle.
Rafting kayaks (English river running) are distinguished by smoother contours, aimed at minimizing the influence of water running on the vessel, reducing diving and accelerating ascent. For extreme rafting, shorter boats are suitable (from 230 to 260 cm in length), for expedition boats, longer ones (up to 3 meters).
River play, freerclasse kayaks are suitable for both freestyle and rafting, as they have moderately sharp contours and a relatively large volume.
Sea kayaks, adapted for travel in open water areas (oceans, seas, lakes, reservoirs, flat rivers), are most often equipped with steering and sail. They are characterized by less maneuverability, but more spaciousness, stability on the course and speed.
All types of kayaking can be divided into several groups:
Sea touring recreational kayaking - trips and walks carried out in specialized fast and stable kayaks on the calm surface of lakes, flat rivers or sea bays.
Whitewater kayaking (English "kayaking on white (rough) water") - moving on a kayak along a turbulent stream (mountain river, flat rivers, coastal relief or an artificially created channel), teeming with obstacles. There are the following types of whitewater kayaking:
1. Rodeo (freestyle) - performing tricks and acrobatic figures on a kayak using irregularities in the water flow (most often in a "barrel" - this is the name of the section of foam counterflow behind the drain or on the shaft (standing wave in the river bed)). Various competitions, European and world championships are regularly held for this type of kayaking. The main task of the athlete is to complete the maximum possible number of elements ("move", from the English "move" - "movement") within 30-45 seconds. The assessment takes into account the complexity and staginess of each element, as well as the variability (variety of figures) of the performance as a whole.
2. Rafting - overcoming technically difficult obstacles or river sections by kayaking.
Expeditionary rafting - most often carried out in a remote and uninhabited area, therefore, it involves a long journey without any accompaniment (all the necessary equipment is transported in kayaks). Most often, the route is designed so that athletes do not face super-difficult obstacles, since the possibility of insurance is limited, and it is extremely difficult to provide assistance in case of failure, and sometimes it is simply impossible. Competitions in this kind of sport ("extreme races" ("extreme races", "adrenaline races")) are held on sections of the river with a high level of difficulty, taking into account both the time of the route and certain actions of a participant or team;
Extreme rafting - passing sections of increased difficulty on empty kayaks with a support group that makes insurance;
Play rafting (playboating, playboating) - rafting on small, relatively simple sections of rivers on empty boats, sometimes with rodeo elements;
Rafting (English raft - "raft") - rafting (a kind of inflatable boat), carried out on rough and quieter rivers, lakes, channels.
Kayaking is one of the sports disciplines, divided into several types:
Rowing slalom has been an Olympic sport since 1992. Athletes pass the track marked with landmarks in a stormy stream in the shortest possible period of time;
Rowing and canoeing is an Olympic sport that consists of rowing at speed in a straight line, on smooth water;
Downhill - rafting at speed along a section of rough water, downstream Competitions in this sport are held on sections of the river of moderate difficulty, the winner is the participant who first overcome the specified route. There are no trajectory restrictions as in rowing slalom;
Canopolo is a kayak water polo held in a pool between two teams;
Snowkayaking is a descent on plastic boats on a snow-covered slope.
A nimble and strong person, equipped with expensive equipment, will easily overcome any obstacle during kayaking. Of course, the physical data of the athlete and the quality of the equipment are significant values, but it should be remembered that obstacles are overcome not at the expense of the vessel's capabilities, but at the expense of the rower's skills and abilities acquired by him in the process of long and persistent training. It is simply impossible to become a good kayaker by studying the art of behavior on rough water two to three weeks a year.
If you are going to go kayaking, be sure to get ready for multi-day long hikes. Not necessary. Some types of kayaking (for example, rodeo or freestyle) have nothing to do with water tourism (although the skills, equipment, and kayaks are the same), but they allow people who are unable to enjoy the pleasure of overcoming obstacles on rough water. desire to break away from all the benefits of civilization for a long time.
A person who does not have experience and dexterity cannot even dream of participating in rafting on rough water. This is not true. In Nepal, Turkey and other countries, tourists are offered to go rafting (one of the varieties of kayaking). The client who pays a certain amount receives equipment and can feel all the delights of rafting on a turbulent river. At the same time, the knowledge and skills of the tourist do not play a special role, since the behavior of the raft is almost completely controlled by the guide sitting at the stern of the ship. The paddle in the hands of the client serves only as a means of amusement and a way to evoke in the admiring tourist a deep sense of his own significance and involvement in what is happening.
Kayaking training is conducted only in open waters, best of all on rivers teeming with sharp turns, waterfalls, etc. No, sports clubs, associations and kayaking federations organize pool training from November to April. It is at this time, under the guidance of experienced instructors, that a beginner athlete has the opportunity to get acquainted with all the subtleties of this sport. Only after that you can start training in open water.
Kayaking equipment consists of many items and is extremely expensive. Indeed, people who are professionally engaged in kayaking (as well as any other sport) spend quite large sums on the purchase of equipment. However, novice athletes do not need it. Those who will be engaged in the pool will need three things:
- a kayak, choosing which you should not at all give preference to boats of the latest model - after all, they will have time to become outdated before your training ends. Any used kayak, the price of which usually ranges from $ 300 to $ 500. for a start is quite suitable;
- paddle. As in the case of a kayak, you don't have to rush to get a super durable thing for 150-200 dollars. Any used paddle in the price range from $ 40 to $ 70 it will suit you (after all, different incidents happen during training, and it will not be as a pity to lose such a model as costing 3-4 times more);
- skirt (apron). At the initial stage, when you are studying straight rowing and turns, you do not need this piece of equipment. But to perform an Eskimo coup, a skirt is simply necessary. At the same time, keep in mind that expensive skirts have a lineup, i.e. tailored to fit a specific kayak. Cheap ones ($ 40-60) will have to try on or ask the sellers about the compatibility of the skirt you have chosen and the type of boat you purchased.
When it comes time to start training in open water, you will have to purchase some more must-have items of equipment:
- helmet. It doesn't matter where the training takes place - on a turbulent mountain river or a quiet lake opposite your house - a helmet is essential in any case. You will spend from $ 30 to $ 50 to purchase it. (of course, if you don't decide to get a super-expensive model for extreme cases, the price of which ranges from 60 to 120 USD)
- life jacket - a specialized model for kayaking. An inexpensive option will cost you $ 50-80.
- wetsuit. Since the water in rivers (especially in mountainous ones) is rarely warm, you should prefer a neoprene semi-overalls (pants), the cost is from 80 to 200 USD, a waterproof jacket (dry-top, 50-150 ye), under which thermal underwear is usually worn, a shirt made of thin neoprene or polar. You also need neoprene slippers, which cost from $ 20 to $ 60.
Instead of a specialized helmet for kayaking, a motorcycle helmet is fine at first. A helmet is exactly that piece of equipment that you should not save on. In the most extreme case, you can use hockey, but not motorcycle, construction or any other.
Preference should be given to domestic kayaking equipment - it is both of higher quality and cheaper. Unfortunately, kayaking equipment in Russia and the CIS countries is produced in very small quantities, so it is almost impossible to find it in stores. New kayaks and expensive models of equipment from well-known companies are brought only on order. You can find used equipment and kayaks on the Internet or at kayaking training locations.
Kayaking is extremely traumatic. Like any extreme sport, kayaking is fraught with potential danger, but, firstly, it is not so great - after all, according to statistics, for example, people driving motorcycles are injured much more often than kayakers. And secondly, by observing some rules, you can reduce the risk of an accident to almost zero. So:
1. You should start your classes under the guidance of an experienced instructor, especially if you have chosen rafting over rodeo.
2. For training in open water, you should purchase specialized equipment appropriate for the season, water temperature, difficulty of the route, etc.
3. The condition of the equipment should be checked before each launch, not just at the beginning of the hike.
4. The kayaker should avoid situations of increased risk (solo rafting, rafting in flood or unfavorable weather conditions, in a state of severe fatigue, etc.) or at least be aware that such actions can lead to negative , and sometimes irreparable consequences. Therefore, experienced kayakers first pass the rafting route along the river bank on foot, carefully examining the obstacles and comparing them with the level of their own training in order to develop a plan for further actions.
If the kayaker makes a mistake, he must go the same section of the course again to correct it. Indeed, sometimes mistakes give rise to feelings of fear and insecurity. Popular wisdom says that in order to completely overcome fear, you must immediately correct the failure - during a second attempt to overcome the same obstacle. However, you should not rush, because in case of repeated failure, you will only perpetuate the fear and unnecessarily lower your self-esteem. To achieve success, you need, firstly, to fully restore the strength spent on fighting the obstacle. Secondly, it takes time to realize your mistakes, to work out a plan of action that will nullify the repetition of the previous defeat. Only in the case when you can mentally "scroll" in your head all your further actions aimed at correcting the mistake made, is it worth repeating the attempt to overcome the difficult section. If the uncertainty has not left you for quite a long time, you can use another method: go back to what you did best. And only when you see that your skills have not gone anywhere, raise your self-esteem to the appropriate level and regain faith in yourself - you can safely begin to master a new complex element of kayaking.
For rafting of an increased level of difficulty, you need to take only the newest and most modern equipment. This is not entirely true. In the event that the level of complexity of the future trip is quite high for you, you should give preference to the equipment that has been tested and proven to be reliable (this is especially true for the kayak).
The most difficult sections of the route should be planned at the beginning of the trip (when the athlete is full of energy) or at the end (when the experience will enrich the kayaker many times over and ensure 100% success). No, the passage of rivers teeming with obstacles of an increased level of difficulty is best planned in the middle of the trip, when the maximum "rolling" takes place and fatigue has not yet accumulated. At the beginning of the voyage, preference should be given to alloys of an average level of difficulty, and at the end, put aside something extremely interesting, but not particularly difficult.
To go kayaking on rough water, you will have to go to Siberia, the Urals, Transbaikalia or Nepal. Near some large cities in the CIS countries, where many kayakers are concentrated, there are playspots (playpots) - places suitable for freestyle. Most of them function only in spring during floods.
In Russia, this is the Msta River (Borovichi), r. Tosna (settlement Sologubovka, 40 km from St. Petersburg), r. Vuoksa (Losevo village, 90 km from St. Petersburg).
In Karelia and on the Kola Peninsula there are many rivers and rapids suitable for both freestyle and rafting: r. Shuya (settlement Matrosy, 30 km from Petrozavodsk), waterfalls Kivach (river Suna), Kumi (river Voynitsa), waterfalls on the river. Titovka and Kolvitsa.
In Ukraine, 80 km from Kharkov, an artificial barrel suitable for a rodeo (the so-called "hohlobochka") is installed at the outlet channel of the cooling system of the Zmievskaya GRES. Seasonality - September-May, in summertime skiing is difficult, as the water is too hot (30-35 degrees Celsius).
There are many relatively simple rivers in the Carpathians (Prut, Tisa, Cheremosh), which are quite suitable for learning the basics of freestyle and rafting. The disadvantage is limited seasonality (late April-early May).
There are many rivers of various difficulty levels (Aksaut, Belaya, Kuban, Zelenchuk, Mzymta, etc.) in the Caucasus.
In Europe, excellent conditions for freestyle, game and extreme rafting are created in Norway, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and France.
Turkey also offers kayakers to test their strength on rivers of various difficulty levels.
Kayak and canoe are not much different from each other. These types of boats differ in the way they board and row. In a kayak, a rower sits at the bottom of the boat and paddles with a two-bladed oar; in a canoe, he kneels, rowing with a single-bladed oar on one side.Beginning athletes should take into account that the number of kayakers and canoeists is approximately 100: 1, and since demand creates supply, the canoeist has several times more difficulties in finding a good coach and choosing equipment.
Collapsible kayaks are easier to transport, and composite kayaks are lightweight, therefore they are most acceptable for rafting or freestyle. When choosing the material from which the kayak is made, it is necessary to take into account not only the ease of transportation and the low weight of the structure, but also (which is especially important) its strength and durability. After all, collapsible boats, consisting of a frame and a shell, by no means differ in rigidity and high strength, therefore they are of little use for alloys. Fiberglass boats (composite) are also not used due to their fragility, but they can be successfully used in rowing slalom. If an athlete is planning a rafting or freestyle, he must opt for a kayak, which is a solid monolithic structure made of high molecular weight polyethylene, resistant to abrasion, impact and scratches.
It is easy to define the category of river complexity - after all, all the streams studied by athletes or tourists are classified. Indeed, the classification of flows takes place. However, it should be noted that in different countries you may encounter different meanings of the term "level of difficulty". For example, the international classification gives priority to the technical complexity of the river section (the presence of obstacles, the ability to determine the line of movement and the consequences of its non-observance). The Russian classification categorizes the complexity, taking into account such factors as the population of the area, the difficulty of transferring the group, the length of the route, and only last but not least, the technical complexity of the river section planned for passage. In addition, the international scale is stricter than the Russian one by one or two categories, so some obstacles that are described as "very difficult" in the Russian classification would fall into the rank of "super difficult" in the international one.
Lake and sea kayaks do not need to be equipped with skirts - after all, they do not travel through rough water, which means that liquid will not get inside. Perhaps you are not going to perform an Eskimo coup on your kayak, but you are not at all insured from a sudden storm or heavy rain, which is quite capable of quickly filling the boat with water. It is for such a case that a skirt (apron) should be available in the outfit of a lake and sea kayak.
The neoprene skirt is extremely durable and resistant to external influences. This is true, however, some substances act destructively on this material. For example, sea salt and bleach can damage neoprene, so after using it in a pool or seawater, the skirt must be rinsed in clean water. Store the skirt only in a clean state, in a cold, dry and dark place, since rubber is not resistant to UV rays.
Any sports life jacket will work for kayaking. Misconception. Lifejackets are being developed for different sports, with different properties and meeting certain parameters. For example, a water ski vest for kayaking that is tight and inelastic, does not have large armholes for hand movements, because it does not provide sufficient mobility and comfort. A life jacket for a kayaker does not restrict freedom of movement, has a short length (so as not to interfere with the skirt). Boaters generally prefer short, brightly colored, pocketable life jackets with reflective bands. For rafting, lifejackets of a slightly larger size have been developed, equipped with a large floating collar, which makes it possible to keep a person's head above the water even when he has lost consciousness due to injury. There are also life jackets for insurers and rescuers equipped with a towing carabiner, a sling cutter, a breakaway sling, etc. In addition, remember that lifejackets will lose some of their buoyancy over time. If after you squeeze the life jacket, the foam in it does not open, it's time to change it.
Choose a short paddle for kayaking with a wide blade. This is true, but when choosing, first of all, you should pay attention to the strength of the oar. Unreliable structures that are quite suitable for lake tourism are completely unsuitable for rough water. The length of the paddle depends on the width of your boat. Long oars are usually used on smooth water, as they allow you to develop high speed, but on rough water, where maneuverability is the main thing, short oars are preferred. However, there are exceptions to this rule - wide inflatable kayaks and sit-on-top boats have to be equipped with longer oars. The paddle of kayaker and canoe oars is slightly larger than that of smooth water oars, but it should be remembered that this type of design, allowing for more effort to stroke, will require more energy to stroke. If the blade tapers towards the edge, the strokes will have to be done more often, but less effort is spent on this. Reducing the weight of the paddle will also help to save a lot of energy during the stroke, but as a rule, lighter structures are much more expensive than heavy ones.