What started as a way for natives to hunt and travel efficiently is now an extremely popular recreational activity and sport. Millions of people in the world are grabbing a paddle and hitting whatever body of water they have access to. From a great source of exercise to a relaxing activity with your friends and family, there are so many different ways to make use of your kayak. Here are a few ways that kayaking has become a mainstream activity!
Affordability and AccessibilityThe biggest factor in the rise of kayaking comes from affordability. Like the chicken and the egg, it is hard to tell if cheaper prices came first or if the desire to kayak came first. Either way, kayaks have never been cheaper and more accessible to the average public. Now, cheap doesn’t always mean poor quality as the quality has improved considerably over the years.
Kayaks were originally made from animal skins and whale bones back in the native days. Then, the 1900s brought a soft-sided kayak, and now, a majority of kayaks are made from polyethylene resins. This is a fairly cheap material to manufacture. While it may be cheap for companies to make, they are solid products that can handle a proper beating.
If kayaks could not be manufactured fairly cheaply, this would have never become such a popular activity. It would be an elitist activity that the common person couldn’t afford to partake in.
Kayaking in Sport and RecreationIt has been a long time since kayaks were used solely for travel and hunting and not for pleasure. Since this switch occurred, kayaking has grown it an ultra-popular phenomenon that millions of people partake in. The 1936 Berlin Olympics was the first time that “flat-water racing” was made a sport. This wasn’t kayaking specifically, but it laid the groundwork for future events. Once 1972 rolled around, white water events took the forefront and the official sport of kayaking was born.
Generally speaking, a majority of kayakers aren’t going down rapids or engaging in competitions, but the origins of kayaking in this space were pivotal to the recreational growth of kayaking.
Kayaking ExposureAlong with the rise of kayaking as a sport, the public began to be exposed to the activity and adapted it to recreation. In the 1960s and 70s, kayaking was becoming a popular sport, but it wasn’t something the general public saw as an activity they could do. Once the price point dropped and kayaks began to come out in large numbers, there was a shift.
This shift was a mix of sport and pleasure that allowed regular people with regular budgets to partake. Companies finally started to market kayaks as family-friendly vessels that can provide great memories. Without proper exposure, the kayak would have never got the legs needed to thrive as a recreational activity.
Society has gone a long way in the recreation business over the years. The kayaking business has evolved so much, and this is only the tip of the iceberg for how it will change even more!