Kayaking is an adventure water sport where a small boat known as a kayak is used and double-bladed oars to paddle through the water surface. The boat driver faces forwards and changes the course of direction accordingly with side-to-side paddles.
Generally, in recreational sport-kayaking, the single rider boat comes with a deck that covers the legs and the rider paddles with the help of double oars on the water surface. Besides, it’s massive popularity as competitive sports, kayaking has also managed to secure a top spot in the recreational sport activity.
There are different kinds of kayaking practiced all around the world; usually, kayaks vary according to the water surface it is designed to be used on. Here are a few types of kayaks that are used across the globe:
Sit-on-top kayaks: These kayaks don’t have cockpits like the traditional kayaks. The riders stretch their legs in front of the boat but, it will be exposed to the water waves.
Inflatable kayaks: The inflatable kayaks were brought in use to make it easily usable and as an effortless portable kayak. These types of kayaks can fit up to 2- person and are meant for cruising through the flat water.
Sea kayaks: The kayaks used on the sea surface are designed with a flat hull to keep the boat stable when pushed by the sea waves. These boats have a narrow v-shaped front design which makes them capable of surfing on rough sea waters.
Whitewater kayaks: The whitewater kayaks are designed with rounded hulls which make the rolling in the rough water surface easier. They are also slightly shorter in size; from 4 feet to 10 feet in length which helps them move freely and fast on the rapids with the rocky courses.
Play boat: These types of kayaks are specially designed to perform play moves on the water surface. Play boat is the shortest type of kayak used in white water adventure and one of the best options in rodeo boating; the boat is designed with a lot of volume in the center to maintain stability while performing different technical tricks.
Tandem kayaks: In general, the kayak boats are designed for a single person to ride across the waves, however, in a tandem kayak, these boats are designed to share the water adventure with two or more people. These kinds of kayaks are especially useful while taking a newbie along on the ride gain some experience in the thrilling water sports.
A Brief History
The kayak was recorded first being brought in use by the Inuit, people from the northern Arctic region. The first kayak,they made was from driftwood and stretching the skin of animals on whale bones. To bring shape to the kayak and its frame, those people used animal skins; sealskin was the ideal choice to create the body of the kayak.
“Kayak” which was translated to “Hunter’s Boat” was created by the Inuits to use it for hunting and fishing. The silent and covert mode of the kayak helped the hunters to sneak behind their prey and successfully hunt them with fewer failures.
By mid-1800 the kayaking had successfully attracted the attention of Europeans; in countries like German and France, the kayaking was being started to be explored as water sports. And, in 1931 Adolf Anderle became the first-ever person to kayak down Salzachöfen Gorge, a narrow gorge in Salzburg State, Austria which opened the golden gate for the modern-day white-water kayaking. The favoritism of water sports even got itself introduced in Berlin Olympics Games in the year 1936.
In the 1950s,fiberglass kayaks were commonly developed and used in the sport.
However, the sport took an evolutionary turn after the introduction of polyethylene plastic kayak in the 1980s.
Kayaking In Nepal
Nepal offers whitewater kayaking for all levels, either you like to take the thrill to the next level with advanced rapids or if you want to enjoy simple rapids and just have a good time. The high paced rivers and rapids from low to high class make Nepal an ideal location to enjoy every kind of kayaking; the country has over a dozen of the rivers to enjoy the thrilling water sport.
The country rich with Himalayan ranges-mountains, hypnotizing beauty and varieties of whitewater adventure outshines other available white water adventures. Further,the diverse-rich culture, the mesmerizing touch of nature and simple humble people all around, set the country in a quite special position.
People who are the part of the International Paddling community or familiar with such communities already know that Nepal is an ultimate playground for white-water adventures. So, let’s discuss and dive in for the exploration of the major rivers to enjoy kayaking with full throttles in Nepal.
1. Trishuli Kayaking
Trishuli falls in the category of one of the most easily accessible rivers--which has successfully managed to be a heartbeat for the adventurist souls. The river originated from Langtang Himal is one of the ideal choices for water sports--located at the range of 3 hours drive if you are looking for a close water adventure attraction.
Trishuli is one of the suitable locations to enjoy kayaking for beginners to enjoy the mild white water waves. Also, entertaining the hearts of both newbies and experienced water adventurers, this river provides rapids level from class 2 to class 4. In addition to several levels of rapids, the Mankamana hill, cable line, beautifully terraced landscapes, and stunning gorges are the star attraction of Trishuli kayaking. You can also enjoy camping by the riverside in one of the favorite destinations for rafting and kayaking where you can share your stories with fellow water adventurers.
2. Karnali Kayaking
Karnali is the country’s largest and longest rivers; it provides unrivaled potential in white water adventures. One of the renowned large-volume rivers in the world doesn’t fall short for the classic water expeditions; it has a taste of wilderness in the venture to the unpopulated terrain in the Wild West of the country.
The holy river which flows from Mt. Kailash is considered the center of the universe as per Buddhist and Hindu tradition. It provides from class 3 to class 5 rapids adding breathtaking thrills with spiritual experience. Further, surfing on the humongous water flow passing through the remote jungle rich with bird-life and wildlife will be one of your memorable experiences in the wilderness. Concluding the Kayaking journey near Bardiya National Park, you can also witness animals like sloth bears, masher fish, tigers, crocs and rhinos which are the stars of the park.
3. Marshyangdi Kayaking
Flowing from the northern slope of Mt. Annapurna range, this river provides world-class rapids to enjoy the adventures on the white water surface. The breathtaking water flows with class 4 and class 5 rapids are not quite fitting for the light-hearted; however, the courageous hearts seeking adventures of their life will thrive in the water surface of this magnificent river.
Marshyangdi which is approximately 150 km long is one of the steepest rivers in the country for white water kayaking testing your adventurous spirit in every turn. Enjoying the kayaking in the elegant river amid the hypnotizing mountain scenery, challenging water rapids and heavenly settlements will give you a brief sensation of paradise.
4. Seti Kayaking
The Seti river water is moderately warm even during the winter season which makes it a popular destination throughout the season. The river divided into two parts Upper-Seti River and Lower-Seti Rivers covers adding excitement for both newbies in the water sports as well the pro-level adventurers who seek to take the thrill on the next level. Seti,simultaneously offers rapids from class 2 to class 4 for white water adventurists so, everyone can be part of the marvelous water adventure.
The upper-Seti river is famous for enjoying the water adventure at an extreme level where the kayaker can enjoy on the rough and rugged water surface. As for lower Seti, it entertains the newbies in the water sport with less-intense but equally-fun rapids. The charming-appealing scenery, the scent of wilderness and refreshing water have the magic to refresh your soul.
5. Kali Gandaki Kayaking
The river which is named after Goddess Kali, a goddess of destruction is one of the holy rivers in the country. Originating from Tibetan plateau, it makes its way through the Himalayas carving the deepest gorge in the world between Mt Annapurna and Mt. Dhaulagiri which are both at a height more than 8000 m.
If you are looking for non-stop thrills and a greater number of rapids Kali Gandaki is a fitting destination that is famous for quick paddling rafting. You can explore the stirring rafting class 4 and class 5 rapids which are available in Kali Gandaki. The whitewater journey with the views of exotic mountains, remote villages, remote temples and wildlife flourishing in the rich jungles will leave you stunned.
6. Tamur River Kayaking
The river flowing with the blessing from Mt. Kanchenjunga offers over 100s of class 3 to class 4 rapids. The thrilling destination for white water adventures offers one of the ideal playgrounds for kayaking.
The river which is located in the Eastern part of the country provides the glorious views of the mountain ranges like Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Makalu adding magic to your water adventure. However, you need to have some prior experience in kayaking if you are looking for diving in one of the majestic white water rivers the country boasts.
7. SunKoshi Kayaking
The river of gold has successfully managed to secure a spot in the top ten river expedition in the world by Nat Geo. SunKoshi, which flows with the magic of Himalayas, offers rapids from class 3 to class 4+ making it accessible for both new in the game kayakers and experienced daredevils.
The best season to enjoy water adventure in SunKoshi is from mid-September to early November; the river is at a high level at the time due to monsoon rain. The beautiful forests, golden sparkling sand and simply amazing landscapes resting very close to Mother Nature will make you every moment count.
8. Bhote Koshi Kayaking
The descended of the SunKoshi River doesn’t fall behind in hoisting the thrilling white water adventures. The marvelous river offers some of the most amazing water drops, hypnotizing canyons, white-sand beaches, and beautiful waterfalls. It is also another short route attraction which is just 3 hrs drive from Kathmandu; offering 26 km kayaking and rafting opportunity with different levels of rapid, a complete white water adventure package.
One of the most favorite destinations for water adventure lovers in the country offers rapids from class 3 to class 5. The upper section of Bhotekoshi provides class 5 rapids which is more popular among the skilled kayakers whereas the lower part which has class 3 rapids is an ideal spot for the adventurers new in the game or simply to enjoy the white water splashing. Bhotekoshi which specializes in adding the adrenaline rushes throughout your body mixed with the views of peaceful jungles and mesmerizing waterfalls is bound to leave you in awe.
9. Bheri River Kayaking
Origination from the Himalayas and flowing from the western range Mt. Dhaulagiri, Bheri River is one of the most popular rivers for easy white water adventures. The river offers rapids of class 3 and class 4 in its 140 km terrain; the river is not violent as other white water adventure destinations making it one favorable destination for the novice in the water adventure sports.
However, the kayaking and rafting in the destination are not any less exciting than other major attractions, the remote village in the area, traditional settlements, white sand beaches, untainted natural resources close to the wilderness will make your water adventure a remarkable memory. The river is also quite famous for fishing, so, you can witness the sparkling fishes under the sunlight swimming around in the calm region of the river.
The best season to enjoy kayaking in Nepal is in autumn from October to December when the river rapids are in condition. The country has over 6000 freshwater rivers; to develop the kayaking expedition, the country has also taken further steps developing kayaking clinics for beginners and pro-level kayaking stations. You can also be part of the kayaking community in Nepal, the paddling community; meet, share experience and be part of group tours with the kayaking lovers from all over the world.
Generally, you can enjoy kayaking with the help of the travel and tour management company. Among them, goGlides is one of the top travel and tour management companies widely known for its world-class services. You can surf through the packages provided by the company and pick what suits you the best.
The safety gear and professional guide with years of experience in the field will be provided by the company. If you are a newbie in the water adventure sports make sure to follow the instruction and guidelines provided at the briefing properly.As safety is the top priority, the preparations are splendidly done so you can just go out and make the best out of this thrilling water adventure.
Pay special attention at the briefing and check equipment-harness properly before starting the water adventure.
- Wear the right outfits for the day, as you get wet,wear something fit and comfortable as loose clothes to get wobbly along the expedition.
- Make sure to bring an extra warm pair of clothes. The water adventures get chilly along the way so the extra pair of clothes will keep you warm after the adventure.
- Don’t carry expensive jewelries or accessories during kayaking as there is a high probability of them getting lost.
- Don’t panic in case flipping or getting separated from the boat; the rescue teams is close by so keep calm and follow proper procedures provided at the briefing.
Photo Source : Chhango The Canyoning Company(Kishor Shahi)