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Moving Over The Water

Kayaking 17

Kayaking (Moving Over The Water)

Upload By: Kabir Ansari on Jun 07, 2023
Adventure Sport,

Overview: Kayaking

Kayaks have been described as “those smart little, tight little, slight little, light little, thin little, slim little crafts”. The sight of a kayaker going through a rapid will definitely make its Eskimo inventor (who designed such a vessel for hunting seals) turn in his icy grave! Alternately known as paddling, kayaking involves travelling on water using a kayak, a narrow boat manoeuvred by a double-blade paddle. A kayak somewhat resembles a fishing boat, and usually comes fitted with a covered deck. There are two forms of kayaking – whitewater kayaking, where the paddler negotiates rapids and waterfalls, and ocean kayaking, where the kayak is piloted in open water or on a lake. Whitewater kayaking requires a great degree of skill (and is a lot more exciting than rafting, to boot).

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Know more about popular sites for Kayaking in India.

Kayaking, Sports of moving over water

Kayaks are available in solo or tandem (for one or more persons), and are famed for their manoeuvrability, accessibility, adaptability and versatility; there is no waterway that these splendid “little” boats cannot negotiate. Kayaking, truly, is a delight, a more laid- back activity than rafting.

Kayaking History:

The kayak is the invention of the Inuit people of the Arctic region, who used it for hunting. The first kayaks were powered by single-bladed paddles, and the Eskimos used them to hunt seals (kayak literally means ‘hunter’s boat’). Kayaking as a sport, and especially as a recreational activity, owes its origins to a certain John MacGregor. In 1845, this Scotsman, a barrister (and also an explorer and artist), designed a kayak based on drawings of the narrow boat used by the Eskimos, and called it the Rob Roy (this had a two-bladed paddle). MacGregor kayaked all around Europe, in rivers and on lakes, and wrote a book about his experiences, ‘A Thousand Miles in the Rob Roy Canoe’. It was a bestseller, one which got many hooked on to paddling.

MacGregor would later go on to establish the Royal Canoe Club (1866) with fellow kayak enthusiasts; the club organized a regatta in 1873, the first competitive kayaking event. Kayaking became an Olympic discipline in the Berlin Games (1936). Over time, kayak clubs started springing up all around Europe as the popularity of sport took off.

Kayaking, Sports of moving over water

Kayaking In India:

Though kayaking has slowly gained popularity among the adventure community, it is still an activity that’s outside the mainstream in India. It remains a limited recreational activity, a niche rather than competitive sport. Nevertheless, kayaking is more popular around the southern metropolis of Bangalore, particularly on the weekends; there are trips organized on the Kali (in Dandeli town), Kaveri and Narmada rivers. For the views, little beats a kayaking trip in Goa – along the coast, on the river (Mandovi, Zuari) or in the backwaters. The tranquil backwaters of Kerala are also a lure for the kayaking enthusiast.

In the north, the rivers in the Himalayan region were made for kayaking. There are trips in and around Rishikesh, on the Ganges, but also on the Alaknanda, Mandakini and Yamuna rivers. Further up, in bone-chilling and inhospitable Zanskar, summer expeditions are organized amid stunning scenery, on the Zanskar and Indus rivers, as well as on the Tsarap Chu (a tributary of the Zanskar). Also recommended is a kayaking expedition out east to Arunachal Pradesh, on the mighty Brahmaputra, or on the Subansari (a tributary of the Brahmaputra), and on the Rangit and Teesta rivers in Sikkim (make Darjeeling your base for a kayaking trip on the Teesta). Meanwhile, if you’re interested in sea kayaking, head to the coast of Kerala.

Know more about popular locations for Kayaking in India.

Kayaking, Sports of moving over water

Best season for Kayaking in India:

At different times of the year, depending on the destination – October/November to May in the north (except in Zanskar, where kayaking trips are organized from July to September) and east, through the year in the south and Goa (except during the monsoons)

Kayaking, Sports of moving over water

Kayaking Destinations in India:


Jammu and Kashmir: Zanskar, Indus

Himachal Pradesh: Beas

Uttarakhand: Ganges, Alaknanda, Mandakini, Tons, Bhagirathi


Goa: Mandovi, Zuari


Karnataka: Kali, Kaveri, Narmada

Kerala: backwaters


Arunachal Pradesh: Brahmaputra, Subansari

Sikkim: Rangit, Teesta

Kayaking, Sports of moving over water

Kayaking TIPS:

You are likely to have a few concerns before you hit the river for the first time and justifiably so. Here are certain points to watch out for that will help you have a safe and enjoyable rafting trip.What to watch out for before rafting India has a number of professional international-quality rafting outfits with skilled and safety-conscious guides who can introduce a beginner to the joys of river rafting. So how do you choose the correct one? Before planning your trip, ask the rafting tour operator a few questions:

  • How long has the company had a rafting operation?
  • Talk to people who have been rafting with the company recently.
  • Ask about their guides and their experience. If you can talk to the guides themselves, you can figure out whether they are well trained, informed, can communicate well and whether they are safety-conscious professionals.
  • Life jackets: According to statistics, eighty per cent of accidents in river rafting happen either because of not wearing life jackets, not wearing life jackets properly (zipper done up and buckles fastened securely) or not wearing proper life jackets.The life jackets must have adequate buoyancy (minimum of 6kg, preferably 9-10kg), must be of a proper type (U.S. Coast Guard Type-III or V) with the provision of ensuring a snug fit by means of straps etc., and must be worn correctly. Inflatable life jackets and ‘keyhole’ type jackets are not suitable for white-water rafting. Guides must ensure that life jackets are fitted ‘snugly’ before the trip starts and above all major drops.
  • Helmets are mandatory on all rapids and it is recommended that helmets be kept on throughout the trip. The helmet should be properly strapped – when you slide a finger between the strap and your chin it should feel snug.
  • If possible take a look at the rafts and the river equipment. Torn life jackets, helmets with broken straps and highly patched and leaky rafts do not inspire confidence.
  • Are the guides qualified in basic first aid and CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation)?
  • Ask if the company carries a first-aid, emergency-repair kit on the river, and if all rafts have rescue throw bags. All rafting trips must carry a well-equipped repair kit containing repair material, glue / accelerator, sandpaper or roughing tool and waterproof repair tape / duck-tape. Oar rafts must carry at least one spare oar / spare oarlock. All rafts must have a safety line going all around the raft, a bow-line and preferably a stern-line as well. All rafts must have a throw bag, and non-self-bailing rafts must have a bailing bucket (two are recommended).
  • Some of the worst international accidents have happened when there has been only one raft on the river. As per rules of the Indian Association of Professional Rafting Outfitters, if you are on a section of the river which is grade III (difficult with big waves requiring maneuvering the raft through boulders/obstacles, slightly remote and/or away from the road), do ensure that the company you are going with uses a minimum of two craft, i.e. two rafts or a raft and a safety kayak. The two-craft rule can be relaxed for easy float trip sections (Grade-I to Grade-II) close to a road.
  • Do insist on a safety briefing before you start the rafting trip. The guide/trip leader must give a thorough safety briefing covering all pertinent details for that particular trip.
  • Ensure that non-swimmers are not allowed to body-surf.
  • Ensure that trips are timed to finish at least an hour before dark.

Kayaking, Sports of moving over water


Kayak and paddle; lifejacket/PFD (personal flotation device), wet suit, dry suit, spray skirt (with shock cords), helmet

Kayaking, Sports of moving over water

Ecological Concerns:

In India, rivers are considered sacred. So when kayaking, do remember to keep your surrounds – rivers, mangroves, backwaters, even the smallest waterways, and beaches – clean. Leave them as you found them (better still, cleaner than you found them). And if you see any litter or debris in the water or on the shore, do collect and dispose of as best as you can.

Kayaking, Sports of moving over water

Medical Concerns:

Kayaking isn’t as strenuous an activity as rafting but if you have a previous medical condition, mention it to the instructor/guide, and remember to bring the necessary prescribed medication along with you.

Kayaking, Sports of moving over water

What's to Carry when you go for Kayaking?

Must carry some water with you
Must Carry some cash because there are limited network and Banking Facility
Carry some food items
Carry extra warm cloths
Not to travel alone

Popular Kayaking Sites

Best Time for Kayaking
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Ideal Conditions for Kayaking

 Preferably placid conditions overhead.

What Should Wear

 Kayak and paddle, Lifejacket/PFD (personal flotation device), Wet suit, Dry suit, Spray skirt (with shock cords), Helmet

Activity's Location

Kayaking, Activity Location

FAQs about

Is Kayaking is a dangerous sport?

Kayaking may be an extreme sport, but it’s not dangerous. There are several options to choose from like recreational kayaking, kayak-fishing, white water kayaking, etc. You start off at your level. In the initial stages, instructors won’t take you to tough zones until you gain confidence and the necessary skillset.

How tiring is kayaking?

Kayaking is similar to trekking. We keep moving at a constant pace and take break time to time. Moving in water is more efficient than land. To cover the same distance, kayaking takes less energy than trekking. It is an excellent workout for the upper body.

Can anyone do kayaking?

For kayaking the participant to be above 18(parents concent is required if below 18), irrespective of gender.

Is it safe to kayak in River Ganga in Rishikesh?

River Ganga is is very calm and safe for kayaking.

What is the best time for Kayaking?

Morning and afternoon time is the best time for kayaking

Viewers/Readers Comments:
Sapna Mehra
07-06-2023 15:12:47
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