A kayak is a small, narrow watercraft which is propelled by means of a double-bladed paddle. The word kayak originates from the Greenlandic language, where it is the word qajaq (pronounced [qajaq]). In the UK the term canoe is often used when referring to a kayak. The traditional kayak has a covered deck and one or more cockpits, each seating one paddler. The cockpit is sometimes covered by a spray deck that prevents the entry of water from waves or spray and makes it possible for suitably skilled kayakers to roll the kayak: that is, to capsize and right it without it filling with water or ejecting the paddler.

Some modern boats vary considerably from a traditional design but still claim the title "kayak", for instance in eliminating the cockpit by seating the paddler on top of the boat ("sit-on-top" kayaks); having inflated air chambers surrounding the boat; replacing the single hull by twin hulls, and replacing paddles with other human-powered propulsion methods, such as foot-powered rotational propellers and "flippers". Kayaks are also being sailed, as well as propelled by means of small electric motors, and even by outboard gas engines.

The kayak was first used by the indigenous Aleut, Inuit, Yupik and possibly Ainu hunters in subarctic regions of the world.

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  1. dirtysteve

    Kayak laws?

    Just picked up a couple 10' Lifetime Anglers for the wife and I and we are curious if anybody new if a floatation device was required or if a sit on top kayak counted as one being fully sealed and all. Having one is always a good idea and more than likely the plan. I'm aware of the invasive...
  2. Runwithryan

    Concealing and Water Sports

    Hey my northwest friends, I've been pondering about throwing some cash in the direction of a tandem kayak for the wife and I. The sun's been shining mighty fine here in southern oregon so naturally I'm sitting at work dreaming of paddling Applegate lake and the rogue river. But then it hits me...
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