Kayaks were originally developed by the Inuit, Yup’ik, and Aleut. They used the boats to hunt on inland lakes, rivers and coastal waters of the Arctic Ocean, North Atlantic, Bering Sea and North Pacifica oceans.

These first kayaks were constructed from stitched seal or other animal skins stretched over a wood or whalebone-skeleton frame. (Western Alaskan Natives used wood whereas the eastern Inuit used whalebone due to the treeless landscape).

Kayaks are believed to be at least 4,000 years old. The oldest kayaks remaining are exhibited in the North America department of the State Museum of Ethnology in Munich, with the oldest dating from 1577.

Types of Kayaks

Sea Kayaks

  • Narrower & longer in length, 14+ feet 
  • Will have at least 2 separate compartments, which is important for reserve buoyancy in case of a capsize 
  • Will have decklines & hatches 
  • Designed to be used with a spray deck
  • May be made of plastic, fibreglass or carbon fibre 

White Water Kayaks

  • Wider and shorter in length, 5-8 feet 
  • Designed for fast moving water like rivers @ creeks 
  • Additional flotation recommended 
  • Used with a spray deck 
  • For river running/ surfing 

Recreational Kayaks

  • Wider kayaks of a variety of lengths, generally under 12 feet 
  • Generally single compartment 
  • May not fit a spray skirt 
  • May be sit inside or sit on top 
  • Stable and easy to steer 
  • Designed for ponds and calm sheltered waters 
  • May have special outfitting for fishing 
  • May be plastic, inflatable or fold apart 

Paddle NL Reserved Campsite

Paddle NL has 13 designated coastal sites as Crown Land Reserves.  

With sites suitable for boat access were becoming increasingly rare due to cabin development, the club reserved these sites to ensure boaters can stop for a rest and enjoy the outdoors, including pitching a tent. 

In 2011, through the efforts of Kayak Newfoundland and Labrador (KNL) the provincial government designated ten coastal sites as Crown Lands Reserves. Ten years later at the request of Paddle NL, three more Reserves were designated, thereby ensuring these locations would remain accessible to the public. 

Ideal locations include good landing and areas of flat, dry land. If you are aware of such sites as candidates for protection, please inform the club with a description and a map of the location. 

Training Courses

Taking a course can be a great way to get started in any type of paddling! A Paddle Canada course will teach the fundamentals of safe paddling for sea kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddle boarding. Paddling technique, boat design, self rescue and team rescues are just some of the things covered in these courses. Taking a course can help you learn about the risks of your paddling environment and how to make safe decisions on the water!