Adventure Outdoors Magazine Summer 2016 - Page 106

The first place outside of Hawaii that paddleboarding became prevalent was in California, naturally. Today, paddleboarding is still one of the top watersports of places like San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Coronado Island. There are also a ton of places to catch a SUP tour in Florida, such as Key West. What better way to explore the mangrove forests than standing up on a paddleboard and sliding through the calm waters? Not going to be able to make it to the Florida shores or the California coast? That’s okay. Paddleboarding is popular on lakes and calm rivers as well, so try Canada or even Seattle, where they offer tours along the waterways. CANOEING & KAYAKING It can be hard now-a-days to tell the difference between a new canoe and a new kayak, especially the ones that are used for sporting events, such as the Olympic Games. Canoe sprinting was officially named a discipline in Berlin in 1936, and today, both kayaks and canoes are used for the events. Further, we learn that the kayak originated from the Eskimo people, where the word kayak is rooted to “man boat,” and was used by the men who ventured out into the icy waters to fish. The kayak was made with animal skin stretched over top of it, which enclosed the deck, except where the paddler sits inside of the vessel itself. This was so that the freezing waters did not enter the boat. Therefore, in essence, a kayak is a type of canoe. Canoes, on the other hand, have been around for hundreds of years, and were used for everything from transportation to warfare. A canoe is designed with an open deck, or “hollow,” in which the paddler sits on a bench. In modern sporting events, these classic differences can sometimes be hard to notice, so the main defining characteristics have become the paddles themselves. A canoe paddle has a single blade and is used in a switching motion to paddle forward. A kayak’s paddle has two blades, one on either end, with which the paddler will rotate through the water. Kayaks are also built for moving through more treacherous waters, such as saltwater and rapids, though some skilled paddlers still prefer the canoe. For the ultimate canoe trip, take a journey to Buffalo National River, in northern Arkansas. Buffalo River is protected by the National Park Service, and is over 100 miles long. The river offers a variety of different intensities, but stay away from the upper sections if you’re a beginner. The upper sections are very difficult to master, and are suitable only for experts and guided trips. Campsites can be seen along the riverbank, and paddlers are welcome to travel the entire length of the river, making for a remarkable dual camping and canoeing adventure. To paddle through the entire river would take nearly ten days, depending on water levels and personal skillsets. 104 Summer 2016 Adventure Outdoors