Water sports continue to be a popular pastime for those who wish to combine a holidaymaker’s love of beautiful scenery with physical exercise. Canoeing and kayaking in particular continue to rise in popularity, with 146,000 people estimated to have taken part in the sport last year, foregoing the clinical surroundings of the gym for the lure of the great outdoors. Whether paddling in the rivers of their home towns and cities, or travelling further afield for a more exotic water sports experience. While the waterways of Britain itself offer some beautiful locations for those wishing to indulge in the sport, canoeing and kayaking holidays around the world can offer spectacular views and an opportunity to mix exercise with adventure. Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast is a popular location for canoeing and kayaking holidays, and of course America, where the sport was popularised, remains an old favourite.
While canoeing can be traced back to locations as far removed from one another as the Amazon, Australia and Holland (where the world’s oldest canoe was discovered while excavating for a motorway), kayaking has its origins among the Inuit peoples of Canada, Alaska and Greenland, as they are now known. Obviously explorers and missionaries were the first Westerners to take it up as a mode of transport, but the 20th Century saw kayaking taking its place as a sport, after being used as a demonstration event at the 1924 Olympics in Paris- although of course they don’t have to be competitive activities, with many people choosing just to experience the seas and waterways of the world either alone or with friends as a group effort.
While they obviously require specialist equipment, not least the canoes and kayaks themselves, if you are interested in giving it a try but are not sure whether it will turn out to be for you and don’t want to risk making an unwise financial commitment, most paddling centres will have equipment you can borrow or rent.
Whether you’re looking for a fun way to turn exercise into an adventure, or wanting to test your mettle against others in a show of speed and skill, there has never been a better time to give canoeing or kayaking a try. There is so much beautiful scenery out there to see, all of which you are missing out on if you stay in the gym all day.
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