Firstly this goes against anything I would write about on this site; since it’s something I’m not actively enjoying myself, although the sport that is Snow kayaking seems like it could be something very fun to explore, and that’s what I intend doing today with you all.
What is snow kayaking?
Known as snow kayaking, or as I’ve just learned; snow boating to some. Is essentially the act of riding in a kayak down a snowy slope. These kayaks are exactly the same as I or anybody else would use on the water; such as the Sevylor Ottawa, Sevylor Wabash or the Sevylor Alameda for instance – with little to no modifications used at all.
The kayakers are generally racing down the hill meaning this is something that you wouldn’t necessarily do out of pure relaxation; like general kayaking is seen as. As I can imagine hurling down the side of a hill or a mountain at rapid speeds probably isn’t too relaxing but the amount of adrenalin that pumps through your body will be second to none.
Probably the one true difference between paddling on the water and surfing downhill in a kayak is that you won’t be needing PFD’s rather you’ll be using a helmet along with knee and elbow pads to help you stay safe.
History of snow boating
The sport has, to my knowledge, has been around since 2002 when the first official race was held in Austria by a group of avid kayakers – no doubt the participants were people who wanted something a little more exciting than a peaceful trip on the waters.
There was, in fact, a world champion held in 2007 in Austria too, where a local Austrian (no surprises there) was crowned champion and again different Austrian was also crowned champion in the year of 2008.
Types of Kayaks for Snow boating
Kayakers tend to favour either a creek boat or a play boat, depending on current preference or experience they have with water kayaking – this choice is like always; personal preference. But can also heavily ride on what sort of slope they plan on racing down.
Creek boats, which are typically used for ‘calm hobbies’ like bird watching, fishing and any other hobby that requires you to not to disturb the environment. Designed longer than Play Boats, the high volume design around the cockpit is done this way to ensure you resurface quickly if by any chance you would submerge in the water.
With ample rockers on either end of the hull, you are capable of doing quick turns other boats would not typically allow you to do; with additional curves on the bottom, which allow the kayaker to have better control when turning.
All of these things considered, make this type of kayak a great choice for down hill riding in the snow; and has been a favourite for world champion athletes since the inception of snow boating.
There are many types of playboats, just like creek boats, it all depends on what sort of activity you’d be getting up to. These boats are used for performing tricks in a single position – known as the ‘play spot’.
Although they are used to surf waves, which is generally something you wouldn’t do in any other kayak. In my opinion its as if these kayaks were designed for snow boating because even the origin of the playboat means that you’re performing some high adrenalin task.
These sort of boats have a lot less volume and their decks tend to be a lot more squishy – this is to help the boat to sink underwater when riding waves or performing tricks and actually helps the boat sink under the snow. At first, this may not seem a benefit but because of its flat design, it is able to plan on both water and snow so that it can reach a greater speed.
Some athletes use wax on the bottom of their boat to ensure that they can surpass a typical speed that you would not be able to overcome without it – it probably doesn’t need to be mentioned but this wax will help out with the speed of a kayak due to wax’s slippery smooth characteristics.
Snow boating Equipment
Just like when piloting a normal kayak, you’re going to want to use a two-bladed paddle to help control yourself; balance and turns are all important factors. You’re going to want to be in control when snow kayaking at all times.
On top of your tools, you’re going to want protective equipment to ensure your safety too; as well as clothes that are properly insulated so you can stay warm. Wearing thick jackets, perhaps wind and waterproof due to high altitudes and melting snow will be a great idea. On top of those clothes, you should wear knee and elbow pads to keep them protected as well as a helmet.
To get the proper protection, make sure everything fits snug so that you can move properly but so that you can also be well defended against the elements.
Also, eye gear is a great choice against wind and any fragments of snow that could be coming off your kayak when you’re racing downhill, although these are optional (as they are in almost all competitive snow kayaking events) I’d recommend using them as it seems like everyone who even does this activity for fun as some form of protective eyewear.
Snow boating sounds AWESOME. Perhaps it’s one thing that needs to be added to the bucket list. But at the very least I know a lot more about the topic and it is certainly something that is very intriguing and probably just as fun to watch as it is to participate.
I hope you guys learnt something too!
Anyway, that will be all for today,