Kayaking is the sport of paddling in a special boat with one or more paddlers facing the forward direction. In days gone by, kayaks were used primarily for hunting. Now, modern-day kayaks are marvels of molded plastic, available for all sports enthusiasts. Kayaking is an increasingly popular means of enjoying sporting and leisure boating activities.
Kayaks can also be classified into inside-kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks. The two most common uses of kayaks are racing and recreational boating.
Kayaks are becoming more and more popular, but how kayaks are made? Here are some stories about that.
The historical process
The design and manufacture of kayaks have gone through many stages over the centuries.
According to the data, kayaks were used by Eskimos for transportation, hunting, and fishing at least 2000 years ago. Eskimos wrapped animal skins and bones in a wooden frame to make the animal skin boat. They use these natural materials to make very durable kayaks.
By A.D. 900, kayaks were being used in Europe. People needed a kayak that could be easily transported on land in Europe. In the 19th century in Germany, the foldboat was invented. The foldboat could be disassembled and carried in just two suitcases.
Nowadays, the primary use of kayaks has been from hunting and transportation to recreation and competitive sport. People like to go kayaking outdoor and fishing with friends on weekends or holidays or enjoy family time with their children on rivers and lakes. In 1865 the Scotsman J. McGregor made an inside kayak, arousing interest, and countries have copied it. Kayaking as a competitive sport began during the Summer Olympic Games in Germany in 1936.
The Manufacturing Process
The body of polyethylene kayaks is made by a process called rotational molding. After that, the accessories are assembled and the kayaks are packed and shipped.
1. Loading the mold
The polyethylene is poured into the mold which is then closed. The amount of powder to be melted is determined by the model of the kayak to be made.
2. Put in the oven
Before entering the oven, the molds are securely closed with clamps to avoid any loss of polyethylene. The kayak mold is put on a transporter and placed facing the oven. The whole kayak goes in. The polyethylene melts at 288 degrees centigrade. To completely distribute the powder throughout the mold, it pivots on several axes. It turns on itself while the oven oscillates 30 degrees towards the front and rear. This procedure is termed rock and roll and lasts about 19 minutes.
3. Cool down
After Cooking the mold exits the oven, but the plastic has to cool to solidify. The mold is placed in this cooling chamber. It must not be cooled too quickly or it deforms.
4. Demoulding and Trimming
After cooling down, the kayak is finally unmolded. While inspecting the kayak, they remove any plastic ridges left.
People will assemble accessories, such as drain plugs, seats, ropes, etc.
6. Package and Shipping
Finally, the kayak is packaged, and ready for delivery. Kayaks are relatively large and heavy. The kayak is shrink-wrapping in plastic or placing the kayak in a cardboard box.
In the beginning, people used animal bones and hides to make kayaks. After that people make handmade kayaks out of wood. Nowadays, more people use polyethylene.
Kayaking is a recreational and competitive sport, and materials and production methods have evolved with the times.