Almost everyone has some kind of routine. You may work, take care of your family, keep the house clean and pay bills. But most people also need a little adventure in their lives -- a break from the mundane, a hobby to liven up the weekends, or a sport to get you up and moving. Maybe you are looking for something new to try. While you are running down your list of possible options, maybe kayaking is not the first thing to stand out, but this adventurous sport has a thriving and growing community and could be worth checking out.
Kayaking is a water sport using a single-passenger boat and a double-bladed paddle, which you use to navigate through the water. Originated by the Inuits, kayaking has become a popular sport worldwide in recent years [source: CBBC Newsround]. Kayaking styles range from more extreme whitewater kayaking to relaxed forms on tamer bodies of water. The style you choose should be based on your experience and your interest level.
If you are new to kayaking, there are many resources that can help you get started. The World Kayak Federation (WKF) is one that can link everyone from beginners to experienced kayakers. It helps compile the necessary information on regional kayaking opportunities and connects enthusiasts of all skill levels to one another through its ambassador program. It started only three years ago, but recently, it has branched into educational programming, which is helping beginners of all ages learn how to kayak safely [source: World Kayak Federation].
If you are interested in learning about the sport and how you can try it out, the WKF provides the basic information to find resources in your area. If you are an experienced kayaker, the organization can link you to others in your area and with your same interests. To learn more on how to join the WKF, read on to the next page.
Joining the World Kayak Federation
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced kayaker, there are many ways to get involved in the World Kayak Federation. Joining such a community can provide educational opportunities and chances to meet others with similar interests and ambitions. Becoming a member is as simple as signing up at the WKF Web site, but your involvement can go much further.
As a beginner, one of the best ways to get involved may be to check out the educational programming available in your area. The WKF offers a curriculum to advance knowledge and love of the sport. It offers kayaking schools and camps for beginners of all ages. If you feel comfortable getting out in the water without additional instruction but want to kayak with others, the WKF provides links to clubs, municipal parks and recreation programs [source: World Kayak Federation].
For more experienced kayakers, the WKF serves as a link to events, festivals and other kayakers in your area. You also can work with the organization to plan and host an event in your area. When you join, you can start a blog documenting your kayaking experiences and adventures, which can help connect you to other kayakers with shared experiences and interests.
To get even more involved, you can become a WKF ambassador in your region. The WKF looks for leaders in local paddling communities to help bring its events to new areas. You would serve as a liaison between your local community and the worldwide kayaking community, helping to strengthen the connection between kayakers everywhere [source: World Kayak Federation].
Now that you know how you can become involved, read on to the next page to learn more about what the WKF can do for you.
Benefits of the World Kayak Federation
Often, one of the best parts of being involved in a sport -- even one that is often done solo -- can be the community that you become a part of. This is a great way to stay motivated, continue to learn more about your chosen sport, and find new ways to hone your skills. Finding this community can be a bit more difficult with a less common sport such as kayaking. This is where the World Kayak Federation can be beneficial to your involvement in the sport.
The WKF's main focus is bringing more attention to this sport and inspiring new athletes. It believes that the more competition there is within the sport, the more chance there will be for growth and additional opportunities within the kayaking community. The organization also aims to serve as the gateway for new athletes into the sport [source: McBeath]. With this initiative, the WKF offers both a chance to become involved with the sport for the first time and ways to become more involved if you're already a kayaker.
The WKF offers many forms of education, from coaching the basics to revealing new types of kayaking to try -- including freestyle, slalom, creeking and river running. While the WKF is committed to educating athletes of all ages, a new focus on early education may help to expose younger athletes to kayaking. But raising awareness and interest in the sport can potentially create new opportunities for all athletes in the community.
If you are an experienced paddler, the elite communities of the WKF are for you. They link you to other elite kayaking enthusiasts for more information on events and opportunities in your area. The blogs on the WKF Web site also provide links and opportunities for communication between die-hard kayakers [source: McBeath].
This growing community can provide countless ways to become involved and enrich your kayaking experience. For more information on kayaking, visit the links on the next page.
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- CBBS Newsround. "What is kayaking?" 2009. (Accessed 1/3/10)http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_4450000/newsid_4450500/4450556.stm
- Columbia Encyclopedia. "Kayak." Sixth Edition, 2008. (Accessed 1/4/10)http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/kayak.aspx
- McBeath, James. "From the WK Brain: The 50,000 foot view of a sport." December 3, 2009. (Accessed 1/4/10)http://worldkayakblogs.com/jamesmcbeath/2009/12/03/from-the-wk-brain-the-50000-foot-view-of-a-sport/
- Special Olympics. "Sports Offered." 2009. (Accessed 1/4/10)http://info.specialolympics.org/Special+Olympics+Public+Website/English/Compete/Sports_Offered/Kayaking.htm
- World Kayak Federation. "About World Kayak -- A little history." 2009. (Accessed 1/3/10)http://worldkayak.com/wk_about.cfm
- World Kayak Federation. "World Kayak Ambassador Development Program." 2009. (Accessed 1/3/10)http://www.worldkayak.com/program_ambassadors/
- World Kayak Federation. "World Kayak Education Program." 2009. (Accessed 1/4/10)http://www.worldkayak.com/program_education/