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The problem with a canoe is that it’s got a big hole on top that lets in the water, which limits the occupant’s ability to do really crazy things. No such problem exists with the kayak. Sleeker and more maneuverable than its larger cousin the canoe, kayaks can be used in just about any body of water.

Kayaking is usually divided into two main categories: sea kayaking and whitewater kayaking on rivers. However, kayakers can be a pretty intense lot, and have developed all sorts of variations on these basic themes including everything from kayak fishing to freestyle kayaking to plunging down waterfalls in what’s known as a “huck.”

Where to go depends on the type of kayaking you’re interested in and the target level of adrenaline in the bloodstream. Hawaii is a paddler’s paradise and offers some easy kayaking for beginners. Vancouver and Alaska also offer excellent kayaking. Visitors to Costa Rica can paddle through the rain forest, and real thrill seekers could dare the rivers of the Alps or Africa’s Zambezi.


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