What is Water Based Sport? Kayaking & Canoeing, Sailing

  • Post last modified:7 January 2023
  • Reading time:24 mins read
  • Post category:Tourism in India

What is Water Based Sport?

Water-based sports are recreational activities that take place in or on the water. These sports can be divided into two categories: water sports, which are typically more physically demanding and involve the use of specialized equipment (such as surfing, wakeboarding, and water skiing), and water games, which are usually more relaxed and can be enjoyed by people of all ages (such as swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding). Water-based sports offer a fun and refreshing way to stay active and enjoy the outdoors, and many can be enjoyed by people of all skill levels.

Today we can find water skiing done on sea beaches with the help of big kite that moves with the help of wind energy but this is possible on beaches where there is ample wind that could make the skier ski. This particular sport is considered more dangerous and adventurous as the wind energy could not be controlled as required and lifting and carrying of the skier to unwanted places is common.

Popular sites for water skiing in India:

  1. Water Skiing in Asan Barrage,
  2. Water Skiing in Dal & Nagin Lake,
  3. Water Skiing in Manasbal Lake,
  4. Water Skiing in Goa, &
  5. Water Skiing in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Kayaking & Canoeing

Kayaks and canoes are small synthetic material boat that is pointed at both ends. Most canoes are open-topped boat whereas kayaks are completely enclosed except for an opening for each participant. Originally, kayaks were made of seal skins stretched over a wood and bone frame. The Inuit used them for hunting and fishing.

Early recreational kayaks were made of cloth over wooden frames. Some models of folding kayaks still use fabric on a frame, but most modern kayaks are made of rigid plastics such as polyethylene, fibreglass, or Kevlar. Kayak designs vary according to usage and construction. A flat-water racer differs from a white-water racer. Recreational kayaks are multi-purpose craft suitable for a variety of water conditions. Touring kayaks are larger and have storage capacity for camping gear.

They are also known as sea kayaks, due to their use around ocean shorelines. They are long, up to 20 feet, to aid in tracking, and often have a rudder or skeg. Special play boats or squirt boats are used in heavy white water. They are short, down to 6 feet, for easy turning. Some play boat designs are adapted for surfing. Sit-on-tops do away with the traditional cockpit and deck in favour of a recessed well that is self-bailing. The paddler also sits on the floor of portable inflatable kayaks.

Uttarakhand with number of river systems that has numerous difficulty levels for the kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts offers a unique opportunity. The Ganga river system is the hot favourite for domestic as well as international adventure enthusiasts offering rapids up the IV and V grades. Apart from this the tributaries of the Ganga systems like Bhagirathi, Mandakini, Pinder, Alaknanda comprises tremendous surprises for the one who needs the best and something different.

Other river systems among the hot favourite is the Kali river bordering India and Nepal offers tremendous stretch for rafting and Kayaking.

Safety Standard In Kayaking & Canoeing

Qualified supervision

All kayaking activities must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of the youth and who is experienced with the type of kayaks and activity under consideration. One adult supervisor is required for every 10 participants, with a minimum of two for any one group.

Physical fitness

Evidence of fitness for swimming activity is required in the form of a complete health history from a physician, parent, or guardian. The supervisor must know the physical condition of all participants and must adjust activities to avoid any potential risks associated with individual health concerns.

Swimming ability

Every participant must be classified as a “swimmer” to participate in training for Kayaking.

Personal flotation equipment

Properly fitted approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) must be worn by all persons engaged in kayaking.

Buddy system

Every person must have a buddy, and every craft on the water must have a “buddy boat.”

Skill proficiency

All persons participating in activity afloat must be trained and practiced in craft-handling skills, safety, and emergency procedures.


Before going afloat, develop a float plan detailing their route, time schedule, and contingency plans. The float plan considers all possible water and weather conditions and all applicable rules or regulations, and is shared with all who have an interest.


All equipment must be suited to the craft, to the water conditions, and to the individual. Equipment must be in good repair and meet all applicable standards. Appropriate rescue equipment must be available. White-water kayaking requires the use of safety helmets. During treks, safety gear such as navigation aids, weather radios, individual signal devices, throw bags, first aid kits, spare paddles, and spare clothing should be carried in the kayaks or in support craft.


Kayakers must know and respect the rules, and always follow directions from the adults supervising the activity afloat. Rules and safety procedures should be reviewed before each group launch.

Types of Kayaks and Canoes

Recreational Kayak

The most ubiquitous and often the first choice for beginners, recreational, or “rec,” boats are normally 10 to 15 feet long and 24 to 30 inches wide with flat bottoms. They often have very large cockpits, and sit-on- top models have no cockpit at all (but not all sit-on-tops are recreational kayaks). The most affordable of kayaks, they are meant for calm-water trips ranging from a few minutes to a few days. Sit-on-tops are especially suitable for beginners as there is no need to learn the Eskimo roll; if you tip over, simply climb back on.

Touring Kayak

As kayaks get longer (14-20 feet) and narrower (20-25 inches), they get faster. The line between touring and recreation types blurs: Some are classified as “hybrids” or “light touring” and are appropriate for shorter trips on inland waterways. Sea kayaks are on the longer, narrower end of the touring spectrum, with many features that allow for safe travel in open water, including bulkheads for flotation and cockpits that accommodate spray skirts.

White-water kayak

Today’s most common white-water kayaks are 6 to 9 feet long, 23 to 26 inches wide, and highly rockered, with flat bottoms and flat sides. As with sea kayaks, a spray skirt keeps water out of the cockpit. White-water kayaks are also one type used for surfing.

Other specialized kayaks

Other specialized kayaks are made for surfing, racing and for folding up into a backpack that is also known as inflatable kayaks.

General recreation canoes

Multi-purpose and usually tandem, they range from 15 to 18 feet in length and, in skilled hands, can turn and go straight reasonably well.

Tripping or touring canoes

Solo trippers can be from 13 to 17 feet long, while tandems top out at about 20 feet. Tripping canoes have less rocker and are built for travel, usually on calm water, but some also handle moving rivers and big lakes if the canoeists are well-practiced.

Other specialized canoes

Include white-water canoes, which are short, deep and highly rockered; solo sport canoes, which are used for non-destination, quiet water “play”; and different kinds of racing canoes.

What is Sailing?

Sailing is a water based adventure sport in which propulsion of a vessel is achieved by the driving force of the wind through the use of sails. Anyone who wants to test his/her strength and agility against wind and water together is drawn to sailing. A number of factors make a steady progress in sailing efficiency.

Every beginner especially should be well aware of basic sailing techniques and see that they have got them all right. Sailing techniques will have a direct affect on sailing performance. One can get a good grasp of these techniques of sailing at sailing schools all across the world.

Technique of Sailing


An important technique of sailing is keeping the boat in “trim”. The wheel or tiller is used for steering of the boat to the desired course. One should note the different points of sail. Balance of the boat is important and is adjusted by seating the crew forward or rear of the boat, more so if the boat is small.

Adjusting the weight ‘windward’ or ‘leeward’ to avoid unnecessary heeling is another of the important sailing techniques, as the boat will move at a faster speed if it is flat to the water. The sail should be pulled in until it fills with wind. Together, these little points constitute the central techniques of sailing.

Reducing Sail

An important technique of sailing from the safety point of view is to regulate the amount of sail according to the wind conditions. The crew should increasingly trim down the amount of sail with the rising speed of the wind. To reduce the area of a sail without really changing it for a smaller sail is known as reefing. The main purpose is to lower center of effort from the sails and also reduce the heeling moment to keep the boat more upright.

Hull Trim

Hull trim, another of the basic sailing techniques, is to adjust a boat’s loading so as to modify its fore-and-aft attitude in the water. In small boats, as mentioned before, it is done by controlling the location of the crew. In larger boats, however, it can be adjusted by shifting gear, fuel, water, or supplies. Keeping the weight too far forward in small boats can cause the bow to get too low into the waves and the boat may capsize.


A ship or boat is sail to heel of it leans too much over to one side due to wind pressure, or from the action of waves or even from the centrifugal force of a turn. Heeling over beyond a certain angle can lead to less efficient sailing. When a vessel heels the buoyancy part of the hull acts to balance the heeling force. The weighted keel offers an additional force to right the boat. The shape of the underwater hull relative to the sails may make the boat turn upwind when it heels extremely.

It allows the boat to right itself which can decrease the force on the sails. Incase there is too much heeling in a sailing vessel; the real solution is to decrease the sail area, by removing or reefing sails. Raising the centerboard can also reduce heeling. If a boat heels beyond a certain point of stability, it can capsize. Keep in mind these important sailing techniques.

Types of Sails

The Mainsail

A traditional modern sailing boat is technically called a “Bermuda sloop” which is any boat that has a solitary mast and generally a single main sail. The function of these types of sails is to power the entire boat to move and these are actually the work horse of the entire boat. These kinds of sails need to be properly trimmed and optimized to get the most out of them.

Depending on the direction of the boat and the wind, the main sail will have to be trimmed constantly, in order to keep the boat going at optimum efficiency and maximum speed. The main sail is roughly triangular in shape. Other types of sloops are gaff-rigged sloops and lateen sloops.

The Genoa/Gib

If a sailing vessel has two masts it may be a schooner, a ketch, or a yaw. The Genoa are secondary type of sails which provide the extra turning power and speed. On close reaches, these sail types speed up the boat considerably as it is like the mainsail, but not on a boom. The shape of the entire sail is curved, thus making it more aerodynamic than the main sail, which allows faster speed.

The Genoa too must also be constantly trimmed for optimum results. According to the kinds of sails, a schooner may have any number of masts. In both a ketch and a yawl, the foremost mast is tallest and the main mast, while the rear mast is shorter, and called the mizzen mast.

The Spinnaker/Gennaker

The Spinnakers are large bag-shaped types of sails that are attached to the boat by a pole on the boom. These kinds of sails are much larger sails and work on a run, broad reach and beam reach. These sails pull the boat along when the wind pushes it.

Best Place for Water Based Sport in India

There are many great places in India to participate in water-based sports, but here are a few destinations that are particularly popular:

  1. Goa: Goa is known for its beautiful beaches and consistent surf, making it a top destination for water sports such as swimming, surfing, and kayaking.

  2. Kovalam: Located in the state of Kerala, Kovalam is known for its crystal-clear waters and beautiful beaches, making it a great place for swimming, surfing, and other water sports.

  3. Rishikesh: Located in the northern state of Uttarakhand, Rishikesh is known for its white-water rafting and kayaking opportunities. The area is also home to a number of yoga and meditation retreats, making it a popular destination for wellness enthusiasts.

  4. Andaman and Nicobar Islands: Located in the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are home to a number of water sports, including snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking.

  5. Gokarna: Located in the state of Karnataka, Gokarna is known for its beautiful beaches and consistent surf, making it a popular destination for water sports such as surfing and swimming.


What are the benefits of participating in water-based sports?

Water-based sports can provide a variety of physical and mental benefits. They can improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and endurance, and coordination. They can also be a fun and enjoyable way to relax and de-stress.

How can I stay safe while participating in a water-based sport?

There are a few important steps you can take to stay safe while participating in a water-based sport:

1. Learn how to swim and be confident in the water.
2. Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) if necessary.
3. Follow safety guidelines and rules for the specific activity.
4. Be aware of your surroundings, including the weather and water conditions.
5. Have a plan in case of an emergency, and make sure someone knows where you are and when you will be back.

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