If you are planning to explore the western North Carolina coast, you should consider using a kayak. These recreational watercraft are available in various sizes and are designed for different purposes. Read this article to know more about Bellyaks, Paddle kayaks, Riverboards, and SUPs. There are many different types of kayaks on the market, so you can easily choose one to suit your needs. Listed below are some of the main differences between these types of kayaks.
Bellyaks are unique lay-on-top kayaks, and they offer a variety of benefits for paddlers. Bellyaks are versatile and comfortable for beginners, but more experienced riders can kneel, stand, and squirt like they would in traditional kayaks. After paddling, they can easily hop back on. Bellyaks are popular for summer camps and adaptive athletes. If you’re not sure whether bellyyaks are for you, check out this quick video.
Designed with a planing hull, Bellyaks cut through water like a kayak but hold you high above the water for a responsive ride. They are 8 feet long and 24 inches wide, making them easy to transport to your favorite lake, river, or beach. You can use your bellyyak as a kayak or paddleboard and enjoy the same thrills. But which is better? A Bellyak can also be used as a stand-up paddleboard.
A Bellyak is a great way to get on the water in an instant, with low risk and high reward. They are longer than a standard SUP and sturdier than a surfboard. Their shape is similar to that of a belly, so you can roll off with ease. If you don’t want to go for a full-on stand-up experience, a Bellyak can be rented in Asheville, North Carolina, or even bought for your home.
You can learn to paddle a kayak, or even a tandem one, in Bilrmore. Many people use these types of watercraft to explore the local landscape. The estate offers guided raft trips for those looking for a relaxing trip down the river. However, if you’d prefer a hands-on experience, you can also opt to paddle a kayak yourself. The riparian wildlife along the Biltmore River includes heron, river otters, turtles, and deer. Visitors can spot these animals and many more.
The French Broad River flows peacefully through Biltmore Estate, providing a scenic backdrop to your trip. You can rent a paddle kayak from Bilrmore Outdoor Center and take it on a three to four-mile float. You can also book a guided raft trip if you’re a first-time paddler. Another option is Bent Creek River Access near the North Carolina Arboretum. Bent Creek River Access is also a great spot to paddle kayaks.
While traditional kayaking offers a fast and easy way to get on the water, a bellyak is a fun alternative. Unlike a traditional kayak, the Bellyak is designed for sitting on the belly, which offers a much more comfortable riding position. Bellyaks are also versatile, offering a variety of options for riders of all levels. Beginners can sit or kneel, while experienced riders can stand up or squirt like in a traditional kayak. And when you are done paddling, simply hop back on board and continue on your way.
The French Broad River offers several tours down the river in Asheville, NC. Paddleboards are available for rent, and the outfitters have ACA Level I SUP Instructors who can teach you the basics. The Biltmore tour features a scenic float down the river while you admire the Biltmore Estate from above. The River Arts District tour highlights the French Broad River. There are also multiple rentals of canoes and tubes.
Riverboards are similar to surfboards but lack the skeg. A skeg is a stabilizing fin found on the bottom of a surfboard. The design of a riverboard allows the paddler to lie flat on the board and use flippers to maneuver the water. The riverboard was invented in the late 1980s. Riverboards are perfect for rescue missions in rivers.
Stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) are a relatively new sport and are becoming more popular each day. Unlike traditional kayaks, which are designed for two people to sit in, SUPs are designed for solo paddling and do not feature a designated seating or standing area. That means that they are suitable for just about everyone. And because they are so versatile, they can be used for just about any activity imaginable.
While kayaks are typically made from polyethylene, SUPs can come in a variety of constructions. All types are designed to be sturdy enough to handle whatever comes their way. Inflatable SUPs, for example, are often thought of as fragile, but they are actually made from military-grade PVC. Meanwhile, hard SUPs are usually made from fiberglass or epoxy and are much faster than inflatables.
A few advantages of the SUP over a kayak include greater mobility and ease of use. A SUP can be hopped onto without a lot of fuss, while a kayak is more difficult to get back on. A SUP can be launched and unpacked in a fraction of the time and requires far less effort. But it takes some practice to get used to it. If you’re not sure, sign up for a beginner’s SUP course, which will teach you all the basics.
While kayaking works the arms and core, the SUP uses the entire body. The arm muscles in the legs and arms are primarily worked, while the core is neglected. The upper body can still get a great workout while paddling, but the arms can get sore after a few sessions. The advantages of SUP paddling are numerous, including an overall workout. And it’s also a portable option that’s great for traveling.
French Broad River
If you’ve ever wanted to paddle a river as pristine and beautiful as the French Broad, kayaking on this section of the American River is a fantastic way to do so. The French Broad is a slow-moving, shallow river that’s perfect for beginners and families alike. The French Broad has many launch sites throughout the Asheville area, so you can take your kayaks to whichever of the several access points you prefer. Tubing on the French Broad is another popular activity that requires no special skill, so it’s perfect for families with kids or anyone else looking for a fun activity.
While you’re on your French Broad River kayaking trip, you should consider the number of wildlife you’ll see. The French Broad River is a haven for migratory birds, and you’re sure to see some interesting creatures. Luckily, the French Broad is flat and wide enough to accommodate kayaks, and French Broad Outfitters and Asheville Outdoor Center also offer shuttles to take you to the riverside.
While French Broad Creek is the classic class IV creek in the area, you can also choose to paddle in a class V raft. French Broad features larger rapids and more bedrock slides than the North Fork. Both creeks wind through pastoral lands for miles before finally reaching the woodfin dam. Below the dam, the French Broad becomes even more intense. Just be prepared to get wet! You’ll want to make sure you take a waterproof bag and bring it with you!
For those who plan to camp on the French Broad, there are several options for overnight accommodations. The USFS offers three fee campgrounds near the French Broad: Lake Powhatan, North Mills River, and Davidson River. All of these campsites are open year-round, but they require reservations four days ahead. Most campgrounds require a two-night minimum stay, so make sure to plan ahead. These campgrounds will cost you between $14-$18 for a tent site.