Traditional-style and some modern types of kayaks (e.g. sit-on-top) require that paddler be seated with their legs stretched in front of them, in a right angle, in a position called the "L" kayaking position. Other kayaks offer a different sitting position, in which the paddler's legs are not stretched out in front of them, and the thigh brace bears more on the inside than the top of the thighs (see diagram).
Newcomers will often want a craft with high primary stability (see above). The southern method is a wider kayak. The northern method is a removable pair of outriggers, lashed across the stern deck. Such an outrigger pair is often homemade of a small plank and found floats such as empty bottles or plastic ducks. Outriggers are also made commercially, especially for fishing kayaks and sailing. If the floats are set so that they are both in the water, they give primary stability, but produce more drag. If they are set so that they are both out of the water when the kayak is balanced, they give secondary stability.
Sealed-hull (unsinkable) craft were developed for leisure use, as derivatives of surfboards (e.g. paddle or wave skis), or for surf conditions. Variants include planing surf craft, touring kayaks, and sea marathon kayaks. Increasingly, manufacturers build leisure 'sit-on-top' variants of extreme sports craft, typically using polyethylene to ensure strength and affordability, often with a skeg for directional stability. Water that enters the cockpit drains out through scupper holes—tubes that run from the cockpit to the bottom of the hull.
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By the mid-1800s the kayak became increasingly popular and the Europeans became interested. German and French men began kayaking for sport. In 1931, Adolf Anderle was the first person to kayak down the Salzachöfen Gorge, which is believed to be the birthplace of modern-day white-water kayaking. Kayak races were introduced in the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936.