Squirt boating was first developed in the U.S. It is a distinctive type of whitewater kayaking which uses specially crafted kayaks, also known as squirt boats, that allow you to perform different tricks and drills which you cannot do when in a normal kayak.
In other words, squirt boats can be called small kayaks which are customized for each individual kayaker to fit in easily. Since squirt boats are so small, they enable kayakers to do different exciting maneuvers while kayaking. Squirt boaters can perform tricks like cartwheels and can shoot through midair.
Squirt boating is always done in whitewater. Whitewater, which is sometimes also called Wildwater, is basically river water that rushes fast around rocks and downfalls. The water looks white when it quickly splashes against the rocks.
Squirt boating is not like any other paddle-sport that you have ever experienced in your life. It is completely unique from all. For first timers, squirt boating is best done in a calm and peaceful water environment.
Typically, squirt boats are 8-11 feet in length. They are usually made of carbon or fiberglass. Similar to customized hot rods and bass-fishing boats, squirt boat graphics almost always use colored sparkles known as metal flakes. Particularly, squirt boats are much thinner and flat than normal kayaks. They are about 4 to 6 inches from deck to hull, right behind the cockpit. The decreased volume and flatness of a squirt boat allows the paddler to stoop beneath the surface of the water, with about 80% of the boat under the water line, in order to perform many vertical tricks and drills, and also to immerse 100% of the boat underwater to travel a small distance. This trick is called ‘The Mystery Move’ and is considered by most squirt boaters and kayakers as the ‘holy grail’ of squirting technique. This trick sets squirt boating apart from everything else. Going below the water’s surface is also known as ‘Downtime.
A major difference between squirt boats and kayaks is that squirt boaters make the use of hand paddles rather than traditional kayak paddles, which have two blades at both ends of a shaft. Since hand paddles employ a different set of muscles, they don’t give a strong stroke like a traditional paddle might give. But they do add maneuverability beneath the water surface. There are some traditional kayakers who use the hand paddles as backup paddles in case if they lose their paddle underwater.