September 12, 2022

How to Start Kayaking - Tips and Tricks to Know

 

You've taken up kayaking. You may have seen all the fun and good exercise that comes with kayaking, or it may have been right after your doctor ordered it. Either way, kayaking is an incredible sporting activity that you could get into today. 

 

Since this is a brand new area you want to venture into, you would surely like to know a few things about kayaking before you get serious about it. Here's how to get started with kayaking.

 

WHAT IS A KAYAK

 In a way, a kayak is like a canoe. You can paddle it on the water. However, unlike what we see on our canoes, here you sit down when you use a double-bladed paddle to move forward or turn the kayak. Your legs often stretch out in front of you. It was originally intended for hunting but is now used for recreational and racing purposes.

 

WILL I NEED TO BUY MY KAYAK?

At this point, you really don't need to buy, but rent one. You can actually do this once you have the skills and want to take things a little higher. Ideally, it would make sense to start with kayaking lessons. These few learning sessions will equip you with everything you need to know before you invest your money in your own kayak.

 

WHERE CAN I RENT MY FIRST KAYAK?

This sport is becoming more and more popular. The service providers have noticed this. You can actually rent a kayak around the most popular kayak sites or even on the lakefront. You can rent one and the rates normally depend on the size of the kayak, the type of trip you want to take and the additional services that will be provided once you rent a kayak.

 

DO I NEED ANY EXPERIENCE BEFORE MY FIRST TRIP?

No, you don't need any experience to get started. Like any other sporting activity, you will learn proper kayaking techniques along the way. However, it is very important that you know how to swim; say at least 25 meters. At the beginning, it is obvious that you may find yourself in the water several times and that your swimming skills will be very useful.

 

WHAT BASIC SKILLS DO I NEED FOR MY FIRST TRIP?

For beginners, there are a few things you need to know before you go kayaking. In this case, we're talking about how to operate your kayak without any problems.

 

When you're onshore

If you're onshore and want to get in or out of your kayak; with one hand, you need to keep the pedal firmly in the center. Place the pedal on a kayak a few feet in front of the seat; this is the exact spot where your knees would be if you were sitting. Place your other hand on the back of the seat.

 

At this point, your body should be positioned perpendicular to your kayak. Starting with the foot closest to the kayak, step in. You should do this at a perfect angle, one that will allow you to sit down almost immediately without having to adjust your feet as this can cause your kayak to tip over. Also, you can use your pedal as a stabilizer for the kayak when you get in. You should also put some weight on both the paddle and the seat.

 

When you're at the dock

If you are at the dock, you must first choose the right place to dock. Here, you need to find a spot where your kayak is very close to the dock, as this will help reduce the distance you have to get off. Hold the dock with one hand, then sit down with the help of the other hand.

 

How do I hold the paddle correctly?

Typically, kayak paddles have a brand logo on one side. So when you are in your seat, you need to make sure you can read the logo. 

 

How do I make a paddle stroke?

This first stroke is important, and you may want to make sure you do it perfectly. First, you need to rotate your torso to the right while moving forward on the left side of the paddle. Here, an extension of about 50% will get you that perfect stroke. Take the paddle and dip it into the water and make sure it is no higher than half the height of the blade.

 

Second, pull back with a little firmness and rotate your torso to the other side. As the left paddle exits, it should be at hip level. Directly, your pedal should enter the water on the opposite side when you repeat the steps.

 

How do I turn around in a kayak?

There are three ways you can do this, but to start, we'll mention one that is fairly easy to use. First, you can use your paddle as a rudder. When the kayak is in motion, take the blade and dip it into the water on the side you want to turn to. Slide it through the water until your kayak starts to turn to the side you want.

 

HOW FIT DO I HAVE TO BE?

Kayaking, in essence, is like any other sporting activity. It involves a sense of exercise. However, that doesn't mean you can't kayak; you can do it whether you're in shape or not. 

 

However, you may also want to keep this in mind. There is a maximum weight limit. Excess weight can cause the kayak to capsize and this can be very dangerous. While being fit is not a primary requirement, if you want to go for those long kayaking sessions and lose the sweat and enjoy them to the fullest, you need to be in better shape.

 

WHERE SHOULD I TAKE MY FIRST TRIP?

When you first start, you need to slow things down a bit. For beginners, it would be a good idea to take your first trip in lakes and rivers. In the beginning, even a very gentle current can hurt you. 

 

So when you are new to kayaking, you may want to start with a group trip. Here, you will get the necessary equipment. Also for the first few trips, you may want to avoid technical kayaking areas, such as waterfalls and rocky rivers. You do not need the skills to maneuver in such areas.

 

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

Kayaking, much like hiking, has clothing specifically designed for it. Ideally, before you go kayaking, you may need to be well prepared for the elements. For example, if it's summer, you can do very well with light clothing. However, you shouldn't have any problems with those wet clothes.

 

For winter, you would do well with a wetsuit, but you may want to layer it with a waterproof jacket.

 

Also, it's a good idea to wear a flotation vest for your safety in case you find yourself in the water.

 

Can I go kayaking if the weather is bad?

Contrary to popular belief, kayaking is an all-weather activity. While it's great fun and enjoyable when it's a little warm, especially in the summer, you can still have an action-packed outing when it's cold or even raining.

 

However, you may have to watch out for some dangerous conditions such as high winds, high river levels or even heavy rains. They can make your ride incredibly dangerous and you may end up at the bottom of the sea.

 

Will I capsize a lot?

This rarely happens. However, if you act inappropriately and your weight is distributed unevenly on your kayak, you will capsize. Nevertheless, this should not worry you much. Kayaks are incredibly stable and easy to handle. So these capsizing problems are an event.

 

Will I get wet?

Definitely yes; no matter how careful you are, you will get wet. When you launch your kayak into the water, your feet will get wet. In other cases, the people splashing around you will love the splash.

 

Can I kayak with the kids?

Of course you can; it's safe to kayak with children. In this case, we're talking about children 4 years and older. You need people who can easily understand and follow the instructions given. However, you can use a kayak that you can easily monitor closely. So, if you want to have an unforgettable weekend with your family, a kayak for kids is what you need as a family.

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