Essential Kayaking Tips for Beginners
Are you looking for a fun way of interacting with nature? Well, kayaking is one of those exciting ways you can exercise, breathe fresh air and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings without any interruption. Just like cycling, kayaking is very easy to master with just a few hours of complex maneuvers, strokes and balance between you and the paddle.
While it might sound like a straightforward process, kayaking requires you to have some degree of skills, agility, and strength, which you can only get by practicing.
So, to give you some steer in the right direction, this post has compiled some essential tips that will make your next kayaking expedition to be successful if not fruitful.
Take a Lesson
Before you get on your kayak to start your expedition, the first step you should avoid to bypass is taking a kayaking lesson. Just like other sports, kayaking has its own unique water language, rules, and signs that you should be aware of to avoid any uncertainties.
During your lessons, you’ll learn about the different paddling strokes and other skills for easy maneuverability on the water. By doing this, you will not waste a lot of your time paddling in circles.You’ll also learn about rapid safety practices such as how to rescue yourself and others in case you’re suddenly put in a life and death situation.
Dress up for the Occasion
Once you’ve taken the right kayaking course, the next step is to dress up for the occasion. Here, most beginners are deceived by the air temperatures especially if they’re kayaking during summer. This is one huge mistake you should avoid as air temperatures cannot be compared with the cold temperatures in the water.
In this case, you need to consider choosing a waterproof wet suit and gloves to keep you warm in the water rather than summer pants.Before you get on board a kayak, always remember to observe all the necessary safety measures to avoid any uncertainties that might happen out there.
Choose the Right Boat
Kayaks come in all sorts of styles ranging from long racing kayaks to tiny freestyle play boats. Once you select your favorite recreational kayak, the next step is to choose the type of water you’ll be paddling on.
Among the types of waters you’ll be rowing on include flat water, sea, and whitewater. Remember, using the wrong kayak on any of the above waters is quite dangerous and can lead to accidents especially when you’re a beginner. Here are some waters and their respective kayaks.
- River/lake: Here, a flat-water boat is the best to consider.
- Whitewater: The best kayaks here are the whitewater kayaks as they’re designed with safety features that allow them to sail on fast-moving rivers.
- Flat-water: Here, flat-water kayaks are the best as they’re designed to sail in slow-moving water. Avoid using such kayaks in sea or fast-moving rivers as they lack the right features to withstand such challenging environments.
- Sea: Sea kayaks are the best to use in such environments. They have greater buoyancy that allows you to overturn them easily in case they capsize.
Get a Good Paddle
As a beginner, the right paddle will always guarantee you both comfort and safety especially when you’re paddling a good kayak for fishing. Here, price should not be the main concern but rather how the paddle feels. Therefore, you should invest in a lightweight, less tiring paddle that will not tire you when paddling.
Wear a Buoyancy Aid
It’s now time to get to the water. But, just before you start your first kayaking experience, ensure that you’re wearing a life jacket or a buoyancy aid. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert swimmer, any of these two lifesaving gears are mandatory, as you’re never certain what might happen out there.
Maintain the Right Posture
With a kayak, it’s all about maintaining the right sitting posture as everything will be accomplished when you’re seated. Here, you need to ensure that your lower back is at an angle of 90° with your bottom. Your legs should bend upwards and outwards with your toes pointed outwards. At least with such a sitting posture, you’ll maintain the stability that will allow you to paddle your kayak in any stroke.
Master the Various Paddle Strokes
Although you had learned about it during your kayaking lessons, holding the paddle in the right manner is helpful as it allows you to paddle in any stroke whether it’s the forward, backward, or sweep stroke. Always hold the paddle just above your shoulders with both hands and ensure the concave side of the paddle is facing towards you.
Always Invite a Friend Over
As a beginner, it’s always easy to become nervous and make fatal mistakes while in the water. This can be very dangerous especially if you’re out in the wilderness all by yourself. Even if you’re catching up really fast and you feel like a professional already, having a friend beside you will make you feel more comfortable. After all, two heads are better than one.
Always Have Some Spare Clothes
Finally, yet importantly, you need to have a pair of spare clothes with you in case the current set gets wet. Also, it’s recommended that you stretch out a little bit after kayaking to avoid any aches and cramps. Remember, kayaking involves sitting in the same position for an hour or two.
Double-check all your gears to ensure you’ve not lost anything. Also, examine your stuff for any wear and tear. Finally, dry up your staff before packing them when it’s time to leave the shore.
Just as we mentioned earlier, kayaking is a great way of exploring the great outdoors to see what nature has to offer. Thankfully, with these nine tips at your disposal, enjoying a kayaking adventure is not only easy but it also allows you to master your new skill with enthusiasm.