How to kayak for beginners: the ultimate guide
Kayaking For Beginners
Kayaking is a type of outdoor physical activity that is performed in the water. It involves paddling of a small boat called a kayak using a double-bladed oar.
Most kayak lovers have made it their weekly routine because its a low impact sport with several benefits. They combine kayaking with other exercises to boost their health as well as bond with friends and family.
Thus, kayaking is an excellent way to relax as you spend your sunny afternoon. Plunging down a waterfall or fishing will help you to lead a healthier and happier life.
Kayaking is a sporting activity accessible to everyone and easy to learn. Others use kayaking for fishing from their vessels. Therefore, whatever is your reason for kayaking, all kayakers have one goal in mind; leading a healthy lifestyle by exploring the waters.
Still, kayaking is risky for it’s done in the water body like lakes, rivers, oceans where there are huge waves and tides as well as animals like whales. It’s also paired with activities such as fishing and camping. Kayaking and canoeing are today part of the Olympic Games; thus, it's an excellent activity to engage in.
On the other hand, paddling a kayak has epic challenges; still, it's friendly for beginners. Therefore, this article is an excellent guide for you.
Estimated reading time: 14 min
Table of Contents
Kayaks were first introduced by the Aleut and Inuit tribes in Arctic North America. These boats were made from light driftwood or animal skins that were stretched over the whalebone.
These tribes used fat from whale to make the vessels waterproof, seal bladders full of air were tucked in the behind and front sections to improve buoyancy.
A kayak was a small boat that carried a single rider or a larger one for the entire family and goods. Thus, kayak means a hunter's boat since they used them for hunting purposes due to their stealth nature. For that reason, a hunter could sneak up on an animal in the water or shoreline.
The use of the soft-sided frame boat extended to Europe in the 1800s when the French and Germans began the kayaking sporting the icy waters.
In 1936, Kayak races were part of the Berlin games, and today there are 10 white-water kayak events in the Olympic Events.
Differences between Kayaking and Canoeing
Most people can’t differentiate a canoe from a kayak. For that reason, they use the words kayaking and canoeing interchangeably. It’s important to understand their differences to avoid purchasing the wrong boat or their equipment. The following are the main differences between a canoe and a kayak boat.
The Structure of the Vessel
A kayak is an enclosed vessel with a space in the middle where you can stretch your feet when you sit. Thus, a kayak has a stern, pointed bow and open deck. On the other hand, a canoe is an open vessel that you either sit or kneel facing forward. The vessel is open, uncovered, and has a pointed bow.
A kayak has a long paddle with a blade on both ends. Thus, you can use both sides of the paddle to push your boat through the water. A canoe has a shorter paddle with one blade that you switch from side to side.
Kayak boats are more of sports cars and excellent for sightseeing, visiting waterfalls, going into the sea, or riding on white-water rapids. Canoes are sport-utility vehicles that are used for recreation and can be used by families to carry supplies during their leisurely paddles in a calm river or lake. Canoeing is ideal for paddling in slow-moving or calm water like canals and lakes.
You can’t participate in intense activities like white-water kayaking with a canoe because of its open-top design. However, there are canoes designed for white-water rapids. On the other hand, you must put on a helmet and nose plugs when kayaking in rapid waters.
Weight of the Boat
Kayak boats are heavier, while canoes are lighter. The difference in weight is caused by the fact that a canoe floats on the edge of the water while a kayak is wider and heavier; thus, it slightly sinks in water.
The Speed of the Boat
Although canoes are lighter, kayaks tend to be faster and more agile due to their light hull and tapered structure. On the other hand, canoes have greater stability and roominess.
Kayaks and canoes are lightweight boats used on lakes and rivers. They are designed for fishing and to move in waterways. Both water vessels are powered by their riders using paddles.
Equipment Needed for Kayaking
As stated, kayaking is a straightforward activity, but you need some essential items just like any other sports. On the other hand, the demand for gears increases as the kayaking activities intensify. Some of the vital items you need are;
Kayak: is a boat that you sit on or in. There are different types of kayak.
Paddle: is a vital tool that pushes the water back as the boat moves forward.
Life Jacket: will keep you afloat in case of the boat rolls during the kayaking excursion.
Helmet: protects your head since you’re are in open water.
Safety Goggles: protects your eyes from splashes, especially when paddling in challenging waterways.
Water Resistant Pants and Shirt: these attires will protect your body from getting wet due to paddles splash and small waves.
Durable Footwear: you need shoes that will keep your feet dry, with a firm and stable grip to help you when you enter and exit the boat.
Waterproof Bag: such a bag will keep your valuable items dry as you navigate through the water.
Launching a Kayaking
You need to understand how to get a smooth entry into the water before you begin your kayaking adventure. The following are ways of launching your boat.
1. Put your kayak on the edge of the water with just enough water to allow it to float and not drift away. This will help you to control the boat as you get in.
2. Keep your weight even as you enter the boat and use the paddle to keep yourself steady. You can put one foot first then slide your other leg in.
3. Now that you're inside the cockpit, and you can launch the boat. Put the paddle in front of you and dip it into water. You can catch the shore using one blade and push the boat into the open water.
4. Begin paddling to move your kayak forward.
Paddling kayak is easy and this article is an excellent guide to kayaking. That is why kayaking is a sport for everyone. However, you need to use a proper technique to avoid straining your body, as you submerge the paddle and push forward. Thus, you don’t need to get drained when learning kayaking but instead you should position your body properly.
Having a good posture will help you to use your body efficiently. Thus, you need to relax your shoulders, sit straight, open your chest for easy breathing, and avoid leaning against the backrest.
Adjust the footpegs to allow your knees to bend slightly, stretch freely, and press against the boat when you need more balance. More so, keep your feet together for better torso rotation and efficient paddling.
Forward Sweep Stroke
Forward paddling strokes help you to move the boat frontward from point A to B. Plant the paddle in the water past your feet and position it vertically. That means the paddle should be vertical and the top hand near your eye level.
Your grip on the paddle should be relatively relaxed. Unwind from your torso to start the forward stroke and pull the paddle along the side of the kayak boat. Always maintain the top hand at your eye level throughout the movement.
Keep the paddle vertical to create forward prolusion energy. Further, the paddle strikes should run parallel to the boat. Your body and feet should guide the vessel forward. Continue repeating the process until you reach your destination.
Reverse Sweep Stroke
One of the essential skills that you need to learn in Kayaking is how to turn the boat. Going straight in the water is easy, but you need to know how to come back from where you started.
You need to stick the paddle in the water and grip it tightly.
Take a sharper angle between the paddle and the cockpit to give you a wider turning angle, and the boat will turn easily.
Kayak will turn to the side you’re sticking the paddle. Thus, if you want to turn to the left, then hold the paddle to the left side of the boat.
Increase the strokes to move the boat forward faster once you have turned.
Types of Kayaking
Kayak boats have a closed deck to protect Kayaker legs from water and other elements. The boats have a narrow shape to help the rider glide through different waters efficiently. The following are are different types of kayaking.
Recreational Kayaking is the basic kayaking done in protected lakes and water bodies. The casual rider rent kayaks and equipment. The boat has a larger cockpit to allow easy entry and exit, which is more stable and slower in water. You don’t need any experience to paddle kayak because you paddle the boat slowly; however, you need comfort because your primary goal is to have fun on the water.
Sports Kayaking: kayaking can be done on flat stretches or white-water, standing waves or rapids. Extreme kayaking, freestyle kayaking, river racing, slalom racing, and Olympic kayaking are some of the known competitions. Additionally, kayaking is part of the summer Olympic since 1936.
Surf Kayaking: happens in the ocean but is a dangerous genre that requires specialized training before engaging in the activity.
White-water Kayaking: takes place in the creeks, streams, and rivers with rapids. It's extremely dangerous and exciting for it happens in big rapids, and it is vital to have a partner. There are different paddling in white-water kayaking, such as river running: playboating, creeking, and squirt boating.
Sea kayaking: is done on large water bodies such as the ocean. Kayaks that are designed for sea have two sealed bulkheads. One is placed in the stern behind the seat while the other is placed in the bow ahead of the feet. These hatches and bulkheads allow the rider to stow a lot of gear and are suitable for long and camping trips.
Fishing Kayaking: The rider sits on top of the kayak with an adjustable-height seat, rod holders, and a place to store your items. Fishing Kayak boat is built in a way you can also stand.
Categories of Kayaking Boats
There are two types of kayaking boats:
Sit-On-Tops: these are recreational boats used in accessible flowing rivers and lakes. They are more evident in warm coastal waters. These boasts have enough space to store your items during the overnight trip. The following are features of sit on tops kayaks.
They are easy to get in and off, even in situations where the water is deep. Thus they have a casual use such as near a lakeside cabin.
They are useful during the warm weather since you're likely to get wet due to paddling splashes and waves.
They have scupper holes that help the boat to self-drain. Thus you don’t need to pump water out.
These boats are heavy than the sit-in kayaks.
They are mostly used during fishing, have rod holders and storage space.
Sit-In Kayaks: are mostly used in recreational boats and touting models. These kayaks have a covered cargo component, track straight, and move fast.
Features of sit-in kayaks
The boat is comfortable when the water and air are cool.
Most parts of your body are inside the boat; thus, they are protected in rough waters or when maneuvering.
You can attach a spray skirt which stops water from entering from the top
It’s easy and comfortable to paddle a sit-in kayaks than sit on top.
It’s difficult to enter or exit from a sit-in kayak and more so when boat capsizes. Thus you require more training to learn what to do when the boat overturns.
You will need to paddle to the shore to drain the boat when the hull gets flooded.
Types of Kayaking Boats
Kayaking boats are available in different styles based on their use. However, these boats have similar body parts. They include:
The bow is the front part of the kayak boat.
Stern is the rear part of the kayak boat.
Rocker is the surface between the bow and stern and sits on the waterline.
Hull is the bottom part of Kayak.
Flare is the angle of the sides.
Chine the curvy part between the sides and the bottom.
Touring or Sea Kayaks: These are long, stable boats with significant interior and exterior room for cargo. The hull of this kayak is flat, and its body is wide, thus making it fast on a straight but less maneuverable. Further, it’s able to glide forward with every stroke because it’s long as compared to the short sporty boats.
These boats can be occupied by one or two riders and have rudders that can be set to help it steer forward. The sea kayak can be sit-in or sit-on-top like a canoe. They are made from plastic or wood.
White-Water Kayaks: These kayaks are shorter and less stable but extremely maneuverable. The boat is 8-9 feet long, with softer chines, rounded hulls and minimal flare. The kayak is made from plastic, which is a durable material that can withstand the white water rapids. Some modern white-water kayaks are made lightweight and durable Kevlar. These features helps the boat to roll and perform tricks because it has less contact with water. This boat has a great rocker that minimizes its contact with water. White-water kayaks have no rudders and are mainly sit-inside boats.
Surf Kayaks: They are similar to white-water models, but their rocker is only on the bow side, fins, and a flat stern just like a surfboard. They are made of fiberglass because it’s stiff and light than plastic.
Tandem Kayaks: are either sit-on or sit in boats and accommodates another person. They are more stable than single person kayak and can be used as a rescue boat.
Fishing Kayaks: these boats have a rod holder and ample storage space for fishing gear. Some luxuriant fishing boats have pedal propulsion systems, thus eliminating the use of a paddle. The boat has outriggers that improve stability.
Inflatable Kayak: These kayaks are transported using a carry bag because they are made of Hypalon, Polyurethane, PVC, or Nytrylon. You inflate them using hand, foot, or electric pumps. They are mostly used in calm water and rivers, although there are some kayaks designed as hardy, seaworthy vessels.
Factors to Consider when Purchasing a Kayak
While the idea of owning a kayak is exciting, deciding which type to buy is the hardest part. You can start by considering factors like where you will be using your boat, and how often.
The following tips will help you to choose the ideal kayak for your adventure.
1. Category of kayak boats: Sit-in-kayaks have more storage space, spray skirt, foot braces, and have a lower center of gravity, thus more efficient to paddle. Sit-on-top kayaks are versatile, suitable for a warm environment, easy to get in and out as well as self-bailing. Inflatable kayaks are lightweight, durable, easy to transport, and ideal for beginners.
Once you identify the style you want, then you can now select the type you want. You may consider fishing kayaks, touring kayaks, or white-water kayaks.
2. Type of Hull: the hull refers to the shape of the bottom of your kayak. It’s important to consider the hull type because it affects the boat’s performance and stability. The flat hull is stable, maneuverable, and ideal for recreational kayakers and beginners. Rounded hull has higher speed, more maneuverable, and easier travel through water. V-shaped hulls cut through the water, and the kayak can travel in a straight line, thus ideal for long-distance trips, touring, and recreational paddling.
3. Weight capacity: it involves the weight of the boat, paddler, and additional items in a kayak.
4. Length and width: long and narrow kayaks move faster and straight. Wider and shorter boats are stable and easy to turn. Recreational kayaks are shorter, thus made for rivers, small lakes, and calm waters. Touring kayaks are long and built for bigger rivers and lakes, as well as built to handle large waves. Look for sit-in kayaks with adjustable footrests, for they can accommodate more height.
Choosing the Right Size Paddle For Your Kayak
You shouldn’t get on the water without the right equipment. Thus, having a kayak is not enough for your good time on the sea can get washed away due to having the wrong size paddle.
You should consider the following paddle sizing factors when selecting an oar for your kayak.
1. The size is pegged on the height and width of your boat. The wider the kayak, the longer the paddle. A kayak boat with a height between 5 ft, to 5ft. 6 in and width between 25 in and 28 in will require a paddle of 210-220 cm.
2. The angle of the stroke will also determine the size of the paddle. A higher angle requires a slightly shorter paddle, while a shorter angle needs a longer oar.
3. You should also consider the paddle blade. The blade should be easy to submerge in the water and not strike the boat. Thus the nylon or plastic paddle blades are cheap, appropriate for beginners, can't snap easily but have flexibility issues. Fiberglass blades are lighter, durable, and have efficient performance. Carbon fiber blades are the lightest, stiff, and transfer energy well when paddling.
4. The material used to make the shaft will affect performance. Aluminum material is cost-effective, durable, and has a solid experience. However, it can get hot or cold based on the weather. Thus, carry gloves. Carbon and fiberglass shaft are lighter and durable, therefore appropriate for long distances. They are less temperature-sensitive. Choose shafts with adjustability features, for they will allow you to change the length.
Appropriate Clothing for Kayaking
Clothing can have an impact on your kayaking experience. You want to feel warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot. Therefore, you should choose appropriate clothing for mild, cold, and hot conditions. The following are general guidelines for kayaking attires.
Wear a personal floatation device (PFD) throughout your trip.
You should dress for the water temperature and not air temperature. That means you will wear a wetsuit or drysuit.
Dress in layers. You can wear a swimsuit in the first layer, wetsuit or drysuit based on the weather, waterproof jacket, or rain pants on the outer layer.
Wear clothes made from Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rated garments to protect you from sun exposure as well as sunscreen to protect your sink from UV radiation. Thus darker fabrics are better than the light ones. Nylon and polyester are better than natural fibers. Denser weaves are preferable than the loose one.
Put on clothes that will make you feel comfortable since you will be sitting for long periods.
Avoid cotton clothes because they absorb water easily and stays wet longer. Instead, nylon or polyester fabrics because they dry quickly. Wool is also appropriate because it can insulate you even when wet.
Avoid fasteners, zippers, and hardware that can rust due to water. Saltwater corrodes metallic objects, so avoid items with metal components. You can go for rugged plastics instead.
Select clothes made of abrasion-resistant fabrics, for they can withstand wear and tear caused by the rough materials of your kayaking equipment.
Wear neoprene paddling booties to protect your toes and feet.
Put a hat with a wide brim or cap.
Protect your hands from blisters by wearing paddling gloves.
Have a pair of glass retainers.
Most people enjoy paddling down a river in the summer season with friends and family. However, these kayakers face one challenge of getting the boat to the river, sea, or lake. Use your care to transport your kayak to and from water.
You can attach the kayak on the top of your vehicle. Use foam blocks for short trips or rooftop racks if you’re concerned with the security of your boat. They are also ideal for longer trips or highways with higher speed limits.
Locking Your Kayak
Kayaks are expensive boats; thus, you must keep them safe after use. This is especially necessary for every other kayak except inflatable kayak, which can be easily folded and kept in a cabinet.
You need to secure the hard-shell kayak to avoid losing your investment. The following are tips on how you can store your boat.
Lock Your Kayak in a Shed or Garage
You can keep your recreational kayak safely inside a lockable structure like a shed or garage. Set a free stand rack against the wall or in the middle of the room if the space is tight or cramped. The arrangement will leave more for other things.
You can also securely mount it on the wall or install a suspension system or kayak hoist on the ceiling, thus making it hang from here. Ensure that the boat is mounted securely, and the hoists are correctly set to prevent accidents.
Put It outside Your Home
Locking your boat inside a structure is the best way of protection from thieves and natural elements. However, you may not have a garage or shed if you live in an apartment building or a small house.
You can still store it outside the house but implement extra precautions. You can chain it in a freestanding kayak rack next to the wall of your home.
Another option is to tie it to a tree or post using a chain and padlock. Whichever method you choose, ensure that the cockpit is enclosed with a kayak cockpit cover to prevent insects and critters from entering and nesting inside it.
Put It inside the Tent When Camping
You can fold kayak and put it inside the tent when camping. However, you can tie the hard-shell kayak to a tree or a dock using a cable lock.
The unexpected may still happen, no matter your efforts to secure your kayak boat. For that reason, you can get an insurance cover for your non-motorized boats. The insurance covers thief and potential damage for kayaks, small sailboats, and canoes, among others. It may also cover other accessories like portable electronics, and fishing rods.
Repair and Maintenance
Kayak is resilient equipment that requires minimal efforts. However, there are a few necessary repair and maintenance tips that can keep your equipment in good shape.
Inspect the hull immediately you remove the equipment from storage. Keep the kayak in the sun to heat and return it to its original shape.
Inspect the perimeter line, the hardware, bungees, and ensure that they are in the right shape. This is because the sun rays can degrade the bungees and lines as well as the plastic pad-eyes. Repair anything that needs to be fixed before embarking on your hobby.
Replace all old parts with new accessories. That is replacing the seat, rod holder and gear
Use a kayak cart to move the boat from the shore to storage to avoid weakening the bottom when you drag it on the ground.
Clean your kayak after every outing. That removes salt and grime that can prevent the growth of mold and cause corrosion of the hull. You can give it a thorough cleaning several times in the year.
Don't expose the boat to the sun because it can discolor it and weaken the material, thus causing it to crack or become brittle. Cover the cockpit to keep it away from the rain and critters. Dry the interior before storing it to keep mosquitoes, mold, and scum away.
This matters during the winter season when water solidifies. Dismantle the kayak boat, turn it upside down, and cleaning it thoroughly with soap and water. This will loosen sand, dead bugs, and crud.
Ensure that all parts are dry before putting it away. More so loosen or undo all straps, bungees, or bungees before storing the kayak boat to help them retain their elasticity.
Best Time to Embark on Kayaking Adventure
You can't embark on a kayaking adventure at any time of the year due to seasonal weather variations that can cause severe risks of the storms. The best time should be free from headwinds, hurricanes, storms, or any violent weather. You should also go for kayaking during the daylight hours and head to the shores when it begins to get dark and windy.
The following are the factors to consider when embarking on kayaking.
Stable Wind: When going for kayaking adventure in the seas, opt for the days when the wind is decreasing because it makes it easier to paddle the boat. Further, you may be affected by increasing wind when you delay in the sea.
Wind Direction: kayaking during windy conditions can create safety concerns. Paddling during headwind is more stable because it causes the waves to come to you. However, you get tired when the wind is strong and requires hard work to control the boat.
A tailwind will produce waves that boost your paddling efforts. Crosswind or weathercocking happens when the wind blows from the side, and this causes the boat to turn into the wind rather than keep the straight course.
Having waves and wind from the side will affect your balance and make kayaking more challenging.
Fog: Avoid going into the waters when the weather limits your visibility. Thus head off to the shore when the weather changes because fog can roll in speedily, therefore, affects visibility. Depending on your ears when kayaking is dangerous.
Temperature: ensure that you are dressed appropriately before getting into the water. You can put sun shirts when the weather is hot, waterproof clothing and fleeces when it’s cold.
Wet And Cloudy Weather: Although you can go kayaking during the cloudy and rainy season, you need to dress warmly and have waterproof gears. The weather is ideal because it gives you refreshing relief from the heat. However, stay away during dark, rolling clouds, for they can be a sign of thunderclouds.
10 Amazing Kayaking Spot in the World
The following are fantastic kayak destinations in the world.
Amazon: the forest is the home to several species of plants and wildlife. Kayaking on this river is an excellent idea for it allows you to spot exotic wildlife and interact with the indigenous people.
The Dalmatian Coast: It’s dotted with several islands with sandy beaches, rocky headlands, and craggy bluffs as well as ancient towns. Therefore, you will enjoy paddling in stunning turquoise waters that stretch from Montenegro and Croatia.
Glacier Bay in the USA: the landscape is lined with temperate rainforest, rugged snow-capped mountains, deep fjords, and wild coastlines. Kayakers exploring this national park enjoy the remote wilderness, human solitude, and snow-capped mountains.
Halong Bay in Vietnam: Discover the gigantic limestone islets, the lagoons, and hidden caves with your sea kayak. Further, you can explore the floating fishing villages in this tourist attraction in Vietnam.
Fijian Islands: Fiji has over 300 islands that are surrounded by sprawling coral gardens and crystal-clear waters. The tropical weather is ideal for kayaking as the rider enjoys the fish-laden paradise.
Southern Coast Of Crete: This region has a jagged coastline and mountainous landscape worth discovering. You can enjoy its enticing hidden coves, ample sea caves, and pink-sand beaches as you kayak from one village to the other.
Sea of Cortez in Mexico: This Island has a rugged, desert landscape with sandy beaches and high cliffs. Clear, calm, turquoise waters also surround it, the weather is sunny, and the water is warm.
Sermilik Fjord in Greenland: It’s enjoyable paddling in the calm waters of Fjord in high summer when thousands of icebergs are breaking from the large ice sheet in the region. You may spot seals and whales along your way.
Vancouver Island in Canada: It's one the best place for kayaking because it's a small island with protected water and passageways. The region has plenty of wildlife like eagles, humpback whales, black bears, river otters, porpoises, and seals. It also gives riders a feeling of remoteness.
Svalbard in Norway: Take a week-long trip to Norway and explore its remote fjords. You will be able to ride beyond the icebergs in sheltered waters and see arctic foxes, polar bears, reindeer, and walruses.
Health Benefits of Kayaking hobby
Kayaking is an excellent workout equivalent to other aerobic exercises such as biking and running. However, the quality of this exercise based on your efforts. You will enjoy the following health benefits when you actively paddle your boat.
Muscle Building and Toning: Paddling a kayak will exercise your upper and core body muscles. This will help tone and strengthen them after every trip, depending on your efforts.
Weight Loss: you can shed some weight when you paddle regularly combined with appropriate calorie intake.
Social Bonding: Hitting the waters with your buddies and sharing a fun experience improves your relationship.
Source of Vitamin D: Most people rely on Vitamin D we get from foods, yet it's not sufficient for the body. However, the body has the ability to produce it with the help of the sun. Thus, spending a significant amount of hours in the water will help the body to produce enough vitamin D for its use.
Reduces Stress: Being in the water and enjoying the scenery reduces your stress levels. It also causes the heart rate to go up, thus improving your cardiovascular health.
Improves Memory: kayaking makes you active, thus helping your body to release chemicals that enhance the production of brain cells and improves your health.
Boosts Self-Confidence: learning new skills and overcoming challenges boost your confidence and improves your self-image.
Improves The Quality Of Sleep: Paddling makes you extremely tired, especially when you encounter challenges on the water. The experience also reduces your stress levels; this helps you to fall asleep easily at night.
Improves Your Mood: it has been said several times in this article that kayaking is an exciting activity. It makes you feel happier; thus, the release of endorphins that helps to fight depression.
Kayaking Games in the Olympics
Canoe and kayak racing was recognized as a sport during Berlin Games in 1936. However, the canoe sprint was the only event that was allowed until 1972 when slalom racing was accepted as part of the Munich Games as well as Barcelona Games in 1992.
The next Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo Japan this year; canoeing and kayaking will form part of these sporting events under men and women categories.
Birgit Fischer is a record-breaking kayaker from German and has won eight Olympic gold medals since she was 18 years.
Hiring a Kayaking Guide
Although you can excel in kayaking alone, having a passionate expert is an excellent idea. The guide will help you to learn about flora and fauna as well as try out areas that you can't dare visit without experience.
The expert will train you in different kayaking techniques and proper handling of equipment. He will increase your security when facing rushing waters.
Therefore, a kayak guide should train you to combine physical technique with your mental intensity. This will help you to go beyond your comfort zone.
A guide will also help you to select the best kayak boat for your adventure. The guide is especially vital when visiting tourist destinations in new places.
Basic Safety Tips
1. You can go kayaking alone or as a group. However, it’s recommended for a beginner to have a friend or a guide. You should let a friend know your location and timeframe.
2. Practice getting back into your kayak after a roll or fall out. You should do exercise in a safe environment like a sheltered area or a pool.
3. You should check for noticeable holes, damages, tears, or defects before embarking on the kayaking tours. Ensure that your personal flotation device that you're wearing is safe.
4. Further, make sure that the weather is favorable and continue watching the temperature and clouds throughout the time you will be in the water. That means that you should take shelter immediately when a storm creeps up. Monitor the rip tides and currents when in the ocean.
5. Additionally, every region has different rules when interacting with wildlife. Thus ensure that you understand those guidelines when interacting with such creatures.
6. Select the correct anchor for your kayak if you want to enjoy your fishing trip. This accessory can also serve great safety equipment. Have a light and small anchor for shallow fishing spots and a heavier anchor and long rope to slow or stop unexpected drift out of the sea.
7. Give way to big vessels, keep on the right always, and avoid the centre of the channel, busy channels, or shipping lanes.
8. You should store your kayaking equipment safely, whether for a short or long period. That means you should cover the cockpit before storing it to keep it free of dust, water, debris, and dirt. Thus investing in the cockpit cover will save you money that you would have spent cleaning it.
Indeed, you should plan for a safe trip to ensure you have an enjoyable experience.
What to do in Case of Emergency
Although kayaking is an exciting and fun sport, a lot can happen when on the water. Therefore, you need to know how you can handle an emergency when it occurs.
The following steps will help you in case of an emergency.
1. Wear the Right Equipment: you can only handle a kayak emergency if you're already prepared. For that reason, wear your personal flotation device, helmet, and dry suit throughout the kayaking process. Invest in an air horn, navigation device or GPS, and bilge pump. This is particularly right when kayaking near rapid water and boulders.
2. Recover your Position when the Boat Rolls: Kayaks are maneuverable and swift boats even in roaring rapids. However, Kayak can overturn and leave you underwater. You can recover yourself position by first flicking your hips and rear, followed by your upper part immediately you regain momentum. Use your paddle to improve your momentum. You can do a wet exit to get out of the boat and get back when you turn it.
3. Ocean currents can cause riders to drift farther into the sea and cause them to lose direction. You may also lose the gear when the kayak rolls. Thus you should put a ditch kit in a waterproof backpack and tire it on your body. Ensure that it has a compass, water purifiers, signaling whistle, fire starter, first-aid kit, signaling device, and a lightweight tarp for creating a shelter.
4. Practice doing a Buddy Roll, T-Rescue or other Safety Maneuvers: These techniques will save yourself or a partner that is on the verge of drowning
5. Paddle Float: Getting into a kayak after an overturn might be difficult, especially when the paddle floats get inflated, and you need them. Therefore you should always keep the paddle float fixed to the bungee cords and next to the boat stern.
6. Inform your Family and Friend about your trip and inform them when an emergency occurs as soon as you can. Use hand signals, horns, whistles, headlamps or flashlights, flags, signaling mirrors, or flares to alert others.
The article has provided you with almost all you need to start your kayaking journey. You now have to schedule time and effort in learning kayaking hobby. Continue practicing and you will become a perfect kayaker.
It’s an activity that can take you to the Olympic Games or help you navigate the Amazon or Zambezi River in Africa.
Do your best, and have fun!