Kayaking is a fantastic sport for beginners to learn, and it’s relatively easy to pick up; within just a few hours, you’ll be paddling right along. There are numerous kinds of kayaking, from whitewater to flatwater, and each has its benefits. In this guide, you’ll learn the top things all kayakers should know before paddling for the first time.
The first tip on our list is one of the most important: take kayaking lessons, even if you don’t think you need them. While it may seem simple to paddle a kayak, it’s also easy to find yourself paddling in circles without the right coaching. With some inexpensive kayaking lessons, you’ll waste less time learning how to paddle, and you’ll find out how to recover after capsizing.
Dress For the Temperature of the Water, Not the Air
It may be a sunny, hot day, and many are tempted to wear shorts and a tank top for kayaking. However, that may get uncomfortable if the water is icy cold. Be sure to wear clothing that’s appropriate for the temperature of the water, not that of the air. If you do fall in, you’ll be glad you wore kayaking gloves, a wetsuit, and other waterproof gear rather than your beach attire.
Select the Right Kayak
There are many kayak choices available, from short and wide to long and narrow. For first-timers, it’s best to learn in a recreational boat that’s well-suited to the water in which you will be paddling. For instance, if you’re going out onto a lake, you’ll need a flatwater kayak. For true beginners, a sit-on-top kayak is reassuringly stable and very easy to maneuver.
Always Wear Your Buoyancy Aid
Buoyancy aid usage is a crucial part of being a kayaker, whether you’re a beginner or a veteran paddler. A buoyancy aid is somewhat like a conventional life jacket, but it allows greater freedom of movement around the neck and arms. Even if you’re a great swimmer, it’s easy to get into trouble on the water, and we recommend wearing your buoyancy aid whether you’re paddling alone or as part of a group.
Learning how to position yourself in your kayak will make paddling much easier. Many kayaks have comfortable back rests, but it’s important not to rely on them too heavily. When paddling, sit straight with your buttocks and lower back at a 90° angle to one another. Bend your knees upward and outward to allow greater contact with the kayak’s thigh braces.
Hold the Paddle Correctly
This tip may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many people hold their paddles improperly when learning kayaking. Hold your paddle with both hands slightly more than shoulder distance apart, with the concave part of the blade toward you. When dipping the blade into the water, the concave portion should move smoothly.
Kayaking is a great way to get into the outdoors, and it can be a fantastic workout as well. However, without the proper knowledge, it often turns difficult and even dangerous. By following these basic tips, beginning kayakers will be safer on the water.