Thrill-seekers, adventure hunters and explorers rejoice! If you haven’t discovered the pure joy of kayaking yet, then you must have been hiding under a rock. From the calming waters to the choppy whitewater rapids, there’s much to enjoy.
It’s safe to say that catching sunburn and getting lost at sea are probably relatively high on your not-to-do list! With the planet’s waterways at your disposal, how can you ensure an awesome day of kayaking?
Well, let’s take you on a little journey to get you prepared to take on the water:
1. Figure out your route
All best plans can quickly unravel when you don’t consider the obstacles and hazards you can meet along the way. So, figure out your route ahead of your adventure.
Consider the following:
- How far are you going?
- How long will the route take – there and back?
- Will I meet others along the way?
- What level of expertise do I have? Beginner, intermediate or advanced. Is this route suitable for me?
If this is your first trip to a new place, consider doing a bit of research ahead of your journey. Whether that’s a Google search or asking locals for advice, it’s good to get insider knowledge.
Bear in mind, tackling the upstream leg of your journey is more suitable for when you are more alert and awake. It’s also worth sharing your trip with a close family or friend before you set off, in case you need help later on!
2. Take a look at the forecast
There’s nothing worse than being caught out on a trip. Choppy, rough and windy conditions can play havoc with your navigation and potentially damage your vessel. On the other hand, the scorching hot summer sun can leave you with sunstroke and sunburn in exposed conditions. So, plan your day with the weather in mind.
Don’t just rely on the weatherman! If you are tackling the coastline, make sure you cast your eye over the marine forecast and changing current conditions. It’s worth keeping a sun canopy on board to avoid the harsh UV rays, as well as fresh drinking water and sunscreen.
No beginner should be taking on the ocean alone, unless under professional supervision!
3. Avoid going solo
One of the golden rules of kayaking is: never paddle alone! Flying solo puts you at greater risk of missing potential hazards and getting yourself in a sticky situation. Bringing someone along with you not only makes it safer, but also more enjoyable.
4. Check your equipment
It may seem obvious, but making sure your kayak is suitable for the water conditions you want to paddle on is key to your kayaking journey. If you take a sea kayak onto a winding river, you aren’t going to have much success! Likewise, taking an inflatable kayak around a harsh, rugged coastline is not going to do you any favours either when it starts deflating from a puncture.
Clothing and footwear need to be appropriate for the conditions you are facing. Having a sharp rock go through your foot will soon put a dampener on your day. With this in mind, make sure you have suitable buoyancy aids, dry clothing, hats and gloves on board. You may want to include a basic first aid kit, GPS, whistle and torch.
Being prepared for a plethora of outcomes will allow you to have a safer and more enjoyable experience on the water.
5. Be physically fit enough for the trip
If you are planning on spending hours on the water, your body needs to be up for the challenge! Getting in a few hours of cardio ahead of your trip will build up your body’s endurance ahead of all that paddling.
Although not essential, you may want to think about strengthening your core and back muscles to make your time more enjoyable. After all, being sat for hours in the same position can be tiring!
6. Know your basics
Before even setting foot in a kayak, it’s worth familiarising yourself with the basics. From knowing how to grip your paddles to how to roll your yak is not something you should take on the first time in the water.
Your local kayaking club will be able to iron out the basics before your maiden voyage. Failing that, check out some online videos or get your knowledgeable friend to teach you the ropes!
Preparation and planning are all part of the kayaking adventure. What better way to ensure an awesome day out on the water, than being ready to take on nature itself – are you ready?