Kayaking can be one of the most relaxing outdoor activities you will ever experience. It is also good for your health, both physically and mentally. If you are new to kayaking, you must start on the right foot so your first time out is a success and not a risk. This article includes a list of expert tips for beginners to help ensure your kayak trip goes smoothly from start to finish.
Always wear a personal floatation device (PFD). It doesn’t matter if your boat is an inflatable or hard shell; this tip goes for any vessel. A PFD can prevent tragedy should an accident occur, so it is important to wear one.
Practicing beforehand is vital to get a feel for the kayak and learn basic maneuvers. You don’t want to be trying these things out when you’re in the middle of a lake or river. Kayaking gurus at watersportswhiz.com advise kayakers to find a calm spot near them and spend some time paddling around to get comfortable with the motion of kayaking. This will help minimize any surprises when you hit more challenging waters.
Join a Kayaking Club
Joining a kayaking club is not only a great way to make new friends, but you can also learn from more experienced paddlers. They will teach you about different routes, safety tips, and how to handle your boat in various conditions. Club members often get together for group trips which can provide even more opportunities to learn and grow as a kayaker.
Choose the Right Kayak
Not all kayaks are created equal. You need to choose the right one for your skill level and intended use. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to go with a recreational kayak designed for calm waters. These boats are broader and shorter, making them easier to control than other kayaks.
Choose the Right Route
Your route depends on your skill level, so it’s essential to pay attention to this tip for beginners in particular. If you’re starting, opt for a not too strenuous route to avoid any mishaps. When you’re more comfortable on the water and have some experience under your belt, you can try something that requires more skill and planning, such as whitewater kayaking or ocean kayaking. Also, it is crucial to know the weather conditions for the day. There are apps available that can provide real-time weather updates so use this information.
Invest in a Decent Paddle
A cheap paddle will only create frustration and can be dangerous. It’s important to find a paddle that is the right size and fit for you. The shape of the blade also matters, so do some research on what type of paddle works best for your needs.
Don’t wait until the last minute to pack your kayak. Ensure you have all the essentials in your boat before heading out on the water, including life jackets, paddles, water, snacks, and safety equipment such as flares or signaling devices.
Buy a Dry Bag & Make Sure You Know How to Use It
A dry bag is an essential piece of kayaking gear and is perfect for storing your phone, keys, cash, or any other small items you don’t want to get wet. Make sure you know how to use it properly before hitting the water. There’s nothing worse than having your belongings ruined by a little bit of rain or sweat.
Take a Break
This one is for those who like to go all out and paddle nonstop for hours on end. While this may be admirable, it’s not a good idea, especially if you’re new to kayaking. Pushing yourself too hard can result in muscle fatigue, cramps, or even worse – an accident. Take a break now and then, drink plenty of fluids and eat something light. You’ll be thankful you did when you’re done for the day.
Dress for the Water, Not the Weather
When dressing for kayaking, it’s important to remember that you’ll be wet. So, dress appropriately and in clothes which will keep you warm and dry. Cotton is not a good choice as it absorbs moisture and will make you cold when wet. Synthetic materials such as polyester are a better option as they wick away moisture and help keep you warm.
Dress in layers to adjust your clothing as needed depending on the temperature. A hat and sunscreen are also essential items to bring along on your kayaking trip.
Kayaking can be a great way to get some exercise, spend time outdoors with friends and family, and relax on the water. With these expert tips, you’ll be on your way to having a great time in no time.