For a beginner learning to kayak, there can be so much to learn! More than you might think and the information can be overwhelming! There is more to kayaking than just getting into the kayak and paddling.
Practice makes perfect they say, and that is exactly what you should do as a beginner before heading out and challenging yourself.
Here are some basic tips for beginners learning to kayak.
Learn About Your Equipment
A beginner kayaker must understand what kind of equipment they have and how to use it correctly.
Before buying a new kayak or the gear to go along with it, you should decide what you plan on doing with your kayak. For example, are you going to be paddling lakes and do some fishing? Or are you more interested in tackling rapids?
Learning about which kind of kayak and which gear to purchase is the first step!
Get The Right Paddles
Most newly purchased kayaks will come with the proper paddles based on the design of kayak. If you are buying a used kayak, however, you want to make sure that you have the proper paddles for your kayak.
Using the wrong paddles will cause you to work harder and may significantly affect maneuverability. In general, wider and taller kayaks will require longer paddles.
Dry bags for your kayak are a good idea if you have gear such as a camera, snacks or extra clothes that you do not want to get wet!
Learn & Be Comfortable With Safety Equipment
It is imperative to obtain a personal flotation device that is suitable for you and anyone who will be aboard!
Make sure that you invest in a life jacket that is dependable and fits you correctly. Take the time to adjust the fittings beforehand. Practice putting it on and buckling it up. You do not want to be fidgeting with your life vest during an emergency situation. Or worse yet, discard it because it interferes with your stroke.
If you are going to kayaking over rocky waters, a helmet is also a crucial piece of safety equipment. Again, make sure to buy one that is secure and properly fits.
Wetsuits and Drysuits are important safety gear for cold water kayaking. They are essential for protection against hyperthermia!
Learn how to get easily in and out of your kayak
Why should you practice getting in and out of your kayak before you hit the water? You should practice the correct techniques to keep from tipping over!
This is especially important if you have extra gear with you such as fishing supplies. You might want to pull out of the water for breaks during a river paddle.
Learning how to get properly into your kayak and how to get back out without tipping over can save you much aggravation and time when on the water.
Learn how to Paddle
Learning the correct techniques to paddling before you go paddling will help you navigate the water so much better. Not knowing how to paddle correctly for your intended activity will hinder your trip and can become frustrating.
There are different techniques to paddling for various activities. For example, you will paddle differently when navigating Class III rapids as opposed to paddling around a calm lake.
Check out these training videos for further help on learning to kayak.
Join a Paddling Club
Paddling Clubs are a great social atmosphere for beginner kayakers as well as veterans.
These clubs provide stewardship, competitions, ideas about gear, and social activities. They are a great place to ask questions and receive real answers from experienced paddlers.
Need ideas for new water trails or get-a-ways? Most Paddling Clubs will keep a listing of traveled waterways for your intended activity. They can offer directions, good access points and exit points, and users will report any obstacles that might have occurred on the waterway.
Joining a Paddling Club is an excellent way to stay up to date on all kayaking activities, safety, and general information.
A well known National Paddling Club is the American Canoe Association. The American Canoe Associaton offers education and instruction for all paddle sports. You can check out their online animated videos, and they provide in-person training events in many US cities. The Club also provides search links to help you find a local Paddle Club in your hometown.
The Keys to Kayaking Success!
Arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible before you even purchase your kayak and equipment. This will help ensure you are properly geared and prepared to begin your journey.
Ensure your success through practice! Practicing the correct techniques and using your equipment and gear will give your more confidence.
You will also feel more secure, and have lots more fun with the correct equipment and training under your belt!