06 Apr Want to learn kayaking?
Kayaking can range from a relaxing trip on a calm lake or river to an adrenaline pumping extreme sport. Unless you’re seeking an adventure, it is advisable for most beginners to start slow on calm waters and avoid white water kayaking on day one.
Beginners thinking about hitting the water the first time only need to know a few simple things to enjoy a gorgeous day outdoors. Kayaks come in several styles, shapes, and sizes. They can be sit on, sit in, long, short, wide, or narrow. Sit in are more commonly heard of, but require more skill in the advent of flipping the boat. Sit on kayaks are generally advised to first time kayakers and are usually wider, more stable and allow for a easy way to get on. The length and width of the boat determine stability and maneuverability. The wider and lower the boat, the harder it is for it to tip over or throw you out. While a shorter boat is easier to turn and maneuver. However as the time comes, longer and narrower boats do allow for faster speeds with less physical effort. So in general a short, wide, sit on kayak is a good starting place for most beginners.
After a suitable boat is found, all that are needed are paddles and life jackets. Life jackets come in many shapes and sizes, so find one that fits properly. A life jacket that is too tight causes discomfort for the duration of the ride and one that is too big may come off when in the water. Make sure and test the life jacket’s size before starting on the kayak. Many times a life jacket seems good enough only to float half above the person when they swim around. A life jacket that fits should have a couple inches of clearance when pulled away from the chest and be able to move around the smallest amount. Depending on how many people are going to be in the kayak, single or double sided paddles should be considered. In a one person kayak it is often advised that both sides of the pole have a paddle to limit time spent switching grips in order to go on a straight path. When two or more people are on a multi person kayak, a one sided paddle may be better to avoid hitting each other’s paddles when rowing.
The next part is the fun part. Get on the water. It may take a few minutes to get the rowing down, especially if two or more people are trying to equal each other’s strokes, but sit back relax as the water rushes by you. Never worry about falling out either. With a suitable life jacket and calm water, getting in the lake or river is a rather enjoyable way to cool down when working up a good sweat on the kayak. Also, most beginner kayaks wide and designed to allow easy access when getting back on from in the water.
As you become more experienced and look for more options, consider a slightly faster river or a longer and thinner kayak. Your strokes will push you further with less effort and you’ll soon be addicted to the most relaxing workout around.