Kayaking is a fun water sport, but it might seem downright daunting for beginners. The very idea of having to paddle for hours on end can be very intimidating in itself. In addition, there are also a variety of preparations and training you have to get out of the way before jumping right into kayaking. Making sure that you have some preliminary knowledge as to what kayaking entails will allow you to set reasonable expectations, as well as put in place the necessary precautions to make sure that your kayaking adventure will go as smoothly and safely as possible.
That said, this article was prepared to help beginners figure out the basics of kayaking. So, if this is your first time to go on a kayaking trip, make sure to read this handy guide.
Handy Kayaking Tips for Beginners
Getting proper training and going kayaking with experienced kayakers are still your best bet for the first time you kayak, but these tips will certainly help your initial venture become smooth-sailing.
Tip #1. Get a kayaking lesson
Of course, you came here to find kayaking tips but, trust me, nothing beats an actual lesson. Getting a hands-on lesson from a professional will teach you the basics of kayaking, such as picking the right boat for you, paddling properly, and even recovering from a capsize. A kayaking lesson will also give you a better idea of the waters where you will be kayaking. Kayaking lessons are not expensive, so it is highly recommended that you take them.
Tip #2. Dress appropriately
By dressing appropriately, we are not talking about dressing for the weather. Instead, you should dress for the water (see Tip #1 on the importance of getting a kayaking lesson). Bear in mind that just because it is hot out does not automatically mean that the water will be as warm. You might even be surprised at how cold the waters can be. To prepare for the eventuality of you falling into the water (which is something you should expect and prepare for on your first kayaking trip), make sure to wear proper gear, such as a wetsuit and kayaking gloves.
Tip #3. Wear a buoyancy aid
Even if you consider yourself a good swimmer, it is still important to wear a buoyancy aid, especially on your first kayaking trip. Since kayaking is an outdoor water activity, the conditions are not as controlled as that in a swimming pool. Certain parts of the water might be tricky to swim in and remaining afloat can pose a challenge should your kayak capsize.
Tip #4. Choose the right boat
There are different types of kayaks out there, each catering to a specific need. When choosing a kayak for your first time to go kayaking, go by function and difficulty instead of by looks. A certain type of kayak might look cool but if you cannot use it properly, then it will only pose a danger for you. As much as possible, choose a kayak that is not only beginner-friendly, but also especially suited for the water where you will be paddling.
Tip #5. Bring extra clothes
Kayaking may not sound like rocket science and you might be very confident with your newly-acquired paddling skills, but you still never know what might happen once you are already in the water. Trust me, it is a lot better to lug around extra clothes than shiver the entire ride home because you fell in the water and did not have anything to change into.
Tip #6. Have basic rescue skills
If you take kayaking lessons and follow these guidelines to the letter, there might be no need for you to put your rescuing skills to the test. Nevertheless, it pays to be prepared when doing any water activity. Make sure that you know how to recover from a capsize, as well as how to get yourself and others back on the boat (or out of the water, depending on the scenario). Basic first aid skills will also go a long way.
Tip #7. Do not kayak alone
This is incredibly important for beginners. Paddling with a more experienced kayaker will not only help you improve your kayaking skills but will also give you someone to turn to in case something unexpected occurs.
And there you go: easy and handy kayaking tips for beginners. Take these guidelines to heart and you will surely have an enjoyable and very safe kayaking adventure. After all, the last thing you want to happen is to get into a mishap on your first kayaking trip.