We’ve compiled a list of tips and tactics we think new kayakers should be familiar with to know you get going. A fun and adaptable water activity, kayaking is a terrific way to spend time with loved ones and see nature from a new view. Discover more about kayaking tips, beginner kayak tips,…
Beginner Kayaking Tips
Kayak Position: Sit Correctly
Don’t slump even if your kayak’s backrest may be pretty comfortable. Sitting up straight with your buttocks and lower back at a 90-degree angle is better. Your heels should be towards the center, and your toes should be directed outward.
You could choose a different day if the wind is mighty. For novice paddlers, lake, calm river, or bay conditions are often more accessible than in the ocean. Although the wind may occasionally be inevitable and presents further difficulty, we advise beginning your kayaking adventures when the weather is calm.
Select the Correct Kayak Type
There are several reasons why certain kayak varieties are more suited for beginners than others. For instance, choosing one of the finest sea kayaks for long-distance adventures will likely make beginners have difficulty maneuvering. Similar to fitting training wheels before learning to ride a bicycle, choosing the right sort of kayak for your first outing is essential.
These kayaks are designed for long-distance efficiency and unsuitable for fast turns. They feature scupper holes incorporated into the hull to drain water naturally away from the cockpit. Beginners are more prone to capsize than seasoned paddlers; this is very crucial.
A sit-in kayak’s cockpit may form a seal with the water’s surface if you capsize, making it considerably more challenging to turn the kayak around. It also demands a more skilled re-entry technique that requires more muscular upper body and core strength. First-time kayakers should always use a sit-on-top kayak for all the reasons above.
Plan a tour that lasts no more than three hours if this is your first time kayaking. You don’t want to overextend yourself or take on more than you can handle. You can determine whether you enjoy kayaking after three hours of practice.
Put on a PFD
Buoyancy aids are similar to life jackets but allow for more arm and neck movement, making them much better suited for kayaking. You never know when you could run into difficulty in the water, even if you are a good swimmer. If you’re paddling alone, we advise purchasing your own or renting from a local watersports facility. Read more about selecting the appropriate buoyancy aid here.
A kayak fishing PFD fastened to the bungee cord in the bow of your kayak won’t help you much after you start swimming. If you visit a well-known launch site in your area, you should notice that the majority of expert kayakers there are wearing life jackets. It is essential for beginners and the wisest thing you can do to ensure your safety on the water.
Know How To Save Yourself And Others
You may not capsize on your first kayaking trip, but it’s always a good idea to be ready. Never abandon your boat if it overturns. Make sure you and your teacher do a simple capsize exercise to show you how to turn the ship around and get back in. Even if the water is calm and level, don’t forget to know how to save yourself and others.
Attend a workshop or a tour with a guide
If you want to take up-and-coming kayakers on a guided tour of the Chesapeake Bay, or if you’re an experienced solo paddler, consider enrolling in a class. In the course, you can find a new paddling companion and get comfortable with the gear, and learn how to navigate the water safely.
Don’t Kayak Alone
Don’t kayak alone is the one piece of advice I would want to see in every kayaking for beginners book. No matter how much experience you have, going kayaking alone is never a brilliant idea. Cooperate with a different kayaker. At least someone is there to assist you if you run into problems.
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Prevent Leaning Too Far
The main reason many beginners stop their trip short or decide not to try kayaking is their fear of capsizing. The more your center of gravity deviates from the midline of your kayak, the greater the likelihood that you may capsize. The most straightforward approach for beginners is maintaining their nose and belly buttons aligned with that centerline.
Be Smart About Your Route
The ideal coastline should be calm, shallow bodies of water with friendly shorelines. With lots of opportunities for breaks or emergency exits if necessary, you will be able to paddle for whatever long or short distance you feel comfortable with. Locations of emergency exits should be taken into account while planning your route. It’s usually a good idea to have one or two emergency exits you can use in case anything goes wrong.
Play with Different Hand Positions
Blisters can develop on the inside of the thumbs when the thumb brushes against the kayak paddle shaft. You may play using a variety of hand postures to get around this pain. I do not advise moving your hands along the paddle shaft. Instead, your hand placement should create a paddler’s box between your arms bent at 90 degrees and the paddle shaft.
Kayaking Techniques For Beginners
The correct way to paddle a kayak is no different from other sports. There are proper and improper ways to accomplish something. A paddle should be held with the hands somewhat broader than shoulder-width apart on the shaft. Our kayak buying guide provides in-depth advice on picking the ideal paddle length.
The concave side of the paddle blade should always be towards you. Maintaining this technique will allow you to paddle harder without using more energy. Your legs should be in front of you while sitting in your kayak with your back straight. Your knees should be slightly bent when you rest them on the kayak’s side.
Leaning forward and dipping the paddle into the water close to your feet is how you paddle ahead by twisting your torso using your core. After that, withdraw it from the water by pulling the blade toward your seat. Only paddle on your right if you wish to turn your kayak to the left. Do this on both sides of the paddle.
With Each Paddle Stroke, Engage Your Core
With each paddle stroke, your whole body should ideally shift very little from side to side. Many novice kayakers aren’t even aware that their core muscles are being used while they paddle. For instance, you will only work your shoulders, biceps, and triceps as you float if you lean too far back in your kayak seat. Now is the ideal time to begin developing good paddling practices.
Bring a change of clothes whenever possible.
Another straightforward bit of advice, but one that is easy to overlook. Never leave home without a change of clothing, even if you don’t anticipate getting soaked. I can’t overstate how many times I’ve been happy to have an extra pair of clothing.
Instructions For Entering A Kayak From Deep Water
It’s arguably the trickiest kayak entering technique, but perseverance makes it possible. The most important thing is to make that your kayak is steady between each movement you make. Pulling your feet in and placing them in front of you will help the kayak steady. You may need to enter from deeper water on some occasions.
Do Proper Packing
The first thing that novice kayakers must learn is how to pack a kayak for camping. As your expertise increases and your tour adventures extend, you should also consider adding a much broader list of essential kayaking safety gear to your kayak. Water, snacks, and a first aid kit are essential items you should always have on hand when kayaking.
How to Sit in a Kayak
You should not feel stiff or uncomfortable while sitting in a kayak with your legs in front of you and your back straight. There will be a pair of footpegs in the front of your kayak, close to your feet if you are in a sit-in kayak. Your knees should be comfortable touching the side of the kayak when you put your feet on them and bend your legs.
Take Into Account The Paddle’s Angle
Beginner kayakers should use an almost horizontal paddle rather than a vertical one to increase the effort required for each paddle stroke. Think about the angle of your paddle, and create a rhythm that lets you temporarily forget about paddling so you can take in the stunning view around you!
Learn How to Adjust Your Kayak Seat
Straight back is the most ergonomic paddle posture, but you should also feel comfortable in your kayak. Before you even start paddling, take a moment to get satisfied with how the seat adjusts. If it has straps at your hips, experiment with them to see how far you can recline or how long you can stay in an upright posture.
Kayak Exit Techniques
It’s simple to recall the procedures for getting out of a kayak; go through them backward. Paddle your kayak into shallow water or as close to the land as you can while leaving the beach. Pull yourself out of the kayak while turning your body to face the dock and stand up. Fortunately, many docking methods nowadays make it simple to accommodate kayakers of various experience levels and ability levels.
From the Dock, How to Enter a Kayak
A kayak docking system with a connected launch can make the process more stable and straightforward. Lower your feet into the kayak while seated on the dock’s edge, and then quickly drop yourself into the seat. Keep your kayak parallel to the pier as you lower it from the port to the water.
Read more: How to clean a kayak?
Beginner Kayaking Guide – Kayak Tips For Beginners
Kayak Paddle Holding Techniques
A paddler’s box indicates how far apart your hands should be. Your elbows should make a 90-degree angle if you place the paddle on top of your head. Remember that most paddles float if you drop them – don’t worry, they won’t hurt!
How to Get into a Kayak from the Shore
The ideal place to start is to bring the kayak as close to the coastline as possible, whether it’s a lakeside, seashore, or riverbank. Getting into your kayak from the beach is significantly more straightforward for individuals just starting to kayak. The ease of the task depends on which coastline you are entering your kay boat from.
How to Paddle Backwards and Forwards
The paddle should be placed in the water at your seat and pushed toward your feet. After then, bend forward and rotate your body while engaging your core. Remember that the proper technique is lengthy strokes from your feet to your seat. If you fail to paddle on both sides, reverse the forward stroke.
Kayaking: What to Wear and Bring
Avoid wearing anything made of cotton since you’ll probably get soaked and wet all day. If the weather is mild and you don’t need any form of a wet or dry suit, you should wear light, quick-drying layers that also provide sun protection, such as a rash guard and boardshorts.
When kayaking, it’s beneficial to wear lightweight, quick-drying gear that will help shield you from the sun. Don’t feel pressured to go out and purchase new clothes if you’re starting kayaking. You certainly already have home clothing that you can wear when kayaking – and you may decide to buy specialist gear later.
The NRS Ninja PDF is comfortable, unisex, lightweight, and doesn’t interfere with your paddle stroke. A PFD (personal floatation device), also known as a life vest, should always be carried on board. Make sure to fasten your PFD to your boat so the wind won’t blow it away.
As a beginning kayaker, you don’t have to spend much money on a lightweight carbon fiber paddle. Instead, opt for a sturdy, reasonably priced paddle. If you want something smaller and easier to transport, you could also prefer a paddle that separates into parts.
Can I Kayak With My Pet?
Yes, you can kayak with your pet. But, embarking on a kayaking journey with your beloved pet can be a thrilling adventure, filled with bonding and shared exploration. However, taking your four-legged friend along requires some thought and preparation to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for both parties involved.
Choosing the right vessel is paramount. Imagine a kayak that offers roominess, stability, and specially designed surfaces to keep your furry companion secure. Picture your dog lounging comfortably by your side, free to move, and yet secure on a textured surface designed to prevent slipping.
The task of selecting the best kayak for dog shouldn’t be taken lightly. Seeking expert advice or studying opinions from seasoned pet-kayakers is a wise step towards a joyful experience. They’ll guide you to the features and designs best suited for a pet-friendly adventure, ensuring a memorable outing on the water, filled with joy, safety, and the unique companionship that only a pet can provide.
Should I Be Concerned About Sharks If Ocean Kayaking?
Even though it’s uncommon, many individuals are scared of witnessing sharks. Asking a tour guide or rental company whether they often see sharks or if this is something you need to be aware of is OK if you’re with them.
How to Recognize Your Paddle Blades
There are several types of paddle blades, but it’s essential to know which kind you have and how to change them. With symmetrical blades, both sides are the same length, giving it a distinctive oval form. This design aids in preventing the paddle’s path from spinning as it moves through the water.
I’m Concerned I’m Not in Shape Enough
If at all feasible, turn towards the wind during the first part of your journey. This will enable you to kayak downwind and gain some momentum when you start to get tired later. Kayaking in the morning is typically preferable to kayaking in the afternoon.
What Happens If I Fall In?
Wear your PFD (personal flotation device) while kayaking, and be aware that flipping a kayak over is difficult. If you’re going to be out on the water, it’s essential to know how to get back into the boat in the unlikely event that things go wrong. Before leaving, listen to the outfitter or rental company’s safety presentation and ask any questions you may have.
You are using these beginner kayaking tips and tactics for safe adventures while you learn the fundamentals of kayak paddling. We hope you will find them helpful and strictly abide by them as you get acquainted with the fantastic world of kayaking!