10 Kayaking Basics for a Safe and Fun Experience

Once the kayaking basics are learnt, you can head out confidently onto a calm stream or lake.

Kayaking Basics

Paddling a kayak through the water can open up a range of new sights and experiences you simply cannot enjoy from land. These tips on kayaking basics will make the first experiences perfect:

1 – Wear the right gear for the water temperature

Most people plan their outfit for a day outside based on the temperature of the air. While you do not want to be uncomfortable sitting atop your kayak, it is important to also take into account the water temperature when you choose your clothing. The first time you tip over, you will understand why this is vitally important. Layers of clothing that dries quickly and secure sport sandals or water shoes are necessary.

2 – Use the right kayak for you and your adventures

While most kayaks suit people of differing heights and weights, different varieties are designed for different types of environments and water conditions. Beginners may enjoy a shorter kayak as they are more stable.

3 – Learn to get in and out safely

Getting in or out of a kayak for the first time can be tricky. Practice this in safe water before you head out on your trip.

4 – Practice good paddling form

Sitting straight and leaning forward a bit will not only help you pilot your kayak more effectively and maintain control in case of tipping, but it will also help you avoid excess body strain and soreness.

5 – Be prepared for any accidents or issues

Chances are your kayak will tip over at some point. It is important to know exactly what to do if this happens. What should you do while you are in the water and how will you get back onto your boat?

6 – Always wear a personal flotation device

No matter how good a swimmer you are or how calm the water is in which you will kayak, a life vest or PFD is essential every time you take your kayak out for a paddle.

7 – Choose the right water conditions for you

Beginners should stick to calm water. Understanding not only how the water is at the start of your journey, but what it could do in case of a sudden rainstorm or wind is also important. Remember, if you paddle down the river or stream you will have to work against the current on your way back up.

8 – Accept your limitations

To stay safe while kayaking, you need to be honest about what you are capable of and what you should not attempt until you have more practice or training.

9 – Protect yourself from the sun

Protective clothing, regular applications of sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat are all necessary when taking kayak trips even on overcast days. Sun rays can reflect off the water to cause sunburn and skin damage.

10 – Stay hydrated

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. The last thing you want to do when kayaking is cup some of the lake or river water in your hand and drink it. Kayaking is a strenuous activity and you will need to bring bottled water to stay hydrated properly.