Kayaking is often a mystery to beginners. Before buying a kayak, most people wonder if they need to get professional help to learn it. The simple answer to this question is yes, you do. However, there are many who learned paddling and are even good at it without a single lesson.
In this article, we will shred some of the mysteries involved with kayak learning and also leave you with a few helpful tips to ensure you can learn paddling the easy and the right way.
Do I Need to Get Lessons?
Sadly, kayaking can often be a bit overwhelming for beginners. The complex paddling maneuvers can become too much to handle. Getting a professional instructor to help out with the basics is a great way to start your paddling adventure.
However, if you take your time and pay attention, you can learn kayaking on your own. Do not be fooled; your boat will capsize, and you will drink river water more times than you can count, but over time, you will learn to control the boat and balance yourself on the water.
Our recommendation would be to get a few basic lessons and practice them well before attempting to go kayaking on your own. And you should also keep away from kayaking on rougher waters until you learn all the techniques properly. With enough time and effort, you will be able to take anything the waterbody has to throw at you.
Beginner Tips for Kayaking
A big part of kayaking is learning from experience. You will face many challenges on the water that nobody taught you, and these challenges would help season your skills as a paddler. The following few tips will help you get even better at kayaking and prepare you for some of the challenges.
- Get a Good Paddle
One of the first tips we have for you is to invest in a nice paddle. The weight and size of the paddle directly translate to your control over the kayak. If you are a beginner, you should go with a paddle that features a small blade. That way, you will not feel as tired if you are rowing for a long period.
Remember, the quality of the paddle is sometimes even more important than the quality of the kayak. Avoid getting plastic paddles as they are not very durable. Aluminum paddles are also not a great choice as they tend to be heavier. Ideally, you want a lightweight paddle that lasts you a long while.
- Choose your Kayak Well
These days, kayaking is quite a popular sport. Because of this, there are a wide variety of models available in the market. That is why you need to be careful about your purpose and should choose a kayak that is able to meet your need.
For example- if you want to buy a kayak for fishing you should buy a fishing kayak, not a regular kayak as there are some fundamental difference between a regular kayak and a fishing kayak.
Whether you choose a recreational kayak or a whitewater kayak completely depends on your expectations. So before choosing your kayak, spend some time reading up on the various models and cross-check them with your requirements. That way, you can end up with the best one for your needs.
- Wear your PFD
The term PFD stands for personal floatation device, and you should have your one on you anytime you set out on your kayak. Even if you are a seasoned paddler, capsizing can happen. If your boat capsizes in the middle of a large lake, you will be grateful for having your PFD with you.
In addition, you should choose your wardrobe wisely before you get on your kayak. A common mistake people make is they dress for the weather. However, if your boat tips over, it will be cold, even if it is a warm summer afternoon. You need to keep that in mind when choosing your dress.
- Check the Weather
Remember to check the weather before you plan on a kayaking trip. The last thing you want is to go kayaking in rough weather. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, you will be stuck paddling on choppy waters looking for shelter. For a beginner, the task might be too much to handle.
All seasoned kayakers check the weather before they go on their excursions. Rough weather can feel even rougher on the water than on land. Your boat will be harder to control, and the chances of capsizing are high. So before you head out, take a moment to check the weather forecast for the day.
- Know your Route
Lastly, it is extremely important to be familiar with the spot of your kayaking, especially if you are a beginner. If you do not have complete control over your kayaking techniques, you do not want to take a trip to unknown waters. It is also best to avoid large lakes and water bodies until you are fully comfortable kayaking.
You might also want to bring a friend with you instead of going solo. That way, if any accidents do occur, he can lend a hand, and you can do the same for him. Also, check for shelters nearby so that you can react quickly in case you run into any unfortunate incident.
- Invest in Accessories
If you are serious about kayaking, it is wise to invest in accessories for your kayak regularly. Items like paddles, immersion clothing, transport, etc., will help improve your overall experience when planning a kayaking trip.
Even if you cannot afford to buy everything when buying the kayak, investing in them over time is a good idea. Each little investment will be a step forward to becoming a better paddler.
For a beginner, kayaking can be an intimidating activity. But once you spend some time learning the proper techniques, it becomes second nature. Having an instructor to guide you can make this task even simpler.
We hope our tips and tricks could help improve your kayaking techniques and make the experience more enjoyable for you.