Simple to pick up, but difficult to master, kayaking is slowly becoming one of the more popular sports among those seeking adventure. It’s all about you, the kayak, and whatever scenery you chose to be your backdrop.
That being said, there’s nuance to kayaking. You can’t really just jump into your boat and head off. There are some unwritten rules you need to learn first and that’s what we’ll be discussing today!
Kayaking might look like simple rowing at first, but it’s so much more than that. The recent increase in popularity has attracted many people who don’t necessarily know what kayaking is all about. Being a decent kayaker requires you to understand the correlation between upper and lower body movement and how each affects your position in the water.
Different types of kayaks will give you more or less leeway in this regard. For example, a beginner will feel much more comfortable in sit-on kayaks where you’re always in control of your balance and your lower body.
The use of the upper and lower body is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more that goes into proper technique. Understanding and mastering the basics will get you a long way in terms of controlling your kayak and being able to react to different river conditions.
Kayaking is one of those fun activities that carry a small but constant level of risk. Should you be afraid of heading out and enjoying a sunny day in your kayak? Absolutely not, but going with someone makes the whole experience much safer.
You never know what might happen, especially if you’re navigating a river. Some bodies of water can be extremely unpredictable, which is more than enough to catch a novice off guard. Kayaking with someone reduces your risk of having a bad outcome should something go wrong.
Clothes play a major part in kayaking. Experts over at Boat Priority note that your choice of clothing shouldn’t be catered to the weather, but rather the water you’ll be moving in.
Freshwater kayaking will put you in situations where the air in and around the kayak is hot, but the water is freezing cold. Should you fall into the water, having a wet suit can make all the difference in the world.
Kayaks come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. We can generally differentiate between sit-on-top and sit-in kayaks. Former is usually used in lakes or other bodies of water where you don’t expect much wind or disturbances. These are great for floating down calm rivers or enjoying a day out on the lake.
However, if you’re looking for something that can navigate whitewater rivers, you’ll be much better off with a sit-in touring kayak. These aren’t necessarily beginner-friendly, but they offer plenty of additional control that is often essential when negotiating rapids or other parts of rivers.
Although your chances of getting into a bad situation are low, things happen for one apparent reason. It doesn’t take much to capsize a kayak. Knowing how to recover from capsizing can very well save your life one day.
Granted, this particular point applies mostly to sit-in kayaks. Sit-on-top casual kayaks will capsize as well, despite being the more stable of the two platforms. However, a sit-on-top kayak won’t trap your lower body as the sit-in one will.
It’s imperative that you master these recovery techniques before you actually go kayaking. There are plenty of schools out there with instructors who will be more than happy to show you how to properly recover when your boat capsizes.
If you ever get bored of sit-on-top lake excursions and decide to go for proper kayaking down aggressive rivers, make sure to pace yourself. Biting off more than you can chew is a great way to get yourself hurt. Be realistic with your capabilities no matter what.
If you’re heading out alone, make sure to give a trusted friend your trip itinerary. Tell them where you’re going, what you’re doing, how long you plan on staying out, and define a check-in time. If you miss that date or time, instruct your friend to contact the authorities.
Just like any other sport and outdoor activity, kayaking takes time to learn and even more, time to master. Make sure that you give yourself this much needed time. Accept that you won’t be going down the sickest rapids right away. Allow yourself to build skills and gain experience before you take on any serious challenges.