Kayaking is a sport that many people enjoy. It can be great exercise and one of the best ways to explore nature as you paddle through it. However, kayaks can be difficult to control for beginners who have never been on the water before. In this blog post, we will give you 10 tips that will help you master kayak skills so that you are able to get out on the water and enjoy all it has to offer!
It is important that you know how to read a kayak and understand the different parts of your vessel. Take some time to learn about all the various ways it can be used, what each part does, and what safety features are in place for when something goes wrong. The more you know before getting out on the water, the better!
- Bow (front) – stern (back) – decking or cockpit (area where one sits)
- Keel and centerline – these two lines provide an indicator as to whether or not you’re balanced properly with respect to gravity/weight distribution; if they don’t line up then you need to adjust accordingly so that there’s no risk of tipping over
- Waterline – this is the level of your kayak that’s in contact with the surface of the water; make sure it stays below a quarter inch to avoid flooding
- Stern line – this indicates how far aft you are sitting if there is one, otherwise use as reference point for where your seat should be and whether or not you need to adjust yourself further back so that weight distribution can be more balanced
Practice makes perfect. Before heading out on open waters, find some calm bodies of water like creeks, ponds or lakes and try paddling around them first before going into any rapids. This will help give you an idea of what type of kayaking would suit you best based on personal preference.
Good paddling form is crucial if you want to avoid injury while kayaking and also increase your efficiency in the water. Your arm should be straight, not bent at all when putting it into the water for a stroke. Keep your paddle close to the boat with one hand on top of the other before taking a scooping motion toward oneself then pushing away from yourself; this will help propel forward movement or turn around. The best way to learn how to do good kayak strokes is by watching others first so that you can mimic their motions correctly and give feedback as needed without hurting themselves unnecessarily
When starting off, kneel down in order to get up slowly from kneeling position rather than tripping over your kayak.
Learn how to do a self-rescue as this is the best way for you and/or others in that circumstance to get back into their boat. A self-rescue can be done by grabbing onto the edge of the kayak with one hand then using both hands on top of each other, placing them on either side of yourself so that your body weight will provide force enough to push off from behind you
Buy or rent kayaks before making big investments such as buying larger boats if you’re not sure about what type fits well for you just yet
Wear appropriate clothes while out paddling because they may rip against rough surfaces like rocks or puddles.
Always carry a first-aid kit in your kayak with items such as bandages, gauze, and antihistamines
Have buoyant material on hand to help you get back up from the water if necessary (such as an inflatable air mat), along with a paddle float that can ride behind your kayak’s stern which will prevent it from floating away after capsizing
Learn how to do self bailing by scooping out any excess water before paddling again so that you don’t end up sinking because of too much weight/pressure caused by remaining liquid inside the hull of kayaks. This is also important for those who are new to kayaking
Make sure that you are wearing a life jacket. You never know when unexpected weather or other factors could make you fall into the water and without one, there is no protection from drowning- especially if you have grown tired of paddling at some point during your journey
When entering the water for kayak surfing, be cautious about rocks on the beach which can damage/break parts of your body such as feet, legs, ankles and shins
Always take note of what time it gets dark so that you don’t end up being stranded out in open waters after sunset because this will put more pressure on both your mental state (having lost sight of land) and physical state (having to carry on kayaking without any light)
Always use a paddle guard so as not to damage your kayak’s blades
When paddling with two people, have one person in the back of the boat while they control where it goes. If you are alone, then switch between positions every now and again- this will help reduce muscle aches or pains from constant paddling
Avoid following large vessels such as big ships because their wake can cause capsizing for kayakers who are inexperienced
As soon as you start feeling tired during your journey, try resting more often by relaxing with your hands off of the paddle and just float on your back for a few seconds. This will help you rehydrate while also reducing fatigue
Always keep snacks such as granola bars and water bottles in the kayak so that you don’t have to stop paddling too often to refill or eat
When trying out different kayaks, always try them with all of the accessories installed like seats, foot braces etc. Otherwise this can lead to issues where they might not fit properly after purchase
Make sure that your safety equipment is stored close by (i.e. life jackets) if possible because it takes time when there is an emergency situation and every second matters! Plus having these items handy means you’re less likely to forget them
If you are paddling in a group, always agree on how far apart to kayak from one another before starting your journey
When the weather is not too good (i.e. rain or wind), it’s often better to paddle during or just after low tide because there will be less waves and stronger currents pushing against you
Always keep an eye out for wildlife when kayaking! They’re beautiful but can also pose dangers such as bites, entanglement etc so don’t forget about them
The number-one safety tip we can give? Wear a PFD at all times – even if you know how to swim! This is the best way to stay safe
Always bring some snacks and water with you! It’s important that your energy levels are sustained when kayaking.
Don’t forget about packing a first-aid kit – in case of an accident, it can be very helpful to have one on hand
If you’re having difficulty seeing where you need to go, use a white marker or flag as high up as possible so other boats will see them too (and steer clear)
Always pack sunscreen before going out – no matter what time of year it is! The sun can do quite a number on skin if left unprotected for long periods of time because there isn’t much shade on the water
Always wear sunscreen before going out – even in winter! The sun can do a number to your skin because there isn’t much shade while kayaking.
Try not to paddle for more than 20 minutes at one time without stopping and drinking some water or taking a break first. Your muscles need relief too, so it’s important you take care of them just as well as your body was taken with these tips!
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.