Kayaking is one of the fastest growing water sports. This is due largely to the fact that kayaking in general is a inexpensive form of entertainment on the water. Kayaks do not require fuel only a Kaykers energy. They are very easily portable and easy to store because of their design. Kayaking is a fun and exciting way to travel on water. Below you will find a great guide for beginners learning how to kayak.
#1 Learn the proper way to wear Life Jacket and safety equipment.
Kayak safety, which most new kayakers take for granted, is the most essential part of learning how to kayak. There have been far to many accidents that could and should have been avoided if people were wearing their PFD’s. It is designed to save your LIFE which it can not perform that duty on the shore or in the car. ALWAYS! Keep it on when you paddle.
Another great piece of safety equipment especially if you plan on kayaking through rapids, would be a kayak helmet. This is necessary if during your run you happen to fall out of the kayak. The kayak helmet will limit the injuries to your head.
Another great piece of safety equipment that even most experienced kayakers forget to wear is Kayaking shoes or some kind of protective closed toe sneaker. This is important for in the instance you do fall out of your kayak while tackling river rapids for safety purpose your head should face up river with your legs facing down river. Explanation: upon exiting your kayak due to external forces (rapids and rocks) a kayaker needs to just “ride the wave” out of the rapids to a safe location to re-enter their kayak. Your legs that face down steam will protect your body by acting as a buffer and taking the brunt force against the rocks. Your head will rest upon your life jacket safely out of harms way.
#2 Learn how to adjust and sit in the Kayak
Some kayaks have seats that can be adjusted to the Kayaker. This is important to learning how to kayak because this helps in balancing and control of the kayak. In addition perform this task while on dry land. It is difficult to make adjustments to the seat in the water plus you risk loosing your balance and accidentally falling into the water. When you sit in the seat you will find at your feet adjustable foot supports. Make sure you feet are stretched out and up against the foot supports. You will find that this will help with balancing your kayak in the water.
#3 Learn the proper way to get into your kayak.
There are many ways to perform this task but the most help way we have found is to find an area that there is just inches of water. Place the kayak in that area. When you decide to enter the kayak you will find that your weight will push the kayak that is in the water all the way to the bottom. This is due to the fact that you are placing your entire weight in one area and it is not dispersed through the entire kayak. At this point you need to crouch and once your rear hits the seat push out your legs to the from of your kayak resting them on the feet supports. Now you kayak should float again and your are ready to start kayaking. If you find that you are sill on the bottom a great tip is to use your paddle as a crutch. Place it in the water with the paddle end facing down and the other end in the air. Grab the top and lift your bottom out of the seat. This should cause the kayak to float again. Then push off with your paddle in the direction of deeper water and YOU ARE OFF!!!
#4 Learn how to hold the Kayak paddle and use it properly.
It is important early on in your new kayaking hobby to learn how to correctly paddle your kayak. First make sure your hands are just a little bit farther than your shoulders on either side of the paddle. In addition make sure they are the same distance from the center of the paddle. The next step is your grip. You do not want a death grip on the paddle because this will cause your fore arms to ache. You want a nice loose grip on your paddle. Every once in a while just wiggle your fingers to remind you to have a loose grip. Not too loose where a rock will knock it out of your hands but loose enough not to cause any pain.
#5 Learn how to operate the kayak
We find that the best way for a beginner to learn how to kayak is by watching an instructor teach you how to operate your kayak. See the video below.
Like the video mentioned, The Key Points ARE:
- Reach to your feat a pull the water back to go forward.
- Reach to the rear of the kayak and push forward to go backward.
- To turn, only paddle on one side of the kayak.
- To break, short quick strokes from your hip forward.
#6 Learn how to exit the kayak
The best way to exit your kayak without submerging your entire body into the water is to do the same task you performed while getting into your kayak but in reverse order. Find a shallow area. Bring your feet to your chest. Use your paddles on either side to lift your bottom out of your seat while placing your feet in one area to force the kayak down to the bottom. Exit the kayak and you are on your way.
We hope that you were able to find the information we provide useful. Learning how to kayak is always an adventure worth experiencing. There are some great health benefits too. The best way to go kayaking is with friends or family. By taking the first steps on learning how to kayak you will be one step ahead of your friends or family. In addition this time makes for some great stories or funny stories (someone falling into the water) around a camp fire. Thank You!