49 Kayaking Tips for Beginners

49 Kayaking Tips for Beginners
  • Post category:Kayaking
  • Reading time:17 mins read

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Kayaking is a fun, exciting sport to try. It gives you time by yourself or with your friends and family away from the busyness of life in the city that allows you to enjoy nature at its best! However, kayaking is not an easy task if you do not know what you’re doing. So here are some kayaking tips for beginners to give you a head start.

1. Choose the appropriate kayak

Make sure your kayak is the appropriate size for your body. Do not buy a child’s kayak or one made for an adult just because it is on sale, thinking that it would be good enough. There are some designs that may fit well with others but may not work well with you. It may be very uncomfortable to paddle if the kayak is too big or too small for you because paddling can take up a lot of energy.

2. Research the place before you go

Do your research on where you want to go kayaking, what the currents are like there, and any possible obstructions in the water that might get in your way. This would help you determine what kayak is best for that particular type of water. Make sure your kayak excels in that area or has the necessary equipment to handle it.

3. Get used to your Kayak

Another tip for beginners is to get used to the feel of your kayak, especially if you are still learning to paddle. So before you go on a long kayaking trip, it would be advisable to take your kayak out for several short trips so you can get the feel of paddling and maneuvering in your kayak. This way you can identify any problems with your kayak before setting off on an adventure.

4. Bring security equipment

Once you have identified what type of equipment that is best suited for kayaking in a particular area, make sure that you have the necessary safety equipment required for it. It is crucial to go kayaking with another person who can help you in emergency situations if something happens. Make sure your kayak has all the necessary equipment such as flashlights, water signaling devices, and flares in case of accidents or emergencies.

5. Keep an eye of your surrounding

Kayaking is not just about the equipment that you bring with you. You also need to be aware of your surroundings and any changes in water conditions such as currents and wind, which could affect how well your kayak maneuvers and tips over or fills up with water. So it would be a great idea to practice paddling in open areas so you can get a feel of how it works and if any problems arise, you can work on solving them before encountering anything potentially dangerous.

6. Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated is important, no matter what you are doing. So make sure you bring plenty of water with you on your kayaking trip to keep yourself refreshed and energized throughout your kayak adventure.

7. Right paddle blade size

The most important tip for beginners would be to use the right blade size for your paddle. Using a large paddle will require more strength and could tire you out easily while using a small paddle will not let you go as far and as quickly because it does not give you the necessary power and speed.

8. Never go alone kayaking

If possible, go kayaking with an experienced kayaker to learn some tips and tricks that come along with the sport. They can help ease your struggles and become a valuable asset to your kayaking team. They can also help you rescue others in case of emergencies.

9. Bring some extra clothes

Be sure to pack a spare change of clothing, especially shoes and underwear, because wet clothes will make it uncomfortable for you as time goes on. Paddling is an absolute workout that gets your heart pumping quickly and uses a lot of muscles, so make sure you stay hydrated and that there is a place to change your clothes and dry off.

10. Practise

Practice makes perfect! So the more you kayak, the better you will get at it and this can help immensely when going on longer expeditions. Remember to take all these tips into consideration before kayaking and your kayaking trip will be a much more enjoyable experience.

11. Proper dress for the water

Be sure you dress for the water, especially if it is cold. You have to wear enough layers so that your body heat can stay in and keep you warm, but not so many layers that cannot be easily removed once they become wet from being in the water. This would increase your chances of staying safe while kayaking. Make sure you bring along your spare clothes to change into because if you stay wet for too long, it could lower your body temperature and cause hypothermia.

12. Be prepared

Kayaking can be a very rewarding sport, but only if you are prepared for whatever may happen on the water. Bring plenty of snacks and drinks to keep yourself energized throughout your trip. Look into your surroundings and behind you at all times to make sure there are no obstructions or other vehicles on the water. Also, listen carefully to any warnings such as strong currents and wind.

13. Know your limits

Since kayaking is a pretty strenuous sport, it is important to know your limits and not overexert yourself. Make sure you wear the proper clothing depending on what kind of weather it will be while out on the water and you do not push yourself too hard.

14. Always wear a life jacket

It is absolutely essential that you wear a life jacket every time you go kayaking, no matter where or for how long your trip will be. Even if you feel like something is unlikely to happen, the extra safety precautions will not hurt and who knows when it would come in handy. Also, make sure you know how to operate it before going out on the water.

15. How to get in and out of the kayak

When kayaking, you have two ways that you can enter or exit your kayak – stern entry and bow entry/exit. A stern entry is when you waddle over to the back of your kayak and climb in, which should be done with a kayak that is already floating in the water. A bow entry/exit is when you jump into your kayak from a dock or shoreline and this should only be done by experienced kayakers.

16. No experience?

If you do not have any kayaking experience whatsoever, it would be wise to take a beginner’s course first before attempting anything on your own. You can learn some excellent tips and tricks that will teach you how to properly kayak in different situations. It is the safest way to practice because there are professionals nearby that can help you if something were to happen.

17. Watch the weather

Make sure you check out how the weather will look for your trip before going kayaking, as it could have a few differences from what you expect. The wind and currents can be very different because of this, so always be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on the weather as well as the time.

18. Spot your kayak – day and night

Be sure to make your kayak easy to spot at all times, especially if you are on a lake or near water (especially whitecaps) because it can be hard to see something that is small. Get creative with how you decorate/color your kayak so that it looks as vibrant as possible and you can always carry something with you to help others spot you from far away.

19. Test your gear before going on the water

Before taking your equipment out onto the water, be sure to test everything beforehand to make sure there are no faulty parts/equipment and nothing will go wrong while you are kayaking. This is especially important if your equipment was not bought brand new and potentially has some defects, which could easily be resolved before going out on the water.

20. Always bring a repair kit

Since you never know when something could go wrong while kayaking, be sure to always bring a repair kit in case of an emergency. Even if the equipment looks fine and everything seems to be working properly, having a basic toolkit can save your trip and make it that much better when you do not need it.

21. How to keep your paddle afloat

If you happen to lose your paddle, no need to worry – there are ways that you can make it float in the water so that you can easily grab it if it floats close enough or someone retrieves it for you. The best method is wiring the paddle to the boat, but this is not always possible. The next best alternative is to attach a plastic bag filled with air around it, which can make it float very well and easy to spot from far away.

22. Learning the Strokes

The different strokes will allow you to move forward, backward, or turn/maneuver your way through tight spaces in waterways, so it is best to know them all. Especially as a beginner, you want to be as prepared as possible and learn as much as you can before you hit the water or during your first few trips out.

23. Invest in waterproof storage cases

When kayaking, it is important to bring your phone and other electronic devices because you never know when you might need them or they could break. For this reason, be sure to pack everything into waterproof storage containers (ideally dry bags), as they will protect them from harm and provide the extra protection that you need.

24. PFD

A life jacket, or PFD (Personal Flotation Device), should always be worn when kayaking and it is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you will need. You should aim to get a kayaking-specific life jacket like a buoyancy aid so you stay safe on the water at all times.

25. Kayak Safety

There are some additional statistics which you should be aware of when kayaking, including the fact that it is one of the most dangerous sports in the world. For every 100,000 participants, there are around 14 deaths reported on average – so always know what you are getting into first before attempting to kayak.

26. How to hold your paddle

There are two different grips to hold your paddle with – the power grip and the feathering grip. The power grip allows you to use one hand, but it can be tiring because you will need to apply more force, while the feathering grip is what kayaker’s call a ‘European’ blade angle which can make it easier on the arms/hands/shoulders but requires using both hands.

27. How to turn your kayak

The key to turning your kayak is the steering stroke, which will allow you to maneuver yourself in whatever direction that you want or need to go in. If you are just starting out with kayaking and still getting the feel of it, it is very important to know that the stern (back end) of your kayak will always follow where the bow (front end) is pointing.

28. Paddle float

If you happen to capsize while kayaking and fall out of your boat, you can stay afloat by using a paddle float – this device allows you to stay on top of the water while keeping your kayak afloat at the same time. Although this may not always be how you want to spend your day, it can provide an excellent learning experience and help you become more comfortable in the water.

29. Rent a kayak before buying it

If you are thinking about becoming a regular kayaker and potentially buying your own equipment, it is best to first try it out before spending the money. This means renting a kayak for a few sessions or even asking if you can borrow one from someone who has one, as this will give you the opportunity to assess whether or not paddling is right for you.

30. If you capsize, stay with your kayak/paddle

One of the worst things that can happen while kayaking or canoeing is to lose your paddle or other equipment because it can make it a lot harder to get back onto the water and cause problems further down the line. Invest in a waterproof case and always stay with your kayak and/or paddle if you need to exit it for any reason.

31. Always take a map

When kayaking or canoeing, it is always important to bring a map because many waterways are not well known and you could get lost quite easily. This may seem like an obvious tip for beginners, but some people will forget this on their first few trips out if they are not careful!

32. Consider using thigh straps

Thigh straps can provide a little more stability when you are kayaking and can be very useful for beginners. They will help to keep your legs together while paddling, which means that they can also help to improve the overall performance of your boat.

33. Keep the correct posture

You should know that there is a specific way that you should sit in your kayak in order to get the best performance. It is important that your back is straight and you try to avoid any unnecessary movements while paddling.

34. Keep your knees bent when using thigh straps

You should know that keeping your legs bent will help with stability in kayaks, which can make it easier for beginners when they are trying to find their balance.

35. Keep your hips forward for optimum paddling

When you are setting up your kayak, it is important to place your hips in the correct position so that you can be as efficient as possible when applying power to the water. Pushing your hips back will help with stability and create more power when pushing through the water – this is the technique that will allow you to achieve the longest stroke length and highest speed.

36. Pace yourself on longer trips

If you are kayaking or canoeing on a longer trip, it is important to remember that you will probably need to stop for food and water at some point. You should know that stopping too often can be very tiring so try not to do it every hour – instead, plan your breaks around halfway through the day/after a few hours of paddling.

37. Keep your back straight on lakes

If you are kayaking on a lake, it is important to keep your back straight while moving in order to reduce water resistance – this will make you more efficient and help with speed. If you paddle with your back bent for too long, you will feel the strain in your muscles after a short period of time.

38. Keep your core tight when kayaking on rivers

When you are operating in rapids or moving quickly through the water, it is important to keep your core engaged to help with speed – this will also allow you to be more stable in the boat.

39. Stay alert at all times

It is always important to stay alert when you are kayaking or canoeing, particularly if you are in an area where you do not know the features very well. This will allow you to anticipate any problems that may arise and can help to prevent accidents from happening.

40. Stay in contact with others you are with

Whether you are kayaking in a group or with family/friends, it is always important to stay in contact so that you can check on each other and ensure that they do not get lost. This also applies when you are out alone.

41. Use binoculars to check for obstacles

If you are kayaking in an area where there may be submerged rocks, it is important to use binoculars so that you can see them ahead of time. This will allow you to avoid any problems before they happen and even paddling your boat around them.

42. Stretch out your legs before getting into the kayak

You should always stretch out your legs before you get into the kayak, particularly if you have been sitting for a long period of time. This can prevent stiffness and cramping in your muscles so that you are more prepared to kayak with ease.

43. Use sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30

Sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 should be used when you are kayaking in order to avoid any sunburn. This can help to prevent discomfort or illness so that you can enjoy your trip without worrying about the damage done by exposure to the sun.

If you are using sunscreen, it is always highly recommended that you use a waterproof type in order to avoid any issues with it wearing off as a result of exposure to water. This is particularly important if you are kayaking or canoeing for a long period of time.

45. Use high-calorie, quick energy snacks for the most benefits

You should know that using foods with high calories is a good idea when you are kayaking because they will provide your body with the energy it needs. Eating quick energy food will allow you to have more immediate access to it so that you can take advantage of this increased endurance – be sure to remember snacks, water and sunscreen if you are going out for a long trip.

46. Use a spray skirt if you are kayaking or canoeing in cold weather

If you are kayaking or canoeing in cold weather, it is highly recommended that you use a spray skirt to prevent icy water from getting into your boat – this will help to keep the contents of the kayak warmer for longer periods of time even if you fall in the water.

47. Dry your things before you get in

If you are kayaking or canoeing, it is important to dry off your things before you get into the boat so that nothing gets wet during transport. This will help to prevent mold, mildew, and/or musty smells from making their way into your equipment if they get wet.

48. Only choose the best quality gear

You should only choose the best quality kayaking equipment possible because this will help to ensure that it lasts for a long time, particularly if you are planning on being out on the water frequently. This will reduce your likelihood of accidents that can occur as a result of subpar equipment breaking or malfunctioning.

49. Double check before go out

Before you go out on the water, it is always important to double-check your gear and make sure that everything for which you will need access is easily accessible. This can help to ensure that nothing gets forgotten and also prevent any problems from happening as a result of not having an item readily available when you need it.

Kayaking is an amazing activity for people of all skill levels so keep these tips in mind next time you go kayaking to ensure that you remain safe on the water.

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