When it comes to getting out there on the water and enjoying what kayaking has to offer, it’s absolutely crucial that you first take the necessary steps to learn how to do it properly, and most importantly, safely. Boring I know, but kayaking can be very dangerous if beginners literally jump in with no training.
The first piece of advice I’d give is to take a beginner’s class in kayaking, which will teach you all the basics you need to know. There are a number of resorts which provide lessons in kayaking from fully trained instructors, that include theoretical training and in-water lessons!
After that, I’d always recommend that you go out with a friend if it’s your first time. NEVER go out on the water alone if you’ve never done it before. The great thing is, many kayaks are meant for two people anyway, and even groups of three or even four can be accommodated. So when first starting out, think safety in numbers!
Beyond that, there are some basic rules that you need to follow.
Warm Up – Kayaking can be extremely tough on the upper body, so make you stretch thoroughly and make sure that you’re prepared! The stronger your upper body is, the easier kayaking will be for you, so if possible, try to build up a bit of upper body strength beforehand as it will you a lot.
Learn the technique – As with any sport, technique is crucial if you want to be successful. You need to know how to hold the kayak paddle in the right manner, and how to use the paddle to steer the kayak in the right direction when needed. Many beginners often end up going round and round in circles because they haven’t learned the steering technique properly!
Follow the rules – If you are interested in kayaking, it’s vital that you do it properly from the very beginning and follow the rules. There are quite a few different kinds of kayaks, from river and ocean kayaks to those specifically designed for use on lakes or in rivers. Naturally, for each type of design and location, there are certain rules that you need to follow regarding the intrinsic dangers related to that environment. You need to know what to expect, how to deal with certain situations and how best to manoeuvre your kayak.
So if you’re thinking of taking up kayaking, you’ve made a great choice. It’s a fantastic pursuit that be enjoyed by the whole family. Just make sure you respect the water, get some training in and follow the rules!