A Beginner’s Guide To Kayaking

The lake was calling your name, so you bought a kayak. Now you want to know how to kayak, and what to bring. Maybe you also want to know the different types of kayaking in case you decide to leave your tiny lake. In this short blog we discuss kayaking across all dimensions, as well as the equipment you want to have with you, how to adjust and launch your kayak, how to handle your paddle, and finally, how to paddle!

The Different Types of Kayaking
The beauty of kayaking is that the sky is the limit. Just pick the type of kayak you want and you are good to go. Kayak safety gear is critical for maintaining a safe environment when you’re on the water, so always start there first and bring your equipments from OutdoorPlay. There are at least 5 different types of kayaking:

-recreational kayaking – casual, leisurely, fun kayaking on a lake; rental kayaks, and are normally wide and stable
-touring kayaking – long-distance paddling; long and narrow kayak with an open front and one sealed bulkhead (located behind the paddler)
-sea kayaking – open ocean fun; kayaks have two sealed bulkheads, typically a rudder to help with steering, and are at least 15 feet long
-white water kayaking – through the rapids with varying specialized boats depending on the rapid
-surf kayaking – in the ocean, essentially like surfing but sitting down
-sit-on-top kayaking – recreational or “sport” kayaking
-sport kayaking – kayaking with a purpose, like fishing, diving, or camping

Necessary Equipment
No matter the type of kayaking, you still need some equipment. Proper clothing is a must. Sun protective clothing, cold weather clothing, and footwear are very general categories, though do your research for a more comprehensive list depending on the type of kayaking. You always want a life vest and paddle, and do not forget your kayak! Last but not least, you want a helmet if you are doing any dangerous kayaking.

Handling your Kayak
Three steps you can follow to get comfortable and safe:
1. Sit with your lower back firmly against the seat.
2. Put the balls of your feet on the foot holders with a slight bend to your knees.
3. Press your bent knees firmly against the cockpit sides.

And here is how you can launch your kayak:
1. Place your kayak perpendicular to the shore.
2. Put a paddle in the cockpit.
3. Straddle the cockpit.
4. Sit in the cockpit then put your feet in.
5. Get comfortable and safe (see above).
6. Take your paddles and chart the incoming waves, and apply your spray skirt (if applicable).

Paddling and Strokes
You want to lightly grip the paddle with the long edge up (if the paddle has words on it, make sure the words are right-side-up!). Line your knuckles up with the edge of the blade.

Basic strokes help you move forwards, backwards, sideways, turn, and prevent a capsize.

Kayaking is a simple and fun activity that can also be much more! The next step is to get out there and try.

Author Bio: Paige Jirsa– I work with Top10.Today, a shopping comparison site, where we strive to help consumers find the best quality and priced products.