All through last year, I kept making plans to kayak but somehow, that did not happen. So, obviously, I’ll be doing that this year. As I do not want to appear like a novice when I eventually get down to it, I have been asking a lot of questions on kayaking.

Kayaking is a fun water activity for those who want to connect with nature, appreciate the world around them, get a full body workout, and take on an exciting new hobby.

If you are like me and want to go kayaking but have a fear of making mistakes, these tips will help you.

WHAT TO WEAR

  • Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature.
  • Dress in layers, especially on top.
  • Dress for sun protection.
  • Avoid cotton (retains water); seek quick-drying fabrics instead.
  • Wear clothes that will be comfortable for long periods of sitting.
  • Wear clothes that let you move comfortably.
WHILE YOU ARE ON THE WATER, 
  • Sit straight and sit tight. While sitting with your back supported in the kayak, place the balls of your feet in the foot guides.
  • Pace yourself. Don’t be in a rush.
  • Be alert
  • Bring binoculars
  • Stay in contact with others.
  • Move with your kayak, not against it.

LEARNING HOW TO USE A PADDLE

 Know and practice the basics.

While it appears quite straightforward, pulling a paddle in water is often a big challenge for beginners. If you are a beginner, make sure you know what works and what does not. The fundamentals of kayaking include:

  • Gripping your paddle lightly to be able to control your boat’s movements while remaining flexible and reducing your chances of muscle strain.
  • Using rapid, rhythmic and deep forward strokes to move your boat faster.
  • Using sweep strokes to correct your moves and maneuver your boat. The sweep strokes ought to be wider than forward strokes and may be reversed according to the turns you wish to make.
  • Sticking to your pace and range of paddling, making sure you are comfortable and can move naturally on water.
  • Ensure  your upper body retains a balanced center of gravity so you can steer your boat easily and avoid tipping into the water.

GETTING COMFORTABLE WITH THE BOAT

  • Get boat that suits you, picking one that is slightly too large over one that is too small as you can always modify or pad the cockpit of a large kayak.
  • To improve the stability and comfort level of your kayak, you can adjust the foot braces, seat back and the front edge and thigh braces of your seat on every kayak you paddle.
  • You can modify the cockpit and use stretches and other exercises to reduce pain and numbness in your legs and paddling muscles.

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