There is something magical about being in the water on a kayak; the smooth movements are extremely relaxing. The feeling you get while in the middle of a huge mass of water, while at the mercy of a small vessel, will bring you a great sense of Awe. Speak to anyone who has been on a Kayak, and they will tell you that it is an awesome experience.
No two people experience being in a kayak at the same level. For some, it is a way to get away from the stressors of life, and some do it for physical exercise. For others, it is a way of expressing their competitive nature by taking part in kayaking sports. Whatever the reason, it is an experience worth having.
If you have had the itch to learn how to kayak, or want to kick up your kayaking a notch, then you will want to read on.
Before starting out
If you are a beginner, we would suggest that before going into the open water, you give yourself time to learn some basics. This will require that you sign up for classes where the instructor will give invaluable tips.
If you have a friend who has a two-person kayak, you can request to go along on some rides, so that you can observe what they are doing.
Understanding the water and the kayak type
- Slow-moving or calm water
If you are kayaking in slow-moving or calm water, you will need a recreational kayak. These types of kayaks are stable, affordable, and are good for beginners. You may initially want to rent a kayak as opposed to buying when you are still learning. But, if you prefer to own one, be ready to spend in the range of $200 to $1500.
Recreational kayaks have wide cockpits and are easy to mount and dismount; Checkout dreamguides.com for more great tips on buying a kayak. You have the option of the sit-on-top kayak and the sit-in-the cockpit kayak. The former is great for fishing expeditions because it allows you for more flexibility with regard to movement.
- Open Sea
A touring kayak is great for the open sea. You can get one for between$800 and $1800. The more premium ones can go up to $6,000 because of the quality of their material.
A touring kayak is about 17 feet long, and you will need to have a little experience to use them. Touring Kayaks can cover long distances and have ample space in case you need to store anything. The cockpit is small, which makes it comfortable to use, even in rough water.
Do not try to ride rapids if you are completely new to kayaking; take some lessons first. You will need to learn how to roll so that if you capsize, you can right the boat and yourself easily. However, if you have some experience and are looking to buy a kayak, then a white Water Kayak is the best for you.
Prepare to spend $700-$1500 on a White Water Kayak. They tend to be short, round and easy to maneuver; a functionality that will help you dodge rocks and other obstacles. The small cockpits will allow you to sit securely even in choppy water.
A person of average height will be comfortable using a paddle that measures 210cm to 220 cm tip to tip. Those with a straight shaft are a bit cheaper than the ones with a bent shaft. However, the latter is more comfortable to use and will result in less stress and fatigue for you.
A point to note though is different boats have different paddle requirements. Do your research and ask for advice from the seller.
- Float bags
If you get a boat that does not have a bulkhead, the buoyancy of your kayak will reduce. In case you fall into the water, you would need the kayak to remain buoyant so that it does not flip over or sink.
Float bags are great because they are inflatable bags, and once you finish with your kayaking excursion, simply let out the air and store it well.
- Bilge pump
There are instances when water will get into the kayak, and you need a way to get it out. A bucket may be slightly helpful, but you cannot paddle and throw water over the side at the same time. You therefore need to invest in a bilge pump; it will remove the water fast while leaving your hands free to do the necessary paddling.
- Spray skirt
When you are sitting in the cockpit, you will need to waterproof it so that water does not enter. A spray skirt is a water-resistant neoprene seal that will help you seal off the cockpit.
- Type of clothing
If you’re going out in warm weather, you can enjoy the day in your swimwear or shorts. For the top, wear short or long sleeve tops that are not restrictive. If you see any signs that it might rain, also bring along a lightweight and a spray jacket. Carry along a hat to shield your face from the sun.
- Additional things to carry
- You do not want to risk dehydration, so make sure you carry along plenty of water.
- An energy bar in case you get hungry.
- Sunscreen and lip balm is important if you will be kayaking in sunny weather.
- A watch to keep time
- A whistle in case you run into danger
- Headlamps in case you’re out later than you thought you’d be
- Dry bags for anything wet when you get back to shore.
Kayaking is fun and a great way to exercise. For a beginner, learn the basics before you go out into the open seas. You do not have to buy a kayak right away because there are places where you can rent them affordably.
Also ensure that you have the right equipment and the right technique, including launching the kayak, mounting, and dismounting, among others