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Kayaks are narrow and compact watercraft generally used by one person. Since this type of boat is typically used for sports and aquatic events, many people view it as sporting equipment. There are various kayaks to choose from, each with a distinct design and intended use.
Broadly speaking, there are three main categories of kayaks: those designed for surfing and other forms of recreation, those designed for fishing, and those designed for touring and leisure, which are sometimes referred to as ocean kayaks.
Why Is Kayaking So Popular?
It’s easy to see kayaking’s appeal. It provides a great upper-body workout, a fun way to spend time doing an outdoor activity, and it doesn’t cost much compared to other water sports. There are several things you should learn once you’ve decided to give kayaking a shot. In addition to identifying common mistakes to avoid, learn the basics of kayaking before venturing out.
What Equipment Is Necessary for Kayaking?
Besides the kayak itself, the equipment required for kayaking includes:
- Paddle– you need a paddle for maneuvering the kayak on the water.
- Lifejacket – An essential gear that should never be left behind when partaking in water activity.
- Bilge pump – This is a must-have if you need to remove water from your kayak swiftly.
A Beginner’s Guide To Kayaking Techniques
Learning how to paddle a kayak is next on the list. Having such knowledge can keep you safe and help you avoid injuries.
§ Handling A Paddle
A paddle’s shaft is the portion of the paddle that you grip. Holding a paddle correctly involves keeping your hands on the shaft at a distance beyond shoulder width. One common error novice kayakers make is gripping the paddle the wrong way. Remember that the concave side of the blade should always face you when you’re using the paddle.
§ Sitting In A Kayak
Recline comfortably in your kayak’s seat with your legs stretched out in front of you. You may lean your bent knees against the kayak’s side for further stability.
The front of your kayak may feature a set of footpegs that you can use to steady yourself. You’ll have to adjust these footpegs if your knees are touching your body or your legs are completely straight.
§ Paddling Forward
To propel yourself forward with a paddle, twist your body from the core, bend forward, and place the paddle near your feet in the water. Next, draw the blade back toward you and out of the water. Stroke all the way from the feet to the seat. Repeat on the other side.
§ Turning The Kayak
For a left turn, paddle just with your right hand. To make a right turn, paddle just with your left hand.
§ Stopping The Kayak
Putting your paddle in the water and holding it there will cause your kayak to halt. The water current will cause it to skid, but your kayak will eventually come to a complete halt after a while.
If the word “paddle” piques your interest in paddleboarding, you should check out our paddleboard buyers guide.
Essential Types of Paddle Strokes
Four fundamental paddling movements are necessary for moving forward, backward, and sideways in a kayak and making a complete turn.
- Forward Stroke– Simply stroking forward with your paddle will propel your kayak forward.
- Reverse Stroke– Using this stroke will cause your kayak to go in reverse.
- Sweep Strokes – Paddle around corners with broad, sweeping strokes to turn the kayak.
- Draw Stroke– Sideways movement in a kayak is accomplished using a draw stroke.
Where and How Should You Start
If this is your first time kayaking or if you’re still learning the ropes and plan on going out on the water by yourself, we recommend that you keep in mind the following safety guidelines:
- Choose a quiet, little lake where you can easily see the far shore. The absence of artificial waves in bodies of water without much powerboat activity is a positive factor. You’ll have better control over your movements and your kayak.
- It’s best to practice kayaking near a coastline where people on the ground may see you.
- Make sure your first few excursions are quick and secure. If you want to keep environmental challenges to a minimum, pick a sunny day with no forecast of rain or strong winds.
- You should also be aware of your physical limitations and not push yourself past the point of moderate discomfort when kayaking. Similar to how you wouldn’t want to overdo it at the gym, you shouldn’t push yourself too hard during your initial kayaking sessions. Keep your initial journey short (an hour tops) and increase the duration on subsequent trips if you enjoy yourself.
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