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  • Top Kayaking Tips for Beginners

    by Ringo Ladue November 22, 2021 6 min read

    Top Kayaking Tips for Beginners. View from directly behind a kayaker on an open lake. Calm waters, clear skies, and trees wrapped around the lakes edge.

    The Top Kayaking Tips for Beginners

    Are you interested in water sports, and getting ready to pursue kayaking? 

    Kayaking is a great way to enjoy time with friends while getting some sun and exercise on the water. (Exercise isn't always fun, so when you find a great activity like kayaking to enjoy, it is a double-win!)

    If you're just getting started in the kayaking world, our kayaking guide for beginners is just what you need to hit the water smoothly.

    Keep reading to learn about the best kayaking tips for those just starting. 

    The Basics and Kayaking Safety

    Kayaking is one of the best ways to get out on the open water, enjoy mother nature, and get your body moving. It's also great because it doesn't take much to get started! 

    All you really need is a kayak, life jacket, and a paddle. With these items, as well as a friend, if you like, you are already ready to go. 

    Kayaking isn't inherently a dangerous sport, but it can be if you aren't prepared. White water kayaking has more risks than paddling around on the lake, but both have their dangers when you are ill-prepared. 

    While you are preparing for your kayaking trip you should answer these questions.

    • Can everyone swim on their own?
    • Does everyone know the plan?
    • Are we prepared for weather changes?
    • Are we prepared for low light conditions?
    • What are our emergency procedures?

    Each of these questions could be life-saving before you set off into the water. If any of these questions are answered negatively, you might postpone or reevaluate your trip to keep everyone safe. It's not always a popular decision to cancel an adventure, but safety always comes first.

    Besides your essentials, there are more items you should strongly consider bringing to make your trip both easier and safer. They are the following. 

    • River knife
    • Spare paddle
    • Self-rescue device
    • Helmet
    • Water and food
    • Dry bag to hold necessities 

    Bringing the appropriate items on your kayaking trip will help your journey go smoothly. A well-prepared kayaker is safer and happier. When you follow the right kayaking tips and avoid common mistakes, your trip is sure to be successful. 

    Before Setting Off

    Before setting off on your kayaking trip, there are a few things you should do to stay comfortable and have the best trip possible. This will help you stay safe while still having fun. 

    1. Learn Rapid Safety

    Rapid safety practices will help you make quick, possibly life-saving decisions while you are kayaking on white water rapids. If you are unfamiliar with rapid safety, now is the time to learn before your trip.  

    2. Duct Tape

    Bringing some duct tape is a pro-tip. Is your paddle shaft cracked? Use duct tape. Does your bag have a hole? Use Duct tape. Has your life jacket strap come un-sewn? Use duct tape. The product is incredibly versatile. 

    3. Know River Language

    When you are on noisy white water rapids, river language comes in handy to communicate. Much like signaling to cars when riding a bike, river language uses paddle and hand gestures to help kayakers talk to each other. 

    There are several websites that you can use to learn hand signals. Study before your trip! 

    4. Get Waterproof Storage

    Waterproof storage is extremely helpful when you are out on the water. Nothing is worse than a water-damaged smartphone or wet clothing after falling into the water. 

    You can find many options for waterproof storage such as heavy-duty, large dry bags. Or, small, clear bags just for your phone so, you can use it while it's protected. 

    5. Dress for the Water

    Even though it may seem that you'll stay dry, always dress for the water. If it's cold enough to wear a wetsuit, wear a wetsuit. If it's warm enough to wear a bikini, wear a bikini. Keep in mind not just the air temperature but find out what the water temperature is too.

    Have you ever worn jeans soaking wet? Take it from us; it isn't pleasant. Dressing only for the weather won't help if you accidentally get dunked in the water. 

    6. Stretch

    It's helpful to stretch before and after kayaking. To ensure you have minimal aches and cramps for the rest of the day it's a good idea to stretch thoroughly before you get on the water. There are even some videos online that show you how to stretch specifically after kayaking. 

    During your trip, you may stay in one position for an hour or more. This can tighten your joints and muscles that become painful. Do a quick reach and stretch routine as you end your journey. This will help to prevent any muscle tweaks or injuries as you exit.

    Woman kayaking on a lake. She is in an orange/yellow kayak and she is dressed in a tank top and hat on a nice summer day.

    Once on the Water

    When you're on the water, your trip has become the real deal. You should be ready for almost anything, and have everything you need for a successful trip due to the best kayaking tips.

    This is what you've been waiting for, you're going to do great! 

    1. Keep Alert

    Now is not the time to be on your phone or even listening to music. Listen to nature's sounds and watch for animals and rocks. Clear your head by listening to the sound of the waves and your paddle hitting the water.

    2. Don't Over Do It

    If you try to go as fast as possible right out the gate, you're going to tire yourself out. Try to enjoy the scenery and take your time. As a beginner, you should be focusing on your technique and the way you feel in your kayak.

    3. Move With the Kayak

    If you move against the kayak instead of with it you will find it more difficult to control. Try not to fight the waves and your kayak. You can use the kinetic energy of the kayak to your advantage. 

    4. Stay in Contact

    If you are kayaking with a group, do your best to stay near them. Especially when you are kayaking on white water rapids it can be dangerous to lose sight of your friends. 

    A good rule is to stay within eyesight and earshot of one another. 

    Leaving the Water 

    Kayaking is a lot of fun, but eventually, you have to get out of the water. Believe it or not, there are tips for that too. It isn't as easy as it seems, there are a few things you should do before leaving the shore. 

    1. Re-Stretch and Loosen Up

    After sitting down for a long time it is always a good idea to do a quick reach and stretch routine to make sure your muscles are ready to do what you want them to.

    Make sure that your feet and legs can move freely and are not compromised by a storage bag or cooler that might be in the way. 

    2. Check Your Things

    Checking your things means checking everything involved with your kayaking trip. Start by checking your kayak and other gear for tears, dents, or holes. Then move on to your dry bags to make sure nothing got wet. Finally, make sure everything is accounted for. 

    This quick double-check will ensure that any issues are immediately identified so that they can be promptly addressed. It might be as simple as a loose valve cap on an inflatable kayak or an accessory that needs to be stowed away.

    3. Dry Everything

    Once you know you have everything, you will want to dry everything. Never pack anything while it's still wet. When things are left wet you may have to deal with rust, musk, and mold later on. Learn from my previous mistake, make sure everything is dry.

    Leave your kayak upside down or at an angle that will allow any water to trickle out. When the kayak is not in use it is always better to store it upside down to keep any water from accumulating in the kayak. It will also prevent any animals from making it their home!

    Go Out and Paddle with Our Kayaking Tips

    If you follow these kayaking tips, your trip should go smoothly when you're ready to set out on the water. We want to provide you with the best kayaking experience, and that all starts with the perfect kayak. 

    Check out our website to explore our selection of kayaks that will not disappoint! As always, please contact us with any questions. We want to help get the most out of your kayaking adventures right away!

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