Kayaking is not that easy a sport to jump into, especially if you have never paddled or rowed before. But with these few tips, you can make the best out of your newfound favorite outdoor activity:
Make sure you dress for the water
Choosing your dress for kayaking will depend on the water temperature; not on air temperature. A wetsuit may be ideal in waters that are cold while a well-fitting swimsuit should suffice for warm waters.
Get storage cases that are water-proof
Getting your expensive Smartphone water damaged is no way to enjoy a kayaking adventure. Those press-and seal storage containers might work great for your wallet and food; but for storing clothing and electronics you will need something sturdier.
Take some classes on rapid safety practices
Kayaking in white waters may require you to be aware of rapid safety practices. If your kayak flips you could be in a life-or-death situation. So make sure you know what it takes to be safe.
Rent before you buy
Before investing in any of the kayaking equipment it is important that you give kayaking a try. With more and more people taking up Kayaking as a hobby, many kayak renting services have started emerging over the past decade. It is not just kayaks and paddles that you need to rent; you will also need good life vests and helmets that can keep you safe.
Understand the river language
With rapids being noisy and distracting there is no way you will be able to call out for help while kayaking. You will have to therefore learn a series of gestures and hand signals to communicate with other kayakers.
Get a feel of the paddling style
Before you hit the water you might have to get a feel of how you paddle-stroke. For this you could use a hockey stick or a broom stick. Take an armless chair and straddle on it while holding the stick. Now start paddling from side to side. This should give you a fair idea about your paddling style.
Have physical maps handy
Relying on GPS could be a waste of time if you are going to be kayaking in the waters. You may not get the signal out there. So always check with a visitor center and get some print-outs of guidebooks or maps of the area you are going to be in.
Check the forecast
It may not be much of a problem to kayak through a light drizzle. But paddling through heavy rain is something you won’t be able to do, especially if you are a beginner. Make sure you check the weather conditions before you head out. If it has rained heavily a day or two before, you might be in for some turbulent waters.
Always carry some duct tape
You never know what is going to break when you are out kayaking. So it is always better to have a versatile adhesive on hand. It can help you tape up a cracked shaft of the rod or secure your gear from rolling around your seat.
Shop around a bit before you decide on a kayak that will help you get through. A 2 person fishing kayak should be good enough if you are going on your own or taking a friend along. Keep in mind the techniques and safety practices and focus on the waters all the time.