Kayaking is a popular adventure sport, and its sheer ease makes it easy to try. The recreational version is easy to learn, though you can go to the advanced level with whitewater kayaking later. While the basic version does not require overly technical skills, some simple measures can simplify the learning curve further. However, you should not take a chance with safety because water sports can get dangerous if one is not vigilant. Beginners can get a good start by learning the relevant skills, mastering paddling techniques, and practicing precautions. Let us share some kayaking hacks first-timers can rely on.
Find an easy launch location
Finding an easy launch location is perhaps the most crucial first-time kayaking trick for beginners. Look for a sandy beach to get a smooth start and limit the risk of injuries as a newbie. You may opt for a boat ramp, but ensure it does not have a crowd of expensive bass boats. Skip the rocky and shallow shorelines, as you may lose your footing while climbing in and out of the kayak on tricky terrains.
Learn the basics of paddling
Besides finding a good location for your launch, you must learn the basics of paddling to get started. The basics include learning to hold a paddle, orient it correctly, and perform basic paddle strokes such as forward, reverse, sweep, and draw. Additionally, you must learn to perform basic turns to manoeuvre your kayak. You can train under an expert or join a class to learn the skills. Plan your first outing only when you feel ready and confident.
Choose your kayak wisely
First-timers must also choose the right type of kayak for an easy start. Consider it like installing training wheels on a bicycle before going full speed. While there are several beginner-friendly options, an inflatable kayak is an ideal one. You can rely on these lightweight crafts because they are easy to manoeuvre and transport. Easy storage is another benefit of a blow-up kayak. Look for a one-person variant to indulge in leisurely cruising and enjoy exploring your surroundings as a newbie.
Never paddle without a PFD
A personal flotation device (PFD) is the lifeline of kayakers, whether beginners or seasoned pros. But think beyond only wearing a life vest because you must put on the PFD correctly to stay safe if something goes wrong. Secure it properly by securing the zipper and buckles. Also, tighten the straps until snug to ensure it stays on if you get into the water. Remember to choose the right size.
Check the forecasts
Kayaking safely as a first-timer is also about choosing the right weather. After all, getting caught outdoors in bad weather is the last thing you want to do, even if you are an adventure lover. You can check the weather forecasts to plan your expedition and follow your instincts even if it looks good. Avoid cold, windy, and rainy days for kayaking because the weather may end up ruining your experience.
Besides following these basics, always plan your first expedition with a group. Having seasoned paddlers around makes you feel safe and confident, so you enjoy the ride more.