Kayaking Basics For Beginners

Kayaking Basics For Beginners

Jared Harshbarger

Kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards all offer you a range from exhilarating to calm time on the water. They are relatively easy to use, are easy to move from place to place, and you can launch them right from the shoreline. Paddlesports are growing in popularity, and with these kayaking basics, you can join the fun.

Kayaking Basics Begin With Wearing a Life Jacket

When kayaking, you should be ready to capsize or swim, so wearing a life jacket is essential for your safety. If you are kayaking in cold water, immersion in low temp waters can lower your core body temperature and limit your ability to move. Having a life jacket will prevent you from drowning. Kayakers under the age of 12 are required under Federal law to wear a life jacket aboard any type of vessel, including kayaks.

If you are warm-weather/water kayaking, you should wear shorts or swimwear. Plan on protecting yourself from the sun's rays using sunscreen, a sun-shielding hat, or a long-sleeve/rashguard top. Experts advise wearing neoprene footwear (essentially a wet suit for your feet.)

Kayaking Basics Require You to Know Your Limits

You should be able to recognize weather conditions before heading out on the water. You should also know your physical limitations and conditions before heading out on a kayak. Before heading out on your kayak, make sure the weather conditions are favorable and you are physically capable.

Kayaking Basics Involve a Safety Check of Your Vessel

You should perform a safety check on your vessel before heading out on the water. This check involves checking the:

  • Paddle conditions
  • Hull
  • Deck
  • The leash is properly attached to your kayak and can be tethered to you

Kayaking Basics Include Knowing How to Adjust Your Kayak

If you ensure your kayak is well adjusted, it will be more comfortable and stable. It is best to make the adjustments while you are in shallow water or the kayak is still on dry land. These three points should be your primary focus:

  • Make sure your butt is snug against the seatback
  • The balls of your feet should reach the footpegs while allowing a slight bend in your knees
  • Your knees should have firm contact with each side of the cockpit of your kayak

Kayaking Basics Involve Knowing How to Launch the Kayak

Typically a kayak trip begins on a gradually sloping shoreline. When launching your vessel, make sure you do not drag it over rocks, a cement surface, or sand. Follow these steps to launch your kayak:

  • Set the kayak down in shallow water with your bow facing away from the shoreline and your stern close to the shore in an angled position. The kayak should be fully afloat
  • Straddle the cockpit as you stand over the kayak
  • Holding onto the cockpit, set your butt into the seat and settle your feet comfortably on the footpegs
  • Holding the paddle, use it to move yourself out into the water

Kayaking basics also include knowing how to leave the water when done with kayaking. It would be best if you paddled to your launch area and then reverse the steps above until you are standing outside the kayak and straddling the cockpit.

Kayaking Basics Include Knowing Where to Find the Best Kayaks

Hoodoo Sports' goal is to ensure everybody enjoys the outdoors to its fullest. We are ready to outfit you with the best kayak the market has to offer. As a family-owned business, we make our mission to provide top-of-the-line equipment with the best customer service. Talk with our experts to learn about kayaking basics and receive professional tips to make your kayaking experience the best possible.

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