How to Kayak: A Guide for Beginners, by Beginners!

Taking up a sport as a beginner can be challenging and scary. Some sports are definitely scarier than others. Water sports can be more challenging and require more effort on our part. Kayaking is a sport that seems easy but can get difficult, depending on the circumstances and the kayaker. 

In order not to have any problems, or rather, to have fewer problems, here is a simple guide to kayaking for beginners, also written by beginners.

Start in Calm Waters

Starting to learn a water sport in a sea or ocean is difficult and more dangerous unless the sport is surfing, where it is basically a necessity. A lake is a much better place to learn kayaking, even though hardcore kayakers will say that rivers are better. Lakes do not move and allow you to focus on the basics while giving you a lot of water to work with. There is likely to be less traffic on a lake than in a sea unless you choose a remote location, which can be dangerous.

Go With an Experienced Kayaker

Beginnings are tough but learning the wrong things and then embedding them into your muscle memory is even worse. Kayaking, and any other sport and complex mechanical motion should be learned from an expert, someone who can teach you the most efficient moves and the ones that could save your life.

Experienced kayakers are also more likely to have a kayak, which you could borrow. If not, renting is the way to go, but having someone experienced with you on your first try is mandatory.

Learn the Basic Strokes

It is important to learn the basic strokes, the forward, reverse, and sweeping strokes. The first one is used to start moving the kayak forward. The second one is used for braking and going in reverse and the sweeping stroke is the basic stroke to steer the kayak left or right. These are the fundamentals of moving a kayak and should be among the first things you learn.

Safety First

Having a personal flotation device or PFD is essential. Never stray far enough from a shore that you cannot swim back. Make sure to have a wetsuit on, to dress as if you were going to capsize. Water temperature is not a joke. Make sure to go kayaking with a friend, someone who can help you if you get in trouble.

Kayaking, like any other sport, is hard to master. With these tips, you should be able to start your kayaking journey safer.