A guide to recreational kayaking
If you love water and adrenaline, and you like the sound of seeing the world from a different perspective, then kayaking may be the perfect outdoor activity for you. Here is a guide to kayaking, from calm waters to building up your skills to progressing to whitewater rapids or the sea.
What is a recreational kayak?
Recreational kayaks are stable, affordable and easy to control. This makes them the most popular kayak for beginners. These boats range from 9ft to 12ft in length and they have wide cockpits, which makes them easy to get in and out of the boat.
A common variant of a recreational kayak is the sit-on-top kayak. This design has shallow impressions in the top of the boat, instead of a cockpit. If you are a beginner and want to begin your journey into the world of kayaking, then you can see some reviews here for the best recreational kayaks on the market today.
Choose a paddle
For recreational kayaking, you will need a paddle. The average length of a paddle will be 210-220cm from tip to tip. If you want to go fast or you are heavy-handed, then you should look for a shorter paddle. Cheaper paddles will have a straight shaft. The more expensive paddles will usually have a bent shaft, which will put less stress on your wrists.
Safety gear for kayaking
You will need to make sure you have safety gear when you start recreational kayaking. This includes a personal flotation device, which is a specialised life vest to protect you if you fall out of the boat. It should cover your shoulders and neck and they should not inhibit the motion of your arms.
You should also invest in a bilge pump. This is a handheld plastic pump that can be used to take water out of your kayak. Finally, you’ll need to have float bags (if your boat doesn’t have them built into it).
The best way to paddle
Once you have all your gear, you will need to make sure that you know how to paddle your kayak in a safe, efficient and comfortable way. To do so, your upper and lower body must work together to power the paddle through the water and propel you forwards. You should maintain a power position with your arms and use the power of torso rotation for each stroke. Understanding the best way to kayak will reduce the risk of injuries.
Where to go kayaking
it is possible as a beginner to enjoy recreational kayaking on any calm waters, such as canals, rivers, lochs, lakes and the sea. If you want to take the sport up a notch, such as on faster moving waters or on tidal waters, you would be advised to book some tuition from a qualified guide.
Travelling by kayak is a wonderful experience and can lead to all kinds of great adventures.