Adrenaline Pumping Water Sports, Things to Know About kayaking
Are you looking to get into a water sport but unsure of what you should have a go at? One that is considered an extreme sport, but can be done by people of any skill level is kayaking. It's growing in popularity every year and it's not really weather dependent, there's a kayak for all sorts of water conditions! Unlike a lot of other water sports, you'll find kayaking schools, classes, and other clubs pretty much everywhere and they're relatively cheap to get involved with too.
While it is for people of any skill level if you're just getting started you should always be aware of the safety aspects of any sport, especially an extreme water sport such as this. Make sure you take into account that water is unforgiving and you won't be able to out muscle it as such, so whether you're doing sea kayaking or fresh water riving kayaking, be respectful of the power of nature!
So, we need to make sure we get the correct equipment before we head on out there, we'll talk about the actual kayak in a bit, but first the safety gear you will need! First off, you need to get a helmet, if you're doing river kayaking you can without a moment’s notice fall out if unprepared, you don't want to risk a head injury, so get a helmet!
If you're going into deep water, consider getting a personal flotation device, if you suffer an injury at sea, having one of these will keep you afloat while you wait for rescue, potentially a life-saying piece of kit! Depending on how adventurous you are and how far you venture, consider a small emergency kit including a first aid kid (we won't go into details, this one should explain itself) and a pocket knife for if you need to cut a line or if you get caught in some netting at sea. It's one thing lots of people don't think about but wish they had when it happens!
Picking the Right Kayak for you
So now we've got the more boring stuff out of the way, you're going to need to decide on the first type of kayak to buy. We say the first type because if you know any kayakers, they never stop with just one! You get a taste for it and want to try out new things all the time.
The two main types of kayaks you'll want to consider are either, sit on-top kayaks or a touring type, which is where you're more cocooned within the kayak. The latter generally have a better overall handling experience as you have a greater feel for the water, but they can be a little more intimidating for the newbie who's getting in the water for the first time. Most first timers will opt for the sit on type for their general overall usability, you can move onto other sorts later on when you get more experience.
You have to keep in mind that each different brand or kayak comes in different sizes for different sized occupants. Check with the manufacturer if you're ordering online, or in-person with the salesperson who should be able to give you experienced opinions and facts on what is right for you.
Get your Technique with your Paddle Right
One of the biggest questions we get quite often is how to best use the paddle to get the most out of your movement without needing to be an Olympic strength bodybuilder! Many people give up after a couple of attempts because they feel the force they think they need to get moving. With a couple of tips, this can be alleviated and you'll find your experience a much more enjoyable one.
Hold the paddle with both hands with about a 40 cm distance between your hands and keep it roughly between 30-40 cm away from your body for the most comfortable positioning. Depending on the type of paddle you end up buying with your kayak, they can often be held the wrong way without knowing! If there is a tapered effect on it, make sure that's the part that hits the water first and that the smooth side is facing towards you, meaning less resistance with the water. A lot of paddles come with the writing engraved on them just so as to help you remember which way to hold it, it sounds simple enough, but a number of people who forget this simple thing is very high and it can ruin your whole experience!
You want to make as little of a splash as possible with your paddle, make sure it goes deep enough to really push against the water, if you're splashing near the surface, a lot of your effort is wasted and you won't be going anywhere fast!
The other most frequently asked question we get is about kayaks tipping over. How easily does it happen and how to avoid it? The short answer is, you will fall out of your kayak at some point, everyone does, but with a little bit of care, this can be kept to a minimum. Most falls often occur from trying to fight against the flow of the water (you will never win) or from fooling around with friends! If you keep it sensible and always treat the water with respect as we mentioned above when talking about the safety aspect, incidents like these will be kept to a minimum. Lastly remember though, falling in water rarely hurts unless you're among st rocks, so try not to be afraid of it either!
So, we hope you've found this to be helpful and inspires you to get out there! Remember, there is a lot more to experience when your skill set improves, such as white-water kayaking which is perhaps the most extreme form of kayaking and gives you one of the best thrills you can experience on the water!
It's now time to experience what kayaking has to offer you! Be sure to get involved with groups and make some new friends, kayaking with a group can be great fun and offer up all sorts of adventures!