Nothing beats gliding across a glassy stretch of water on a kayak. Kayaking is one of the best ways to explore the outdoors. Many people are attracted to kayaking due to its allure. If you are an enthusiastic fisherman, you have plenty of cheap fishing kayaks to choose from. A kayak will take you to new fishing spots.
But taking up a new hobby may be daunting and confusing for many people. If you’ve not done rowing or paddling before, a kayak may leave you feeling like a fish out of water. A few key kayaking tips and tricks will go a long way in easing a newbie into kayaking.
Whether you are planning to take on the most difficult rapid or just paddle through a glassy-smooth lake, you need to take into account some key kayaking tips and learn some benefits. Our hand-picked top 5 kayaking tips and tricks for beginners will be of immense help-
Top 5 Kayaking Tips and Tricks
Learn to use the rudder effectively
The main purpose of a rudder isn’t for steering your kayak; it is to keep your kayak going straight. The rudder is especially useful when you’re paddling in windy conditions where your boat naturally tends to turn into the wind (called weather cocking).
The rudder is used to counteract the kayak’s susceptibility to weather cocking. Without a rudder, you’ll struggle to keep your kayak going straight. You’ll struggle even more if there is a side wind blowing. So, in deep waters with a lot of wind, going rudderless is foolhardy. It would be best if you learned to use the rudder effectively before you venture to deeper waters.
Know thy limitations
You must understand your limitations and where you can take your kayak. If you kayak in windy conditions, don’t venture further from shore than you can comfortably swim. It is not worth exposing yourself and the people you’re paddling with risk unless you’ve taken a sea kayaking course.
Understand your limitations by practicing re-entering your kayak from the water before a situation to do it for real arises. If you can’t re-enter your kayak confidently from the water, it is better to stay close enough to the shore so that you can comfortably swim back in case of an accident.
Fix a customized roof rack
If you become an avid kayaker, you’ll do yourself a favor if you invest in a good set of roof racks for your vehicle. A good rack will prevent any nightmarish scenario like your kayak flying off the car roof while transporting it, for example. Moreover, you want the transporting to be as convenient as possible to let you enjoy kayaking in different locations.
Avoid factory-installed racks that come with some vehicles. The best rack setups come from specialty manufacturers who have racks to fit almost any vehicle. They also have unique systems that make loading, unloading, and tying down the boat more manageable and safer. A customized kayak rack will go a long way in keeping your travel with your kayak hassle-free.
Use your upper body weight for more power
Harness the power of torso rotation for all your strokes. That means engaging your whole upper body for your strokes and not just your arm muscles. This means you need to swivel at the waist when you take a stroke to propel the kayak rather than just pulling with your arms only. The torso rotation action will harness your body weight to power your kayak more efficiently.
Kayaking Tips Safety
The last but one of the essential tips dwells on the safety considerations while kayaking. Kayaking is a safe activity when compared to some other water sports. But situations do arise where things can get dire very quickly. So to assume a conservative and safety-conscious attitude while kayaking, follow these safety rules-
- Alcohol and kayaking never go together. Avoid alcohol and other intoxicants while in a kayak.
- Always enter the water with the life jacket on. You have many excellent paddling-specific jackets to choose from. Choose one that is comfortable and unrestricted. This will give you fewer reasons to take them off!
- Understand the conditions and dress appropriately. You have a large selection of clothing made especially for use in water sports. Choose an outfit that is made to withstand the rigors of nature of that particular season.
- Finally, be aware that kayaking in cold waters carries additional risks, and you must be even more conservative with all your decisions.
- Never overload a kayak. Distribute any weight or gear evenly so that the kayak is always stable.
To wind off
The above set of tips and tricks for beginners will go a long way to ease your journey into the exciting world of kayaking. You’ll discover more techniques and hone your paddling skills the more you partake of this hobby.
After taking the initial steps and gaining more confidence, you’ll be craving rougher rapids and different conditions in exotic locales. You’ll also enjoy the almost atavistic pleasure of gliding silently atop glassy waters as our ancestors did many years ago.
Kayaking is a relaxing hobby and allows you to become one with nature. It gets exciting, too, when you push the bar up a bit and test your paddling skills in tough conditions. Its relative silence and non-intrusiveness make it perfect for exploring nature. With kayaking, you just need to start paddling. The rest will follow naturally the more you paddle.