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Kayaking The Basics and Terminology

by Henry
Kayaking The Basics and Terminology

Nature always has surprised humanity with its bountiful abundance of beauty and strength. The long rivers, mighty seas, twisting and turnings, and the fierce rapids have always been intimidating. However, there is no shortage of adventurers that master the waters through various means, and kayaking is one of these. Kayaking is a great water sport. Whether you do it for adventure, competition, or just as a hobby, you are sure to appreciate how awesome it is. If you want to enjoy the open water, all you need are a kayak and paddles. Though there are many more gears like floatation devices, helmets, life jackets, spray decks, bilge pumps, dry bags, etc. kayaks, and paddles are indispensable for an apparent reason.

What are the different types of kayaks?
Before you set your kayak in a water body, it is crucial to ensure that you have the right one to experience the adventure. Here’s a brief introduction to various types of kayaks.

Touring kayaks: These are long and narrow kayaks with small cockpits. These are a good choice for long trips across the lakes.

Whitewater kayaks: There are four types of whitewater kayaks- river runners, playboats, long boats, and creek boats; each is designed with unique features for a more challenging endeavor.

Sit-on-top kayaks: If you are heading for kayaking for the first time, sit-on-top kayaks would be a great bet. These are wider and provide more stability than their counterparts.

Recreational kayaks: As compared to touring kayaks, recreational kayaks have a larger cockpit, are shorter in length, and are ideal for Kayaking in calmer water bodies.

Inflatable kayaks: These are similar to sit-on-top kayaks but inflatable. They are easy to operate as well as transport. Plus, they are the most preferred choices for a relaxed kayaking experience.

Essential kayaking gear
If you are renting a kayak or borrowing it from a friend, make sure you also take the following essential things:

  • Paddle
  • Bilge pump
  • Sprayskirt
  • Coastguard approval

Proper clothing

  • Next, for a memorable kayaking experience, it is advisable to take the proper clothing like:
  • Swimwear or shorts
  • Neoprene footwear
  • Long-sleeve rashguard top
  • Sun-shielding hat

While the things mentioned above are required in warm weather, make sure you have a lightweight jacket or vest, spray jacket, rain jacket, and pants, depending on the weather conditions. Besides these things, it is also advisable to carry some personal items like plenty of water, snacks, a first-aid kit, sunscreen, headlamp, watch, and dry bags.

Finding the right time and place for Kayaking
Once you have all the gears and essentials, it’s time to find the right place and a suitable time for kayaking. Look for a pond or lake nearby, get the location details, find out if it has public access, the launch fee, and a parking facility. As a beginner, you should avoid oceans and rivers as the water in these bodies will be choppier.

Next, it is advisable to choose a day with mild weather. The most favorable temperature of the water would be 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t forget to check out the water temperature because if you end up in the cold water, you will be at a high risk of cold shock or hypothermia.

Basics of Kayaking for beginners
Hopefully, till now, you have selected a kayak. If so, now pick a paddle of proper length. Next, you know proper techniques and the right skills are needed to keep you safe and help prevent injury. There are five basic paddling techniques- Paddling posture, forward stroke, hand placement, sweep stroke, and reverse forward stroke. Before getting into the water, you should first learn these techniques from the experts.

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