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Kayaking is the perfect activity to share with like-minded friends or family members and can be enjoyed by all age groups. Standard safety guidelines recommend going out in groups of three or more paddlers. So spend an enjoyable group play-day to learn what kayaking is all about.
Plan your first kayaking experiences to be in a location where there is calm water, such as a nearby lake. Your location choice should also have kayak rentals available to familiarize yourself with various equipment requirements and options.
Purchasing a kayak will be your largest investment in kayaking so it is advisable to first learn the basics and then determine which type of kayak will best suit your needs. It is always recommended to take a beginner course of basic instructions to kayak . This will familiarize you with the basic skills and safety guidelines that you will need to know.
Safety should always take precedence during any paddling activity. You should learn the important safety points before you go out on the water. These rules and precautions were designed to keep you safe. If you have experienced paddlers in your group who are willing to give instruction and advice, you are in the perfect position to get started learning safety precautions and kayaking basic technique.
We will assume that you are able to swim and feel comfortable in the water. You need to be relaxed and aware of your surrounding while kayaking. The first thing that you should do upon rental facility arrival, is to select the kayak that is best suited for you and find a PFD (personal flotation device aka life jacket) that is in good repair and fits you properly. Your paddle length selection should also be based on your height and should feel comfortable as you paddle.
The first basic technique to learn is how to launch and properly sit in your kayak.
Before you begin the launch process, you should always do a series of arm stretching exercises to prepare your arms for repetitive use. The more upper body strength that you have, the easier it is to kayak. You can go longer distances and feel less tired. On the other hand, kayaking will strengthen your upper body and is a great form of exercise.
When you have the ability to properly get off-shore, you can then focus on how to correctly hold your paddle and get started on kayak lake basic paddle techniques. You will need to have the ability to paddle your kayak straight-ahead, stop, reverse direction, and move your kayak quickly toward either side with ease. This will require some fun trial-and-error practices to get the control that you are striving to achieve.
Proper paddling techniques should be practiced until your control over the movements of your kayak are second-nature. The more control that you have over your kayak, the more confident that you will feel while on the water. Learning the correct basic kayaking techniques is your first-step toward safe and enjoyable paddling adventure. What are you waiting for?
Another thing to seriously consider for practising basic kayaking skills is getting a paddle that is the appropriate length based on your height and stroke style. Many new paddlers don't realise that this is an important purchase consideration and end up with a paddle that is too long. There are charts available to help you determine what length is best for you.
A good starting point for recreational paddlers of average height is 230cm. If you have a relaxed stroke that is at a low angle to the water's surface, then this paddle is for you. If you want to paddle more aggressively while using a variety of stroke techniques, then a slightly shorter paddle with a stronger blade design is advised. Primarily for starters, just make sure the paddle will work for you and is not too long.
A good quality PFD (life jacket) is necessary while practising basic kayaking skills. This required safety accessory should be of good quality, be comfortable, and have a body-hugging fit. You will need a PFD whenever you paddle, so buy a good one. Make sure that the PFD chosen has sufficient pockets to accommodate your needs. There should also be reflective piping and strobe mounts in case you are paddling after dark.
You should feel good in your PFD for many hours at a time when in the water and out. With the proper care, your vest will last for many years to choose a PFD that you look good in. When a PFD begin to show wear or has small tears, it is time to replace it. Don't ever sacrifice safety to save a little money. So what are you waiting for? Get on the phone to start planning your kayak adventure on the lake.
Have fun and stay safe.
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