Kayaking for Beginners

Kayaking is a great sport and pastime that can provide the thrill of an outdoor adventure, even in your own backyard. Many people today take advantage of the calm waters to kayak around a nearby lake, but only those who have a love for nature and a taste for adventure will truly enjoy what kayaking has to offer.

The sport offers so much more than simply paddling from point A to point B; instead, it allows you to explore the water as if you were one with it. Many people choose kayaking as an outdoor hobby. Whether young or old, man or woman, athletic or not-so-athletic, kayaking is an activity open to all levels of sportsman and sportswomen alike.

In this article, we are going to give detailed information about Kayaking for beginners. Keep reading.

What is Kayaking?

Kayaking is the simple act of paddling a small one or two person boat known as a kayak. The sport combines elements of canoeing and rowing, using a special double-bladed paddle to propel yourself forward through the water. Kayaks can be made from several materials and come in various sizes and styles for different purposes and bodies.

There are sit on top kayaks, which you straddle while sitting down and lower your legs into the water while also balancing yourself with two foot pegs that stick out near your feet. We also have traditional style kayaks with seats where you sit with your legs extended straight out in front of you, near to or touching both sides of the kayak itself.

There are also kayaks made for racing, fishing, touring, and recreational activities. Kayaking evolved from the traditional canoeing style involving two people carrying one or more canoes on their shoulders to dip them into the water and paddle away. Today, kayak manufacturers have attempted to create a lighter weight kayak design so that they are easier to transport.

The Tools Required for Kayaking

Kayakers need relatively few tools to get started with this sport because it is possible to use rented equipment in many locations. However, here list of some essential items you will require before set out on your first kayaking trip:

  • Mask & snorkel – these help you see under water during your trip. If you do not wear these then when you are under water, it appears like a blur.
  • Flippers – when you are in kayak, your legs will be hanging down inside the water and this is not glamorous at all. However, if you wear flippers then it will be more attractive to look at.
  • Paddle – most of the time beginners forget that they need to carry their own paddle with them, but remember that it is not wise to go far away without one.
  • As a beginner, it’s best to keep things simple and start out with an inflatable kayak before moving on to non-inflatables which makes them easier for learning how to paddle and control the kayak overall.
  • When going into deeper waters, having a lifejacket or common sense is advised since drowning happen often when beginners don’t take enough consideration about their surroundings and only consider the distance required from shore before entering water deep enough where they can’t touch bottom anymore.

Lessons for Beginners

There are many different locations available where kayaking lessons can be taken part in so people can learn about how to safely maneuver their kayaks through calm waters without tipping over or falling out.

Some of the most important lessons kayakers learn are safety guidelines; how to recognize dangerous situations, what their role is in helping others in trouble and staying calm when dealing with unfavorable weather conditions.

Learning How to Kayak

It is important first to take a lesson from a trained instructor who will help you get familiar with your kayak and give pointers on how to use it. They can provide safety gear and show you the best places for you to practice kayaking.

For those interested in learning more about kayaking so they can take part in this sport without assistance, books and videos are available that will teach beginners how to maneuver their boats and create simple routes through calm waters so they don’t lose their way or collide into rocks or other obstacles underwater.

Kayaking can be roughly divided into two parts:

  • Seated kayaking where you use a foot peg to maneuver the kayak from side to side with ease.
  • Standing kayaking where you are balanced on top of your kayak with a paddle in both hands for stronger propulsion as well as better stability while going through rough waters without capsizing rather easily due to being able to adjust weight distribution forwards or backwards depending on the situation.

The best way for beginners to get started is getting used to how they sit in the kayak as well as compensate for lack of balance so it does not wobble around too much.

After you’ve gotten comfortable enough with your seating and balancing posture, you can begin focusing on the second part of kayaking which is standing up and using a paddle in both hands to help propel yourself forwards.

Keep things simple by practicing seated kayaking for now until you have gotten used to how your kayak moves before attempting anything more complicated.

At first, the kayak will easily wobble around while exposing one of your sides towards the water but as you continue practicing, balance will become easier so that you aren’t exposed too much when moving around more rapidly.

Once balance has been mastered under normal conditions without going too fast, it is time to move onto standing up on your kayak and using a paddle in both hands. This will help you propel yourself forwards with ease.

If you need more information, you can learn more from this video.

Tips To Help You Through

While safety depends on everyone being cautious at all times, beginners should keep these tips in mind while kayaking their way through calm waters for the very first time:

  • Do not rush – it is important to stay calm and if needed, lower your heart rate so you are not panicking.
  • Check your gear before you begin – make sure all gear is in place and that nothing has become loose or detached since the last use.
  • Pick a route – go slow enough so that you do not lose control but fast enough to enjoy yourself. Balance speed with safety first.
  • Choose flat water near to shore to practice-this will help you get used to kayaking without any distractions.
  • Wear the appropriate clothing – make sure what you are wearing is not too tight or restricting movement. You need to be able to maneuver easily in your kayak gear.
  • Keep your eyes on what’s ahead – always watch where you’re going and avoid obstacles like rocks, plants, boats and people walking along the shore.
  • Stay close to shore while learning – this will ensure that if things go wrong then it is easy for you to return safely back onto dry land. Moreover, remember that a life jacket can keep you nice and warm when returning into your kayak after an emergency swim.
  • Go out onto the water with someone else so you can help each other if anything goes wrong or one of you doesn’t feel comfortable at any point during kayaking.
  • Utilize your surroundings by using landmarks to keep track of where you are in case something happens, perhaps losing sight of shore while being distracted for example which could otherwise lead into an accident that would have otherwise been avoidable if proper precautions had been taken beforehand.
  • Wear a lifejacket even on calm days since no matter how experienced you think you are, things can easily go wrong without notice and wearing a lifejacket will give you the best chance possible at not drowning due to exhaustion after trying to make it back to shore.
  • Don’t be too distracted by trying to capture a photo or video of yourselves kayaking, otherwise accidents may occur when you aren’t paying full attention and end up capsizing without noticing it in time.
  • If going onto water deeper than what you can touch with your feet, make sure to bring a waterproof flashlight with extra batteries in case you get caught out after sunset and need a way to signal for help or find your way back safely since sinking is a possibility when not prepared.
  • Avoid wearing clothing that’s been worn multiple times already from being exposed to seawater while at sea, otherwise the salt from the water will wear away at the fabric which could lead into rips forming over time due to constant exposure to water gradually weakening the fabric’s fibers.
  • Stay calm – if there is a dangerous situation ahead of time and it seems like there is no way out, remember to breathe deeply and regain control. Remind yourself that everything will be alright and you will figure something out so long as you don’t panic. If needed, swim for shore immediately since this is your best option rather than waiting around in fear until things go wrong.

How to Recognize Dangerous Situations

If you are a beginner, there is need to be alert and learn the ways of the water so you can navigate it and not endanger yourself while still on land.

  • Water currents – if you notice a current pulling your kayak in one specific direction, then try to steer away from that current or you may end up going too far out into open waters where danger can await.
  • Storms – if there is a storm brewing ahead of time, return back to shore immediately and wait for the storm to pass before venturing out again.
  • Other boats – stay alert when near other vessels, do not go too close, but at the same time make sure they are aware of your presence by either blowing a whistle or ringing an alarm bell.
  • The wind – if you are having problems steering your kayak because of the wind, turn back and try again when the wind dies down.

What Do You Do If Your Boat Flips Over?

As you learn to kayak, this is bound to happen at some point and you will need to know what to do. If this happens, try leaning your upper body slightly forward towards the water and make sure that you do not fall completely backwards since the boat can trap you underwater if it is upside down.

Swim for shore as soon as possible– there should be no hesitation because kayaks are designed to float on top of water which means there is a chance you will not drown even if the kayak has completely submerged underwater.

Kayaks can be damaged but they won’t sink, so make sure to paddle towards shore with your arms and keep your feet up near the surface of the water in case there are any rocks or plants beneath the water’s surface that could puncture a hole through your boat. Once the kayak has been secured back at shore, check for damage and repair as needed.

Most importantly- always wear a life jacket. If anything goes wrong, locate it quickly and put it on before attempting to swim back safely onto land since this is one piece of equipment should never be left behind while kayaking. With all that you have learned about staying safe, now it is time to venture out into the waters and enjoy kayaking.

Importance of Kayaking

You may be wondering what you would stand to gain from kayaking when you are just starting out. Here are some benefits of this sport:

  1. Kayaking is good for cardio since it requires a lot of movement to paddle across water and your heart rate will rise after about 30 minutes of continuous paddling.
  1. Kayaking is like rowing but on top of water, which means that both muscle groups are activated while doing this sport, therefore increasing the chances of losing weight through having more lean muscle mass overall, once you start trying to lose some excess fat in addition to your increased metabolism from burning calories day-to-day while keeping active like this.
  1. It is a great way to spend time with friends and family since there are no limitations as to how many people can join in on kayaking provided everyone has their own kayak or enough space within one boat where everyone can sit and fit comfortably.
  1. Kayaking while being near water offers a lot of potential for scenery, therefore increasing the chances you will see something new every time you go out on kayaking adventures while spotting wildlife that would not be seen anywhere else other than places where wild animals are known to hang around at. This makes it great for sightseeing in general.

Where to Go Kayaking As a Beginner

For a beginner, there are ideal places to go kayaking for your own safety. Some of them are listed below:

  • Lakes where there is less traffic from other vessels, that could otherwise pose a potential hazard while out on the water.
  • Rivers with little current so that it is easy to navigate without needing lots of experience.
  • Places near public docks or piers where you can easily get on and off your kayak at any time for breaks whenever needed.
  • Sheltered areas with calm waters where it is easier to stay steady, while paddling across the surface without the risk of tipping over.


Kayaking might seem a bit complicated at first but it is not that difficult to get used to after you have gotten the hang of proper paddling and balance which will help get you started. In order to get better, practice makes perfect so try going out whenever possible either on your own or with friends who have experience kayaking already to provide some form of safety if things don’t go as planned.

As a beginner, it’s best to keep things simple and start out with an inflatable kayak before moving on to non-inflatables which makes them easier for learning how to paddle and control the kayak overall. Kayaking is not that hard after all, you just need to be consistent and you will soon be a pro in matters kayaking.

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