So, you’ve finally settled on that adventure sport that you’ve always wanted to try. Well, you’ve definitely made the right choice! Kayaking is rewarding water activity for all ages. You’ll learn to push yourself while witnessing stunning destinations across the globe. Now, it’s time to plan your first kayaking trip. Follow these tips, and you’ll be set for your next paddling adventure.
Buying the Kayak
If you haven’t bought your kayak already, here’s everything you need to know! Kayaks can typically hold one to three paddlers, but the overall design and shape of them depend on the materials used. So, before you buy your kayak, decide what your budget will be. If this is going to be your only kayaking trip for a while, you may want to go with plastic. Plastic is usually the cheapest material for a kayak, with prices ranging from $250 to $1,500. If you don’t use it a bunch the wear and tear over time shouldn’t be too bad. However, if you’re going to kayak on a regular basis, you may want to consider Kevlar material. It is one of the priciest you can get out there for your kayak (most cost around $4000), but it has the nicest quality. Kevlar is lighter and stronger than other kayak materials and it’s built for specific environments as well.
After choosing your material, pick the type of kayak you want based on your environment. Your kayaking trip destination will ultimately help you make your choice. There are plenty of options, from whitewater kayaks, surf kayaks, racing kayaks, sea kayaks to recreational ones. Each of these are tailored to what natural elements you’ll encounter on your trip. Sea kayaks, for example, typically have longer bodies to cover more distance out on the sea, and whitewater kayaks are designed to bounce off rocks due to their high impact plastic.
Buying the Paddles
There are a few factors that determine what types of paddles you’ll need for your kayaking trip. Your stature, the size of the kayak, and your stroking preferences are a few examples. Wider and taller kayaks, for instance, need longer paddles with wider blades to give you more acceleration. Also, choose your blades wisely. If your budget is low, you can always settle for flat blades which are generally cheaper. However, if you have a surf or racing kayak, you may want to spend a little more money on curved blades, which increase the power of each stroke. Narrower blades are also an option too. They require more strokes but uses less effort, which makes them perfect for beginners.
The point of your kayaking trip is to have fun. So, stay safe while you do it. Consider these important tips to help you prepare for your adventure on the water:
Be aware of weather conditions and changes during your kayaking trip. If you’re paddling at the beach, look up information on how weather patterns affect currents and shoreline conditions. Don’t kayak in a storm to avoid the possibility of a capsize. Also, be careful of off-shore winds, since they can make it difficult to return to shore if you’re out at sea. Clothing matters too. It’s important to dress for the climate of your trip destination. If your paddling in the cold water, wear a wetsuit or dry suit to keep you warm and comfortable. In hot weather, it may be tempting to wear short sleeves, but it’s actually better to wear longer ones for sun protection.
Tell Someone Your Plan
Tell your friends, family or even your co-workers where you are going, especially since this is your first kayaking trip. Give them your contact information, let them know what you will be doing, how long you expect to be gone and how many people will be with you. In case something happens, your emergency contacts will be able to reach you quickly. Before you set off on your journey, it’s best to seek qualified instruction to make sure you know basic kayaking techniques, self-rescue techniques in calm, warm, shallow and extreme waters, plus other water safety tips and first aid.
Have the Right Supplies and Equipment
Always check your equipment before you paddle to ensure that it’s functioning properly. The most important thing is to wear a proper flotation device that fits you well. A lifejacket helps to keep your head above water and adds insulation to your body to keep you warm in cold rivers and seas. If your paddling in a surf zone or a river, be extremely careful. Conditions can get dangerous, so always wear a helmet. It’s also important to stay hydrated while you kayak since it’s no question that the sport requires a lot of physical activity. Along with water, bring high-protein snacks to give you energy as well.
Best Destinations to Go Kayaking
Now that you’ve learned all the basics of kayaking, it’s time to choose a destination for your trip! Unsure of where to go? Check out some of these well-known destinations for the watersport.
Explore 750 nautical miles of breathtaking shoreline on a sea kayak at the Kenai Fjords National Park. You’ll witness beautiful, remote Alaskan wilderness firsthand. See glaciers collide with the sea, venture into uncharted coves and cruise down crystal blue fjords. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see sea lions, orcas, or humpback whales.
With more than 450 palm-dotted, sandy islands, Belize’s Barrier Reef is the perfect place to island hop with a kayak. As you paddle through a turquoise blue sea, look down at the ethereal underwater world below you. Marvel at the 100 different types of coral and 500 species of fish that live in the reef.
Discover this gorgeous secluded coastline right from your kayak. Paddle past cascading waterfalls, forest green cliffs, and even cute dolphins. The peaceful serenity is endless in this place.
Though a little colder than the other kayaking destinations, the stunning views are worth the paddle. Hebridean Beach is located in one of the most remote parts of the United Kingdom off the north-west coast of Scotland. The secluded green wilderness and deep blue waters set an amazing scene. It’s almost like you’re in the Caribbean—without the heat, of course. Just make sure to dress warmly and you’ll be fine!