6 Essential Tips for First-Time Kayakers

Kayaking is a great way to traverse your surroundings from a unique perspective and see nature up close. Whether you’re planning a relaxing paddle on a calm lake or trying your hand at some sea kayaking, there are endless opportunities to explore when out on the water. However, if you’re a first-time kayaker it’s important to familiarise yourself with some essential tips that will not only make your trip more fun and enjoyable but also keep you safe. 

From choosing the right kayak and proper kayak clothing to learning basic paddle techniques, there are a few things to be mindful of. Here are six essential tips to help you get started on your kayaking journey. 

  1. Pick the right kayak

Selecting the right kayak for your needs is really important before embarking on your kayaking adventure. A simple recreational kayak should work for you as a beginner, but make sure to pick one that has ample space so you can climb in and out of it easily and has a good backrest!

  1. Don’t forget safety gear and kayak clothing

Safety should always be your number one priority when kayaking. Wear a properly fitting buoyancy aid, regardless of your swimming ability and a sturdy helmet if you intend on tackling whitewater. If you’re in it for the long haul, investing in some proper kayak clothing might be a good idea, start with a good wetsuit for winter months before investing in a more expensive drysuit later down the line. 

  1. Learn basic paddling techniques

Before hitting the water, take the time to learn a couple of different simple paddling techniques. Acquiring knowledge of some basic strokes will give you more control over your kayak and start you on a great foot for your kayaking journey.

  1. Start in calmer waters

For beginners, it’s definitely worth making your first few trips out on calm and gentle waters. Pick a mellow lake or slow-moving river where you can practise your paddling techniques and get comfortable in the kayak. By doing this you’ll build your confidence and gain a better understanding of the kayak’s stability and manoeuvrability in the water. As your confidence grows, you can gradually move onto more challenging waters. 

  1. Stay hydrated and pack well

Kayaking is a pretty physically demanding activity, so it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Bring an adequate amount of water and take breaks to refuel. Additionally, pack essential items such as a drybag for your belongings and if you have the space, a mini first aid kit in case you need it. Some energy-boosting snacks wouldn’t go amiss either! 

  1. Be mindful of weather conditions

Look, no one wants to turn up for a long day out on their kayak to be confronted with torrential rain and no waterproof coat. Always check the weather and conditions on the water before setting out. It may sound obvious but do avoid kayaking in extreme conditions and be aware of factors such as the tide and any potential hazards that you could come across in the water. 

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