Kayaking – A Beginner’s Guide

Of the many water sports available today, perhaps the most popular in Australia is kayaking. A huge coastline contains a treasure trove of waterways that ooze natural beauty, not to mention the many rivers that criss-cross through the country. 

Sign up for a kayak class

If you are a raw novice, the best move is to sign up for a beginner’s class; all equipment is provided and you’ll be going out with an expert. Calm waters are the ideal setting for your first encounter and during the tour, the instructor will teach how to manoeuvre the kayak and how to paddle correctly. There isn’t much point in buying a kayak until you master boat control, but once you do have a level of control, you can find a top-rated kayak from a leading online supplier. Either if you embarking your kayak adventure alone or with friends, it’s important that you get a first aid certification, like CPR training Windsor Ontario, to be prepare for water emergencies.

Kayak tours

Now that you have your kayak, you need to spend time on the water and there’s no better way to do that than signing up for group kayak tours. The guide is always happy to help regarding advice on buying equipment and you are bound to make a few new friends from the other participants. 

Essential kayaking gear

When you set out on your kayaking adventure, you will need the following:

  • Personal flotation device – Coastguard approved, the device should fit properly.
  • Top-quality paddle – This should be the right size for you.
  • Spray skirt – This keeps the water out of the kayak.
  • Bilge pump – This device removes water from the vessel.

All of the above are regarded as essential items for your safety; you should not go out into the water without them.

Suitable clothing

Of course, what you wear depends very much on the weather; 

Warm weather and warm water

  • Swimwear or shorts.
  • Non-cotton top (long or short sleeve).
  • Footwear (preferably neoprene).
  • Hat for sun protection.
  • Spray jacket.

Cold weather

If you are going out in cold weather, it is recommended to wear a wetsuit and a decent pair of gloves.

Personal items

When going out in the water, you should take the following:

  • Adequate drinking water.
  • Energy snacks.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm.
  • First aid kit.
  • Signalling whistle.
  • A watch so you can keep track of time.
  • Flashlight (in case you are late returning).
  • A dry bag.

You should take your time preparing, making sure that you have everything you could possibly need.

Paddle strokes

There are numerous ways to use a paddle:

  • Forward stroke – The standard stroke has 3 phases, which are the catch phase when you put one paddle into the water, the power phase when you pull the paddle through the water and the release phase.
  • Reverse stroke – This stroke can be used as a brake, or it can be used to go backwards.
  • Sweep stroke – The basic turning stroke with repeated strokes on one side until the kayak is pointing in the right direction. 

We hope that this information helps you to master the art of kayaking and you should enjoy many years of exploration.

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