Kayaking For Beginners – Getting in and Out of Your Kayak

Kayaking for Beginners

Kayaking is an exhilarating and active sport that can be enjoyed in a variety of environments. It’s an ideal way to connect with nature, get outdoors and spend quality time with friends.

If you’re new to kayaking, there are a few tips that can make the experience as safe and comfortable as possible. These tips will help ensure that you feel secure in your kayak so that you can focus on savoring the experience.

Getting in and out of the kayak

Acquiring the proper technique when getting in and out of your kayak is one of the most essential skills for beginners to master, as it can have a major impact on how enjoyable you find the experience. Utilizing the correct technique will help you avoid making any errors, making the process much smoother for yourself.

If you’re new to kayaking, it’s wise to practice entering and exiting your kayak at the beginning of each trip. Not only will this improve your skills, but it gives you a chance to practice putting on and taking off your kayak as well – so that you are prepared for any situation that may occur during your voyage.

When getting in and out of your kayak, there are several techniques to choose from. The simplest is to paddle into about two feet or so of water and swing your feet over to one side of the vessel.

Once your feet are out, sit down on the deck and use your hands to push yourself up. This method may require some upper body strength, but if you possess sufficient stamina and stability then it is worth giving a try.

Your paddle can also be an aid when getting in and out of your kayak, especially on uneven shorelines. When launching from a pier, place the kayak parallel to the dock and use your paddle as leverage while getting inside it.

Another technique is to slide your kayak across sand or onto a cement ramp that runs parallel to the water. This will enable you to get in and out of your kayak quickly without getting wet.

Prior to launching your kayak, it is wise to take a quick glance at the water around you and practice self-rescue techniques in shallower waters so that you can swim back to your boat should an emergency arise. This is especially vital if you are new to kayaking or planning an extended journey.

Getting in the right position

Kayaking requires getting in the proper position, especially for newcomers to the sport. Maintaining your posture while on the water helps make for more comfortable paddling sessions and reduces soreness from prolonged paddling. Plus, having the correct position allows for proper body mechanics while paddling, helping prevent back strain.

For kayaking, the ideal position is sitting with your legs out front and a slight bend in your knees. However, this position can be uncomfortable if your kayak doesn’t have a seatback; so, adjust your footpegs before hitting the water for optimal comfort.

When standing up in your kayak, it’s wise to keep your hips slightly bent. This provides more stability and power while paddling. When carrying your kayak, this aspect should be taken into consideration as it helps you stand up more easily and evenly once inside the vessel.

Kayaks are often designed with a specific position in mind, so you should find one that feels natural for you. If this is your first time kayaking, it may be wise to take a lesson with an experienced kayaker before venturing out on the water.

When selecting where to kayak, select an area with calm waters and a shoreline you can see on the other side. This will make navigating easier if you need to turn around or exit your kayak.

Additionally, you should select a paddle that matches your paddling style. Symmetrical blades tend to be the most beginner-friendly option while asymmetrical paddles present greater challenges but provide stronger and more efficient strokes for experienced paddlers.

Start by holding your paddle with both hands slightly farther apart than shoulder width apart, making sure to center your knuckles on the concave side of the blade. Doing this will enable you to hold it correctly and maximize the power of each stroke.

Getting in the right stroke

Kayaking for beginners requires perfecting the correct stroke, as this will enable you to paddle more efficiently and reduce injuries. Furthermore, it will reduce fatigue – a common issue among new kayakers – which is another benefit of getting into the right stroke.

The forward stroke is the most basic and common technique when paddling your kayak, so taking some time to learn this basic stroke before heading out on an adventure will pay dividends in improved skillset overall. Plus, it’s relatively easy to master so why not?

To perform a forward stroke, arm your torso and place the paddle blade in water near your feet. Make sure it remains fully submerged throughout the stroke, staying near vertical as you push against it with one hand to propel your kayak forward.

Place the curved side of the blade into the water first, and then lift it out once you reach your hips. Rotate your torso and push and lift the paddle shaft from its recovery position (which should be in line with your hips).

This technique is essential to remember as it allows you to move sideways without turning your kayak. This comes in handy if you need to pull alongside another kayak during a rescue operation, for instance.

At first, this stroke may seem complex. So take your time and focus on keeping your torso as upright as possible while doing it. Doing so will prevent disengagement of core muscles and lead to poor paddling technique that could result in injury or worse.

Practice this technique on small lakes or ponds where there’s usually less powerboat traffic, as they tend to be calmer. Just be sure the rocky shore doesn’t interfere with your ability to move the kayak through water without bumping it on its side.

The sweep stroke is a more efficient way to turn your kayak than using the rudder. Not only that, but it’s easier to master than using the reverse stroke as well, giving you sharper turns that may be necessary in certain scenarios.

Getting out of the kayak

One of the most essential skills for beginners when kayaking is how to exit your kayak safely and independently. This ability will enable you to self-rescue in case of an emergency and keep yourself secure and injury free while on the water.

When getting out of your kayak, there are several methods you can choose from. Each has its own advantages and each helps ensure safety while on the water.

Gaining control of your kayak’s cockpit is not as difficult as you might think, but it does require some practice and some mastery. Once this skill has been acquired, you can have fun on the water without fear of getting wet!

To get out of your kayak safely and quickly, place it on a pier or shoreline. Doing this will reduce the chance that scratches on the hull occur when landing.

Next, place the paddle perpendicular to your boat across the back of the cockpit (or stern side), so that half crosses over and the other rests on shore. This will increase stability and also help improve balance as you enter and exit the kayak.

Once the kayak is on the pier, take your hands out of your backpack and step onto it. Use your feet to push yourself up into the kayak while facing away from its bow.

Though it may seem intimidating at first, once you’ve done it once, you’ll be able to do it independently with ease! It’s also wise to practice with a friend so that both of you can see how straightforward the process really is.

Another tip is to bring a sturdy plank with you that can be used in case of an accident. This way, you can stand on the board and then swing your legs over the side of your kayak into shallow water.