Kayaking For Beginners
With the water, as in life in general, starting out with something new can be quite daunting. Maybe you’ve never been out on the water before. Maybe you even have a fear of the water.
However, fears are there to be overcome and we can promise that once you’re fully prepared, you will fall in love with life on the water and paddle your worries away.
To get you started, we’ll bring you through some simple steps to consider before you even feel the water on your toes.
Learn basic Water Safety. Okay, so we might sound a little boring and repetitive here, but water safety knowledge is vital when hitting the water in any form.
The following are some of the basics we follow, but we would urge you to research the area and type of water you will be kayaking on and ensure you take your own safety and the safety of any minors accompanying you on the water seriously.
Buy a life jacket – It’s simple, they save lives! It’s important that life jackets fit correctly. Unfortunately, it’s not a one size fits all product. See our guide in the life jacket shop section to help you choose the correct style and size for you.
Don’t Kayak alone. Even if this means having someone onshore watching you it’s safest not to head off alone until you are confident on the water and in your ability to handle a kayak. Besides, it’s usually more fun with a friend!
Plan your activity and be sure to tell someone else your plan and what time you expect to return. This is a rule of thumb for all water based activities.
Be sure to check the weather forecast before you head out so that you are fully prepared for conditions.
Take a means of communication with you. We recommend using one of our water proof phone holders which you can find in the accessory section of our online store. This will allow you to safely bring along your mobile phone for obvious safety reasons, but also to snap those magical moments on the water.
Ask advice. We have many years water experience under our belts but every day is a school day and we will continue to learn for many years to come. Don’t be afraid to ask advice locally or from ourselves. We would love to help out in any way we can. You can fire us off an email at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you.
Pick a suitable location and a day with suitable weather. If this is your maiden voyage pick a calm day with little wind or current. Paddle against the wind/current to begin with as you’ll feel the muscles working in your arms and once you turn for home you will have the current and wind helping you along the way of your return
journey. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll build strength from paddling and each time you are on the water you’ll be able to go further.
Sit Correctly in your kayak. Sitting correctly will make paddling so much easier. Our single kayaks come with a seated back rest to help avoid slouching so you can sit up straight comfortably. Think of creating a 90 degree angle from your lower back to bottom. Pop your feet into the foot rests so you can apply pressure, toes pointing
outwards and knees slightly bent. All this helps you balance while paddling with ease.
Hold your paddle correctly. Your hands should be shoulder width apart and your knuckles (while gripping the paddle) should be in line with the blades of the paddle. Dip paddle into the water (think of a knife slicing something). The concave part of the paddle simply sweeps through the water in a motion of right side, left side, right side, left side… and so on. When you master this technique once, it’s like riding a bike and it’ll become second nature. Once you’ve mastered this, practice different ways of steering your kayak in the water.
Pack – We love packing up our dry bag and heading out for an adventure on the water, stopping onshore along the way for the all important picnic. Our dry bag generally carries precious cargo like ham sandwiches, Tayto crisps and a flask of tea to cater for
the appetite you’ll have built up from all that paddling! But at the beginning of your kayaking adventures a small snack and water will suffice for those shorter journeys. Other items you might want to pack are a change of clothes in the car to pop on when off the water as a wet bottom can be an occupational hazard caused by the drain holes around the kayak seat!
Dress for the water not the weather. For some this may seem a no-brainer, but many people head out on the water in 25’C heat and get a bit of a shock as the feel the cold water coming through the kayak’s drain holes. We’d recommend our shorty style wetsuit for under your life jacket or simply just a swimming togs and one of our rash
vests under your life jacket to help prevent friction while paddling.
Sunscreen!!! Yep just like song goes, Always wear sunscreen! Anyone who has been on the water in summer (even an Irish Summer) will know exactly why we are saying this. The water reflects the sun to somehow create a perfect cocktail to burn so SPF is so important.
Kayak with others. Kayak in pairs or as a group/family, whatever you prefer but as we already mentioned in this blog post kayaking alone, especially as a beginner is not advisable. Invest in more than one kayak and we promise you the return is so much greater than the money spent. You will gets years of adventuring together and create
amazing memories to look back on.
We hope you find this guide useful as you begin your adventures of our beautiful island from the water. And remember, don’t forget your life jacket!