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How to Get Prepared for Your First Kayaking Adventure

Kayaking is one fun experience for a professional as it is for a beginner. It could be a rigorous night adventure or a simple morning paddle, all you need is to know your way around it. To help you prepare for your first adventure, we will give you tips that will boost your confidence and make it memorable.

What to Have

Kayaking means getting on the water, you might want to avoid cotton material to avoid being soggy all day. Let’s see what you need to bring to your first experience.

Kayak Paddle

You’re starting out; you don’t need to immediately throw tons of money on carbon fiber paddle. Rather, get a budget-friendly paddle and especially explore folding options that will be easier to travel with. This will make your kayak experience incredible.

Life Vest

For safety reasons, always have a life vest or a standard floatation device. In fact, it is the law in some areas. It is recommended that you keep it within arm’s reach or have it on always. Should you beach the kayak, be sure to secure the flotation device to avoid it being blown away. 

Other Essentials

  • Lip Balm
  • Water Bottle
  • Sunscreen 
  • Paddling Gloves for long-distance kayaking to prevent blisters
  • Durable Dry Bag for keeping your stuff dry especially your phone
  • Garmin Mini – if you might end up in an area without cell reach, do carry this device for emergency communication

You don’t have to buy new gear for your first session. Most likely, you have some clothes that can give a great first-time experience and you can get the specialized gear as you hone your skills.

Sitting in a Kayak


You don’t want to be uncomfortable or tense. So, sit with your legs out in front of you and the back being straight. Bend your knees slightly and place them against the sides. This kind of positioning will give more power to your strokes and keep you stable throughout the session. To relieve strain on the lower back, most kayaks will come with an adjustable backrest that you can loosen or tighten for a more comfortable sitting.

Foot Positioning

A kayak will have footpegs where you place your slightly bent legs. Make sure the knees move outwards toward the sides of the kayak. Adjust the footpegs if the bent legs are too close to your torso.

Paddling a Kayak

Hold the paddles as you would a bicycle handlebar. The hands should be gripping downwards. Your elbows on the top of your head should make an angle of 90 degrees. This angle allows you to determine the right spacing in between hands. It’s commonly known as the paddler’s box. Additionally, the scooped side of the paddle blades should be facing you.

Remember, most paddles float, no need for a death grip on the paddle. Have an “O” shape with a relaxed grip.

Paddling Forward

Lean forward, twist your torso while engaging your core then paddle the water near the feet. After, pull the blade backward and remove it from the water to move forward. But, switch sides to avoid going in circles.

Paddling Backwards

Just do the reverse of the above process, Have the paddle by your seat and push it towards the feet. And, change sides and so the same motion.

Stopping a Kayak

Have the paddle like you’re doing backstroke and drag it against the water.

Turning a Kayak

To turn left, paddle only the right side. To turn right, paddle your left only.

Other Considerations

Photo from Pixabay

There are numerous considerations to be made for a beginner.

Water/Wind: You might want to postpone the trip if it’s really windy. Some challenges wind poses can be navigated but for a beginner, it’s better when it’s calm. Also, it’s easier on lakes than on oceans for beginners.

Trip Length: If it is your first time, make it less than four hours. Be sure not to bite more than you can chew.

Take a guided class: Consider having a guided tour or class especially if you’re nervous. This way, you get to build familiarity with the gear and the foundations to have the right confidence needed on the water.

Also, who knows? You might meet kayaking buddies in these classes.

Common Fears

Falling: Great news is, for a kayak to flip a lot would need to go wrong in tandem. However, make sure to rehearse how to quickly get back on the kayak in such an unlikely event.

Fitness: Make your trips easier on your body by scheduling them in the mornings.

From the sparkling waters of the Caribbean to the enchanting waves of the Adriatic, there are plenty of amazing places to kayak — including rivers, lakes and oceans that may be right in your backyard. Once you begin kayaking, your options for adventure are limitless. We hope these kayaking tips will inspire your beginner adventure.


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