Kayaking is just like canoeing but a whole heap more fun because the craft is so small that a kayak seems really vulnerable and there is an inherent feeling of danger which always gets the pulse racing. Kayaking is also so versatile and ready to tackle almost any sort of water.

However, once you have learned the basics, the kayak is most probably one of the safest boats in the world; you may think you are in danger but rarely are. With a kayak you are close to nature, barely millimeters separate you from the water and that is one of its great beauties. A kayak puts you into intimate contact with nature, makes it personal between yourself and the river, ocean or rapids you face.

It is disconcerting, at first, that half of you is below water level, but that’s where the interaction between you and the surroundings is so intimate as the water washes over the boat and yourself. In this blog we look at the different kinds of kayaking and what you need to successfully have fun and enjoy your time on the water.

Slow Waters and Lakes

Needed – Recreational Kayak

To tackle slow waters and lakes you will only need a recreational kayak, these are the hatchbacks of the boating world, anybody can handle them as they are stable, easy and great for maneuvering through the water. Recreational kayaks are normally between 9 – 12 feet long and have a wide cockpit so they are really easy to get in and out of. Around $500 will get you a good recreational kayak that should be suitable for most slow water. A version of this popular boat is the sit-on-top kayak, which does not have a cockpit but just shallow impressions in the hull. Great if you want to swim or fish, as access is quick and simple.

To enjoy this craft, you will need a personal flotation device (PFD) otherwise known as a life vest. The vests used in kayaking have less padding and material around the neck and shoulders to help with the paddling movement. The paddle you will need will be around 210 cm from tip to tip, this is an average length and should suit this type of kayak perfectly.

Most recreational kayaks have float bags in the bulkheads to help with flotation and buoyancy, if your kayak does not have these, then you will need to buy them and place them in the stern of your boat, this will stop the boat from sinking when you fall out.

The Open Sea

Needed – Touring Kayak

If you are heading for the open sea, you will need a touring boat, these are a little more expensive, around $800, and it is best to try one out before you purchase one. These boats are a little longer than recreational kayaks, almost 15 feet, and are designed for the open water or the ocean.

In part two of getting started into kayaking we continue with the touring kayak and learn all about why it is so good for the open sea and oceans.