Getting Started into Kayaking – Part 2

Continuing on from part one of our blog of how to get into kayaking, we are looking at touring kayaking and all that entails. Before you part with $800 (and up to $2,000) on these Rolls Royce’s of kayaks, it is probably better that you try one out on a guided tour and see which one suits you best.

Touring Kayaks

These kayaks are built for open water and are meant for serious paddlers to cover many nautical miles in. Many people that own these sorts of crafts use them for overnight trips or kayaking weekends. Because of the ample storage space in these boats you can load them with enough camping equipment for a short holiday. The overall feel to this type of kayak is not as stable as something like a recreational kayak, that is why they have relatively small cockpits, to keep you secure in the boat.

Purchasing a touring kayak you will also need a PFD and probably a bilge pump to get excess water out of the craft. Also, you need quite a long paddle, perhaps 240cm, and a spray skirt which is a water-resistant seal that fits around your waist and seals the cockpit.

Rapids

Needed – Whitewater kayak

Firstly, whitewater kayaking can be extremely dangerous, especially for novices, so you will have to be fully trained before you buy one of these crafts. You will have to take lessons on how to roll the boat and come up on the other side, not an easy task by any means.

These boats are the sports cars of kayaking and are generally quite short and round, developed for fast water so they are really maneuverable to avoid obstacles. If you try to navigate in calm water with a whitewater kayak, you will find it slow and ponderous. Before you set off in one of these crafts, you will need float bags, PFD and a bilge pump. A short paddle is best for whitewater kayaking around 200cm and you will definitely need a safety helmet, not for the water but for the rocks.

A throw rope is also a good idea with whitewater kayaks with a rescue bag attached, this is for any of your fellow paddlers should they get into trouble.

What Happens When You Flip Over?

Flipping a kayak over is as inevitable as cracking eggs to make an omelet, you will find the sit-on-top kayaks are the hardest to flip and the easiest to get back on as it is wide and has built in drainage holes.

In a touring or whitewater kayak you will have to practice how to roll without panicking, the hard part of it all is trying to get back into an empty the boat. The best way is to get to land and drain out the water, or, if you have a fellow paddler, use their boat as leverage.

If, for some reason, you find yourself alone, then get back in the boat and try and bail out the water with a bilge pump or water bottle. But be cautious as you should never find yourself in this position. Kayaking can be the most fun you can have on water, simply choose which type you want to try and get in on the fun.