How to Kayak – Part 2
The second part of How to Kayak gets more into the pastime of kayaking, how to handle the boats and what safety equipment you would normally use. In part one we learned about what types of materials kayaks are made out of, and what activities they can be used for.
Continuing where we left off regarding paddles, the blades of the paddle are also an important factor to their construction. If you select a wide blade it will give you more power and acceleration, but you will find them harder to work as they have more resistance in the water. Whereas a smaller blade will glide through the water easier but you will have to use more strokes. Blades can be either curved or flat, with curved blades again offering more power. The type of paddle you choose will make your kayaking experience totally different. So before buying one it is best to try out a few options or ask advice from a specialist kayak store.
You have purchased a kayak and a paddle, now it is time to look at your safety. The first item should be a life vest or a personal flotation device. When choosing one it is always preferable to ask advice, if you are having kayaking lessons ask your instructor which the best for you is, but basically opt for one that is lightweight and not bulky so you can move your arms freely.
The next piece of kayaking equipment you will need is a safety helmet, again choose one that is light, but ensure it is tough and fits well. Spray skirts will also be needed to keep you dry in the boat, they fit around your waist and attach to the cockpit. If you are thinking to use the kayak for touring purposes you will need waterproof storage bags to keep your personal items and equipment dry.
The best advice how to learn to kayak is to take lessons from a qualified instructor, an instructor will teach you safely and quickly. An instructor will also make sure you learn in the correct environment and safely, this will ensure you learn in a stress freeway. You will also be taught how to get in and out of the boat and how to paddle.
Getting in and Out of a Kayak
Getting in and out of your kayak is a fundamental skill you will have to learn, at first it may be a little tricky but try to keep your body weight low and in the center. If getting in from a pier or dock, hold on to the side for stability and place your feet in the cockpit, then slowly lower yourself into the boat.
To get out of the boat pull your knees up against the cockpit then slide out of the boat into a sitting position onto the dock or the pier. If you are doing this on a beach or similar you have to use your paddle as a stabilizer, whilst standing hold the paddle behind you with both hands, press down on the blade while you lower yourself into the craft.
Getting out is a reverse process but this time the paddle is at the front of the boat whilst you are getting out. Kayaking can offer a lot of fun and entertainment and is a great pastime for keeping fit and getting out in the open air.