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Kayaking is one of the ultimate water sports one should experience when hitting the open waters during the summer. Crossing the water by paddling in a kayak can give you a new experience of the water. In recent years, this water activity is getting more and more popular among sports enthusiasts, and you can add this too on your bucket list. This is a fun and exciting way to spend your time with your friends because it is an activity one can easily learn to do.
If you are planning to try this sport soon, there are some things you need to know to make the experience worth it, safe, and enjoyable.
In every activity you try to do for the first time, getting basic training is an advantage as well as a safety precaution. It would be difficult to find a kayaking training school, especially when there are no open waters in your area. The closest alternative you should go for is a basic swimming course since you are going to be in the water with the kayak, usually by yourself or a partner. Though you would be mostly wearing a safety vest, it is still important that you know how to float and swim to safety should you fall in the water. Paddling techniques is another lesson you should learn so you can keep up the right track and move into the direction you need to go. To prepare for the trip, do some cardio and other exercises to increase your strength and stamina since kayaking can make you tired from paddling and keeping yourself balanced.
Choosing the Right Kayak
The kind of kayak you should choose depends on how experienced you are, what the route is, and the type of water you are planning to go in. There are different sizes and shapes to choose from, and they come in different functions as well. The friendliest to beginners is the Sit on Tops, where there is more space, and it is easier to climb in and get out of. They are ideal for the cautious kayakers and in places where the environment is warmer. Longer kayaks are great for going fast while the wider ones are more stable, but slower. Some kayaks can accommodate two people as well, great for partners and friends who want to paddle together. Choosing which one to go to can affect greatly your enjoyment and experience. Whether you are choosing a recreational or a touring kayak, the most important thing is to get practice first in handling the equipment before you go full blast.
Safety and Health
Accidents happen all the time, and you can never be too prepared or safe when it comes to doing any water activity. You must do the necessary precautions that will ensure your safety and health during your trip. Choose to wear a vest no matter how good you are in swimming. Drink a lot of vitamins, especially vitamin C, before going on your trip to prepare your body to go through some extreme situations like being wet for extensive hours and being under the sun for a whole day. This is to avoid catching the flu and colds after the vacation. Stay hydrated as well since you will be staying outdoors a lot and sweating the whole day. Wear the most appropriate attire, choose the right gears, and only go kayaking in safe waters, under the supervision of certified kayaking rentals and companies.
Choosing the Right Gears
Kayaking is straightforward and simple water activity. At most, people would only need their kayaks and paddles and enjoy hours and hours of going around the water. Other than these basics, a personal floating device is advised and even mandatory in some areas for safety. Floatation devices are used to keep water out of the kayak, and there are also paddle floats that help get back on the kayak if it capsizes. Additionally, one can wear helmets to avoid any injury to the head by falling out and getting hit by the kayak, the paddle, or other people in the water. One should undergo a training demonstration that will show how these devices are used in the water and when to use them.
Dressing up for kayaking is one way you can enjoy the sport. It adds another layer of protection, especially from the sun and some particles in the water. Selecting the appropriate wear should enable you to be fully covered as much as possible, but will still allow for movement, especially when already wet. One important tip you should know is not to dress based on the weather but based on the water. There are more tips here about wearing layers to ensure that you are ready for whatever weather condition and other dressing guidelines. You can even layer your clothes if the water is too cold to retain much of your body temperature and keep you warm throughout.
Wearing the Right Shoes
When you kayak, it might take you some distance to reach your destination. You could be walking on stony beaches or rough hiking areas, so it is best to ensure that you are wearing good waterproof shoes. The best option is to get wet shoes since you are going to be wet, especially when you get off the kayak and into the water. To keep your feet warmer, you can wear non-cotton socks underneath so they can dry off easily and would be comfortable even when worn wet. Kayaking barefoot is not recommended because you can walk on a sharp stone or object underwater, and you can get injured. Wounds or injuries should be avoided when you are going to be wet for long periods, so proper footwear and protection are important.
Accessories and Others
There are a lot of accessories you can carry for safety purposes. These can be in your bag, especially when you are planning on camping during the duration of your trip. For water supply, you can carry with you a water purification tool, so you have safe water to drink anytime. Bug sprays and other insect repellants are important too since there are a lot of them that can bite you and leave irritation to the skin. If you want to bring your gadgets, make sure that they are in waterproof casings and are attached to you so they won't get lost in the water. One of the most important things you should carry is sunscreen to protect all exposed skin from the sun. Apply every 30 minutes at most and make sure that every part that is not covered by clothing is also covered.
Knowing First Aid
In any adventure, one wouldn't know when accidents might happen. It is essential to learn a few basic first aid techniques. This can be handy in case an accident happens and you need to give aid while waiting for respondents. One of the most important maneuvers to learn is CPR for a drowned person. At least one or two people from the group should be knowledgeable about this. Bringing a first aid kit is also important should anyone get wounds and bruises. Include several ointments for burns and insect bites as well. The important medication you should bring is for fever, headache, stomach ache, and antihistamine.
Getting Familiar with Your route
In deciding which route to choose on your kayak trip, it is important to know first the kind of water you are comfortable in. You can choose large bodies of water like the ocean and the beach, or you can opt for smaller lakes and rivers. When you decide your location, you should also know the route you will take, especially when you go for long stretches of the river. Wild rivers can be unpredictable and would sometimes not need paddling for you to move, so be prepared with these and be at least an experienced kayaker before you go for these kinds of routes. Find out which areas are the most dangerous and which areas are the safest for when you need to swim to safety. You should also take note of the places where people who can rescue are, like the bay watchers and other rescuers.
Choosing the right Package
Guided tours are great for first-timers since they can have packages that can assist you from booking your trip to the actual kayaking in the water. They can also give the needed basic training to ensure your safety during your adventure. For seasoned kayakers, they prefer to go on individual trips though most of them still go for rentals for their kayaks and other equipment. If you want to include other water adventures, ask a package that can give you a lot of options. Depending on the location, there can be other exciting water activities they can offer so you can have the ultimate summer trip with your friends and loved ones.
Kayaking is another adventure you can do to enjoy the summer season. These tips can help you in your adventure so you can stay safe, healthy, and well-prepared for any situation. This water sport is exciting and challenging but still easy to learn and enjoy, for newbies and seasoned ones alike.