Have you always wanted to kayak, but been scared because of the visual menace you’ve witnessed? It’s actually extremely invigorating if you have everything under control. Whether you want to take a day off and silently paddle on a calm lake, or you want to race your friends on a steady stream, kayaking fulfills all purposes.
But if you’re a beginner and just starting to get the hang of inflatable kayaking, you must follow a few guidelines that can make you look like a pro and ensure maximum safety. Also, be sure to practice a lot before you go kayaking to withstand all challenges that come with this thrilling activity. Follow these tips to get the best out of your first experience:

1. Educate Yourself on Relevant Equipment

The first thing you need to learn about is the equipment that’s required in kayaking. Among those, the primary thing is a kayak itself. If you’re a beginner and need some practice, we’d recommend buying an inflatable kayak that’s easy to carry during trips and practice sessions, is durable, and extremely comfortable. You can read more here to find out which kayak best suits your needs. Comparing different models can help you choose the one that’s comfortable to sit in, can carry enough weight, and is functionally versatile. 
Paddles are an equally important tool that’ll help move your kayak forward. Depending on the kind of inflatable kayak you buy, you’ll get the right kind of paddles that are compatible with the vessel. Other necessary gear includes:
  • Headlamp: for kayaking in dusky weather or at night.
  • Paddling gloves: for protecting your hands and fingers from damage.
  • Compass and radio: for making out directions and weather conditions.
  • Life jacket or a personal flotation device: needless to say, an important life-saving tool.
  • Bilge pump: to pump out water if it enters the kayak.

Make sure that you carry all these on your first kayaking adventure.

2. Get the Paddling Technique Right

Before learning the right paddling technique, you need to learn how to get in and out of the kayak. Once you’ve done that, learn how to handle the paddle right. The concave blade should face toward you, and the shaft, which is the holding part of the paddle should be gripped in a relaxed position. The following strokes should be practiced to get your paddling skills right.
Forward stroke: The paddle should be pushed in the water near your toes and pushed backward in the direction of your hip. Repeat the same on the other side by pulling the paddle out and pushing in the water by rotating your front body. This helps in moving your kayak forward. Reverse stroke: The back part of your kayak is called stern. Look behind, place the backside of the paddle beside your hip and the stern, and push it forward. You need to let your body rotate and shift its weight according to the paddle stroke. Sweep stroke: This stroke is used to change the direction of your kayak. Place the paddle beside your toe and the tip of your kayak, make an arc-shaped motion by pushing the paddle toward the stern, and repeat the same with the other side.

3. Check the Weather and Water Conditions Before You Head Out

If you’re practicing alone, it’s extremely important to check the weather and water conditions of the place before you get on the water. The climatic conditions can change suddenly, which may leave you deserted—or worse, get your kayak capsized due to rough water levels. Apart from checking the recent weather forecast, you need to learn about the wind directions and the tide conditions to be safe. 

4. Some Safety Precautions

Since you’re a beginner, there are a few extra points you’d be better off taking into account before embarking on your first adventure. It’s always better to take a friend or a guide with you when you’re going kayaking. Keep a distance limit to be safe and don’t go beyond the suggested water depth and dangerous spots. Check the water temperature and dress accordingly so as not to fall sick, and always wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn. Remember to bring your whistle to alert nearby paddlers or locals in case of danger. Also, for your first time, select a calm body of water like a pond or a still lake instead of a river.
With these tips and a lot of practice, you’ll become a pro in no time. Get ready to turn into a master kayaker from a mere beginner. It’s important to learn the right techniques and follow safety procedures. The rest will come easy, and it’ll be so much fun!