If you have never tried kayaking, it can be an intimidating sport for beginners to start.  Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it looks.  You will need the right gear before you get out on the water.  Here are some tips on how to get into kayaking.

solo person in canoe

#1 Safety First

Accidents can happen even if you are an experienced kayaker, so you need to be prepared.  Always take these basic kayaking safety precautions:

  • Have a means of calling for help (i.e. cell phone) and keep it within reach
  • Wear an appropriate kayaking PFD.
  • Check the weather and tides (if applicable).
  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the conditions and your trip.

As a beginner, you should never kayak alone.

#2 Choose Your Kayak

One of the biggest decisions for a beginner is what kayak they should purchase. It can be a big investment.  When you start out, you could also consider renting the equipment.

several colorful kayaks leaning up against a wall

There are many types of kayaks to choose from, and it can be difficult to know which one will be best. This is because different types of kayaks are better suited for certain situations than others.

Think about the type of water you will use it in, how often the kayak will be used, how many people will use it, the skill level of the people using it, and your budget.  That will help you narrow down the choices.

An inflatable kayak is an inexpensive way to get started and it doesn’t take up much storage room.  It’s also easy to transport wherever you need to take it.

Oh and don’t forget you will need a paddle too!  When choosing paddles, consider the measurement of your torso and the width of kayak you’ll be paddling.

#3 Choose the Right Place to Start Kayaking

For your first-time kayaking, it might be a good idea to choose a place where the water will be calm.  Save the white water and rapids for another time.  A lake or calm river is probably best.  Ideally you want to be able to see the other shore.  Try for a place that doesn’t have too many powerboat traffic either.

#4 Don’t Overdo It

Keep your first few trips short.  You don’t want to overdo your first kayaking trips and not have the energy to make it back to shore.  Plan your route in advance and identify spots where you can take a break if needed.  Once you feel comfortable, you can extend the length of your trips.

#5 Consider Taking a Lesson or Hiring a Kayak Guide

two people kayaking together

If you are apprehensive about getting on the water, a good idea would be to take a lesson from an experienced kayaker or take a guided tour with an experienced guide.  This way you can learn the proper paddling techniques and there is also someone to look after you.

A professional instructor can also teach you how to flip a kayak, which could help boost your confidence in the water.

#6 Read Books about Kayaking

Get some inspiration from reading books about kayaking.  Whether it’s exciting stories of adventure or more basic guidebooks, it will help you with what to expect and you will probably learn a few things.  Who knows, maybe one-day you will be sharing your own journey with kayaking.