If you are looking to learn about kayaking for beginners, there are three primary things to keep in mind. First, remember that safety is paramount and you should never kayak alone. You should always have a partner with you at all times and they should be competent enough to know how to handle themselves in the kayak.
If you’re new to the world of whitewater kayaking then you will need to familiarize yourself with the different types of rapids you can encounter in the river. Most rivers have gradients that range from moderate to steep. Gradually changing the gradient creates turbulence which traps water in the midsection of the river, creating an unstable eddy current which looks like white foam floating on top of the surface of the water. And just so you know, there is more than just river kayaking basics here to discuss the fundamentals of whitewater kayaking basics, as in this article, we are also going to cover some “under the water” kayaking basics as well! Now, let’s get started.
In the United States, rivers are not only a great place to go kayaking, but they are miles of scenic stretches of water with rapids to test the kayakers’ skill and strength. For this reason, regulations and rules vary across the board, but there are some basic requirements that apply to all rivers no matter what state or country you are in. The most important thing to know before getting started is that proper personal safety equipment is required by law. This equipment should include life jackets for every passenger on the kayak, flotation devices such as life jackets and paddle, paddles themselves, and a rope or other means of rope to assist in emergency rescue if needed.
Now, that you are aware of the basics, let’s discuss some “under the water” kayaking basics first. Although it may look like there is not much to kayaking, in truth, there is a lot to it! The first thing you need to know is that it is not simply paddling down the “water” but rather getting yourself up to a good swimming speed, usually between five and ten miles per hour, depending on the river. This means that kayaking on a fast flat water river can be very interesting, but can also be dangerous if you aren’t ready to move quickly or safely! Here are a few “moving” basics to help you get started, or to prepare you for an upcoming river trip.
First, let’s talk about entering and exiting a kayak. This involves making the kayak paddle turn, and the process of applying the kayaking sprays. If you’re new to kayaking, it can be difficult to apply the sprays, especially at higher speeds. Some people recommend using an old swimmer’s wetsuit to practice applying the sprays, but for most people it is simply a matter of making sure your paddle makes a complete turn to enter and then another turn to exit the kayak. Once you have mastered this simple process, you can move on to more advanced techniques.
The second “moving” kayaking skill you should learn is how to properly handle the paddle, especially when entering and exiting the kayak. In order to successfully get into and out of the kayak, you must make sure that your hands enter at the appropriate time, and then you must rotate your body so that you are pointing forward, and then your arms are perpendicular to your body. Many kayaking teachers will recommend using a “hitting pad” to practice this technique. There are also several devices available on the market that you can strap to your paddle that simulate hitting a paddle.
Once you have gotten your feet in the water and you have a reasonable feeling of how your paddle moves, you are ready to move on to practicing maneuvering through the water. One of the most important skills in kayaking is maneuverability, and you need to learn how to get started and maneuver along the shore and into turns. Again, you can either practice this on the equipment at your local boating store or you can spend some time studying up on the subject. There is a lot of information on this subject available on the internet. Some websites offer advice on selecting appropriate safety equipment, locating safe spots to get started, and the importance of being courteous to other kayakers while using the water.
Once you have learned all of the above basic kayaking skills, it is time to start practicing the rapids that will likely be a part of your first river kayak adventure. This part of kayaking is not very difficult, but there are some techniques that you should try in order to make sure you don’t get injured. River kayaking is not for everyone, but with a little patience and persistence, you can become competent in this area quickly. Once you have some experience under your belt, start moving onto Grand Canyon kayaking and travel further into the Colorado Rockies.