How to Kayak for Beginners?

Published by John on

Kayaking is a soothing activity. You glide your kayak across the smooth glassy stretch of water, while your swift through the reflective surface. It is definitely an activity you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

If you have signed up for a tour, a class, or even rented a kayak, then you might want to have certain knowledge before you fully get into the activity! Don’t worry, here are some tips that will help you out.  

Safety and Gear

Firstly, you need to have your gear on a check. Having appropriate gear is extremely important and makes sure you were safe during the activity.

Make sure you have a life jacket with you at all times, a bilge pump and a paddle. These are the main things you need to launch your kayak.

Apart from that, you also need to make sure that you are wearing the right gear yourself! Try going for light swimwear. In addition to that, wear a hat that shields you from the sun. A rain jacket or a vest might come in handy too.

Make sure you are equipped according to the weather and are comfortable end protected during your right. Your clothes should not restrict your movement when trying to paddle!

Adjusting Yourself in The Kayak

The well-adjusted you are the better control you are likely to have when you start to paddle here are some tips that will help you adjust adequately. Here are some tips:

  • Sit firmly on the seat, which is at the hindsight of the kayak, maintain a good balance, and find a comfortable position too!
  • Place the balls of your feet on the foot pegs which are at the front side of the kayak. Your knees should be slightly bent as well. This position will improve your overall balance.

Launching Your Kayak

It is recommended that you launch a kayak parallel to the shoreline. Start by carrying the boat towards shallow water.

  1. The bow should face away from the coastline, and the stern should be closer to the shore.
  2. Adjust your paddle to the side deck of the kayak.
  3. Grab the cockpit (the middle seating area) and adjust yourself in it, make sure you are comfortable and have your balance in check, with your feet in the right position.
  4. Then you can continue to grab your paddle and start to paddle past the waves that are hitting the shore. Once you go past the waves, you will reach calmer water.


Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees and make sure you have a firm grasp on your paddles. They should be going over your head when you start to sway them.

Make sure your paddles are parallel to each other, and the longer edge of the blade is on top. Incorrect position can restrict your movement in the water.

Make an ‘O’ like position with your index and thumb finger. This is how you should ideally be holding the paddle shaft.

Once you have all that in check, relax your nerves, and you are good to go. There is always a learning curve, and with practice, you will surely get the hang of it!

To have a better understanding here is a very useful video:

There are different types of kayaks and modular kayaks are good for novices too.

Categories: How-To


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