How to Kayak

How to Kayak
Kayaking is a popular water sport that almost anyone can enjoy. It is fairly simple to learn, especially in calmer waters. Learning the basics of how to kayak requires only a few minutes, so head to a nearby lake or river and rent a boat the next time a sunny day rolls around.


Difficulty: Easy

How to Kayak

Things You’ll Need:
  • Kayak
  • Paddle
  • Life jacket
Step 1
Getting into a kayak can be a bit tricky for beginners. Slide the kayak down to the shore and put the front half of the boat into the water. Hold your paddle in your right hand and approach the kayak from the right side, grasping the cockpit area of the kayak with your left hand. Bend at the knees for balance. Raise your left leg and insert it into the cockpit, using your right thigh to steady the kayak by pressing down on the outside of it. Slide the rest of your body into the cockpit, sitting your bottom down first before pushing off from shore with your right leg and swinging it up and into the boat. If it is a two-seater kayak, the person sitting in the front of the boat should get in first and wait for the person in the back to get in and push off.
Step 2
Paddling your kayak is the next step. Try not to make any jerking movements to avoid rocking the boat. Your torso should remain stable as you paddle, keeping the boat balanced in the water. Grip your paddle perpendicular to your body with both hands spread about shoulder length apart. Paddle with a push-and-pull motion. As you bring the left paddle down, pull through the water with it. At the same time, push the right end of the paddle forward until the stroke is complete. From here, bring the right end down in a pulling motion and push the left end forward. Build a slow rhythm and you will start to propel yourself through the water.
Step 3
Turning and stopping are the next things to master. It is simple to steer a kayak. One option is to paddle on just one side to turn in the opposite direction. In other words, paddle on the left if you want to go right. Another option for turning is to stick your paddle into the water vertically and hold it there on the side of the kayak you want to turn to. All you have to do to stop a kayak is paddle backward until momentum is ceased.
Step 4
Getting out of your kayak is the final aspect of an enjoyable outing. If the shore is sand or earth, paddle until your kayak runs aground. If you do not want to scrape the boat on concrete or other hard surfaces, just pull the boat into shallow water near the shore. Sit up in the cockpit and swing one leg over the side. Stick your paddle vertically in the water on that same time to stabilize yourself. Slowly stand up, placing most of your weight on your leg in the water. Swing your other leg out of the cockpit and stand up all the way, holding on to the cockpit of your kayak so it doesn't drift away. Drag the boat all the way up onto the shore or tie it to a dock to make sure it doesn't get swept out in the current.

Tips & Warnings

Do not paddle too hard at first. Take some time to warm your muscles up and get used to the rhythm of each stroke.
Always keep your boat perpendicular to any waves or wake created by passing boats. Your kayak is more likely to flip over if you are parallel to the waves.
It is advisable to wear a life jacket at all times.
Beginners should go with a friend or two until they are comfortable. This way someone can watch out for you and get help if an accident occurs.

Article Written By David Thyberg

David Thyberg began his writing career in 2007. He is a professional writer, editor and translator. Thyberg has been published in various newspapers, websites and magazines. He enjoys writing about social issues, travel, music and sports. Thyberg holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College with a certificate in Spanish and Latin American studies.

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