Kayaking 101

Kayaking is one of the best ways to explore the water. Whether you're kayaking rivers or oceans; whitewater or still water, kayaking is the purest way to explore the world's waterways.

There's something intimate about kayaking close to the water. No other form of watercraft makes you feel as unified with the water as a kayak. Those of you who haven't been kayaking before are missing out on one of life's great pleasures. But fear not. The basics of kayaking are well within anyone's grasp. With a few quick kayaking tips and a little practice, you'll know exactly what I mean when I say that there is no watercraft more seductive than a kayak.

Anyone who can canoe can easily make the transition into kayaking. All you have to do is make allowances for the relative instability of kayaks. Here's how:

Don't Paddle Past Your Hip

When you're canoeing, it's easy to get into a grove and start to dig into the water. That method works fine for canoeing, but if you dig into the water while kayaking, you're going to capsize.

When you're kayaking, make sure you never paddle down past your hip. Kayaks are much less stable than canoes. When you push your paddle past your hip while kayaking, you move your center of gravity over the edge of the craft. That's enough to send you into the water if you're not careful.

In order to keep your balance, you have to keep your center of gravity while kayaking.

Keep The Paddle Blade Perpendicular To Your Path

This rule should be familiar to canoe enthusiasts as well. When your paddle blade is perpendicular to your kayaking path, you get maximum power from your strokes. If you angle the paddle out too much, it will skip through the water without giving you any propulsion for your effort.

However, the real problem comes when you angle your blade in too much. When you angle your blade in you pull the paddle under the boat which throws off your center of gravity and puts you at risk of capsizing.

It takes a little practice to perform a perfect stroke every time, but with a little practice it will become second nature.

Getting Out Of The Kayak

At some point, you're going to have to get out of your kayak- no matter how much you may not want to. The way to perform a safe exit depends on the type of kayak you have.

If you have an open kayak, exiting is easy. All you have to do is stand up and walk away. However, those of you who have a closed kayak will need to work a little harder.

To exit a closed kayak you need to maneuver yourself parallel to the shore. Once you're in position, place your paddle behind your back and use one side to steady yourself on the shore. Then slowly stand up using the paddle to keep yourself steady. Once you're standing, you can step out of your kayak and walk away.

Kayaking is one of the best water sports available. For people who are used to canoeing, the transition to kayaking can be an easy one. The main difference between canoeing and kayaking is that when you're kayaking, you need to be aware of your center of gravity. Balance is the key to successful kayaking.

The basics of kayaking are easy to master. With a little practice you'll be able to make the transition from canoeing to kayaking a smooth one. Trust me; the time you spend perfecting your kayaking skills will be well worth the effort.

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