7 Steps to Get Started Kayaking

I love kayaking, it’s an amazing sport! It’s one of the most fun sports ever! It’s also a great way to see the world and get outside. I would love to see it grow and to get more people paddling. So I hope these 7 steps will help you Get Started Kayaking.

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1: Gear

To begin kayaking you’re going to need to get yourself some gear. At the very least, you are going to need a helmet, a spray skirt, a life jacket (PFD), a paddle and of course a kayak. You can not paddle with out any of these 5 things. I use a Shred Ready Super Scrappy helmet, a Snap Dragon Spray Skirt, a Kokatat PFD, Accent Paddles and Jackson Kayaks.

If  you are going to be paddling in colder water you might want to consider a dry-top or dry-suit. I recommend Kokatat Watersports Wear, they have the best gear in the industry and offer a great warranty deal on their dry-suits!

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2: Outfit yourself

Outfit your gear and kayak so that they fit you properly. Make sure your helmet is tight and does not fall over your face. Your PFD should be snug, as well as your skirt so no water can seep through. To ensure your boat fits you right it shouldn’t be too tight or too loose but  just perfect so that you can make an easy wet exit.

3 and 4: Paddle strokes, wet exit and roll

Learn your paddle strokes and make sure you get that torso rotation. Before learning your roll make sure you can pull your skirt and make a wet exit. Watch EJ’s Rolling and Bracing DVD over and over again so you know the steps of your roll. It explains it very well and it’s the DVD that taught us all how to roll.  You can practice rolling in a nice eddy on a river or find a pool that allows kayaking.

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5: Practice

One of the most helpful things I’ve done and still do is film all my kayaking sessions and then I watch them later. It helps me understand what I am doing wrong and what I need to do differently. You basically grade yourself on how you did and you can learn what you need to do differently quicker! If you practice over and over again even if you fail keep practicing you will get it!  It helps to have other people who know how to do the tricks watch with you and give you insight.  Do not give up,  It may take you 1000 try’s, but you will eventually get it!

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6: Safety

Never paddle alone. Always have someone with you on the river! This is for your safety so that you can get help if needed. Also bring your safety equipment. Learn how to throw a rope and pack it back up. If you are running a river for the first time, it’s always a good idea to get out and scout the rapids before running them.  This gives you the opportunity to look at the rapid and pick your line before you run it.

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7: Get over the fear

Don’t be afraid! Kayaking can be scary but it’s also the most fun sport ever. If you’re afraid of rolling over and being upside down practice your roll over and over again.  Make yourself flip in eddy’s and go playboating as often as possible.  Playboating almost always ends in you being upside down, so it’s the best roll practice you can get. Rolling often will gain your confidence and get rid of your fear!  Don’t let fear or anything else get in your way, just do what you truly want to do!  And have fun!  Always, always have fun!

– Kady

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