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Tips For Beginners Planning To Try Sea Kayaking

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Published November 21, 2021 | Updated April 10, 2022

So you’re planning to conquer the sea? With your oar ready and your kayak all set, all that’s left to acquire are tips for sea kayaking for beginners. It’s not just about slipping on your kayak and paddling until you can’t see the shore. Sea kayaking could be daunting at times but this could be worthwhile if you’re practically prepared.

Once you mastered some basic paddling strokes and self-rescue methods, you’re ready to be in the open waters. Kayaking is a wonderful activity and it ranges from calm and extreme. This a very inclusive sport-if you consider it as one-since every skill level can explore the waters whenever they want.

But before you get too hyped for your own adventures, take a step back and read the following tips. These are just basic and obvious but it never fails to save a life or two.

Kayak 101: Tips For Beginners Planning To Try Sea Kayaking

1. Get the right kayak

Even the best kayaker would fail on his journey if he’s stuck on an uncomfortable and tipping vessel. If you want to start kayaking, you better start it right. There are different types like sit-inside, sit on top, and tandem that will fit your pursuit of paddling. It’s a crucial point here to decide whether you’re in for recreational or professional kayaking.

Recreational kayaks are a bit basic with the additions of some gears for fishing or better speed. Professional paddling, on the other hand, has more feature-specific structure but it might cost more compared to the latter.

2. Invest in safety gears

kayaking with the right gear

Life vests, scupper plugs, flotation devices, and other equipment that will keep you afloat in the event of capsizing are must-haves for every beginner. This is regardless if you’re a good swimmer as you’ll never know when your sit-inside kayak will get you stuck and flailing underwater.

You don’t have to be in a “full combat mode” just to do sea kayaking for beginners. If you pair it with some safety precautions, a life vest, and a few scupper plugs will keep your boat from tipping and you from drowning. Some equipment for kayaking can be bought individually so you don’t have to shell out a big amount right away.

3. Enroll in a kayak class

If you’re a total dummy, it’s best to start with a kayaking instructor to teach you the basics. You can surely learn this on your own but you just can’t take chances on your safety. On a kayak class, you’ll get to learn paddling strokes, maneuvers, and self-rescue techniques that are crucial to becoming a hustler paddler.

Taking lessons is important if you’re planning to do kayaking as a profession. There are requirements that you have to meet first before you can teach someone else. Also, leveling up your skill level is important if you want to kayak on the extreme rapids.

4. Know and practice the basics

Give much attention to paddling and doing Eskimo rolls. Such skills will prevent your kayak from tipping during strong currents or windy conditions when you’re going sea kayaking for beginners. It’s not enough that you have the pulse to hold the paddle, you should also have a few hacks on your sleeves.

The rule of thumb is to hold the oar with a light but not too flimsy grip. This will reduce the possible strain on your arms and you’ll get to paddle with more flexibility.  Also, you have to learn how to balance. This is easy to imagine but if you hop on the kayak for the first time, you’ll be wobbling like jelly. Always place your body in the center of gravity. With that, simply align your nose with the center of your kayak

5. Always bring a friend

friends enjoying kayaking together

Sea kayaking for beginners could be dangerous when done alone. You should bring a friend or guide to help you out in case you experience some hiccups like a low-floating kayak, a dropped oar, or capsizing incidents. Going alone is never safe-and fun-even for skilled kayakers so the many that you tag along, the better. This is especially true if you’re planning to dip your oar on the uncharted big drink.

When we say bringing along some friends, make sure that they are not also newbies. It’s best to have at least two veterans with you so you’ll learn from their techniques and your mistakes.

6. Be in the loop with the weather

The worst thing you can ever do on your first kayaking trip is launching your boat without checking the weather. The sea is a picture of calm water but it can turn into a scary and deadly monster during a harsh weather. Never dare to paddle during a bad weather as you’ll be putting yourself in danger.

For beginners, it’s best to choose a part of the sea that’s covered from strong winds and large waves. This might mean not going far from the shore but that’s better than getting thrown from your kayak in the middle of a swirling sea.

7. GPS could be a lifesaver

Stuffing your smartphone with GPS and location applications will be a lifesaver if ever you lost your way back to the shore. However, this is only as powerful as its battery and if you happen to run out of juice in the middle of the sea, you’re doomed. It pays to know how to use a compass and to read nautical charts so you can find your way back.

Choosing a waterproof device would also be a great choice. Capsizing and getting lost could sound very tragic but that can happen to a newbie who braves the sea with no contingencies.

8. Sea Kayaking For Beginners: Keep the adventure in moderation

Having the first experience of the sea is the greatest joy of a newbie kayaker. It’s easy to fall on the rabbit hole of paddling but always keep in mind that adventure, too, should be kept in moderation. Always kayak within your means and skills. Also, never shy away from the advice of the veterans as this will be your guiding light on your future expeditions.

If you want to get bolder on the sea, take time to study and improve your skills. Attend classes if need be.

Sea kayaking for beginners is an exciting journey but it can also be a dangerous one if the paddler failed to prepare. Knowing the basics doesn’t need much of a sailor skill. You just have to do it repeatedly until your body is coordinated with it. Do you agree with these? Let us know your thoughts about this post!

Jay Schwartz author of Kayak Guidance

About the Author - Jay Schwartz:

Hey there kayak lovers! I’m Jay Schwartz, the author here at Kayak Guidance! You know water sports – you know me! My life is all about it. Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Fishing, Snorkeling and so much more. I love to share my passion and knowledge with all of you. 

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