8 kayaking tips for beginners

8 kayaking tips for beginners

See nature from anoth­er per­spec­tive – hit the water in a kayak. These tips will have you pad­dling in no time.

Kayak­ing is a fun and unique way to explore nature. Unlike walk­ing or hik­ing, you get to give your legs and rest but give your arms a bit of a work out.

So grab your kayak and pad­dle and enjoy the great out­doors with these handy tips:

1. Sit on top’ ver­sus sit in’ kayaks

Hav­ing the right equip­ment is key. If you’re just start­ing out, opt for a sit on top’ kayak rather than a sit in’ kayak. These kayaks are eas­i­er to pad­dle, and because they have an open top you can get in and out of them eas­i­ly. They’re usu­al­ly wider, more sta­ble, and much more com­fort­able to sit in as the seat is made of mould­ed plastic.

Sit in’ kayaks require more advanced pad­dling tech­niques. If you have one of these and would like to hone your tech­nique, it’s best to gain more expe­ri­ence under the guid­ance of a qual­i­fied kayak instruc­tor.

2. Row, row, row your boat

Not sure how to pad­dle? Both of your hands should be approx­i­mate­ly shoul­der-width apart. Dip one end of the pad­dle in the water and pull this low­er hand back­wards while push­ing for­wards with the upper hand, before rotat­ing the pad­dle to the oth­er side of the kayak and repeat­ing the same move­ment. When the pad­dle enters the water, it should be at 90 degrees to the boat.

3. Safe­ty first

It’s impor­tant to remem­ber that life­jack­ets, also known as per­son­al flota­tion devices, are a legal require­ment when using a kayak, so pad­dlers must wear one at all times. Not only is it in your best inter­est to wear one, but you could also cop a $270 fine if you’re caught with­out it. 

4. Weath­er conditions

Don’t for­get to con­sid­er wind and tide con­di­tions before you head out with your kayak. There are plen­ty of free weath­er apps you can down­load to help you plan ahead. Some areas become very shal­low when the tide is low, so you could get strand­ed if you don’t time it right.

Remem­ber to apply sun­screen and regard­less of the weath­er, pack a spare change of clothes in case you go over­board or get wet. And always bring plen­ty of drink­ing water and wear sun­glass­es and a hat.

5. Part­ner­ing up

It’s more fun pad­dling with oth­ers and it’s also safer in case of an emer­gency. Hav­ing a kayak­ing bud­dy is also advised if you’re using a cov­ered sit-in kayak because if you cap­size, one kayak can be used to prop up the oth­er kayak in order to tip water out.

6. Pad­dling at night

Pad­dling between sun­set and sun­rise can be great fun, espe­cial­ly if you have the water to your­self, but you need to take extra pre­cau­tions. Car­ry a buoy­ant, water­proof torch in your safe­ty kit to use if you see oth­er ves­sels – that way you can avoid col­li­sions. Also, don’t for­get to let some­one know where you are going and when you expect to return, espe­cial­ly if you are kayak­ing alone.

7. Share the water

If you see a boat with a motor com­ing towards you, turn your kayak so that you meet the wake head on. This will make cap­siz­ing less likely.

If you’re out on a riv­er and you encounter oth­er pad­dlers, the eti­quette is to pass them on the right, just as you would if you were oper­at­ing a boat or jet ski.

Also, keep your eyes peeled for fish­ing lines. Get­ting tan­gled up in one isn’t fun for any­one, so watch where you’re going. If you’re pad­dling along the riv­er try and pad­dle as far away from the bank as you can.

8. Be responsible

The same rules apply to oper­at­ing a kayak as any oth­er vehi­cle. If you plan to crack a tin­ny, do so in mod­er­a­tion and be sure to stay under the limit.

Top spots for kayak­ing in South Australia

South Australia’s Riv­er Mur­ray is an obvi­ous place to give kayak­ing a go, but some of our nation­al parks are a great option too – there’s even a cou­ple you can try near Adelaide’s CBD:

Onka­paringa Riv­er Recre­ation Park has a new kayak launch which includes steps and a ramp to enable you to safe­ly slide your kayak down to the water.

NPSA Onka­paringa Kayak­ing Video 

You might also like to try kayak­ing through the man­groves of Gar­den Island, which is locat­ed in the Ade­laide Inter­na­tion­al Bird Sanc­tu­ary and Ade­laide Dol­phin Sanc­tu­ary.

Kayak­ing in the Gar­den Island mangroves 

If you’re look­ing for oth­er activ­i­ties to do on the water, why not con­sid­er throw­ing in a line atone of these top fish­ing spots?

This post was put togeth­er with the help of the experts atEasy Kayaks.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living