Want To Start Kayaking – Beginning to Kayak?


Beginning to kayak, or if you’re thinking about how to start kayaking?  Then there is some information you need to know before you try it and make decisions on if you like it or not from your first and only attempt.

What most newbie paddlers don’t know is there are many types of kayaks and the ease of paddling; ease of tipping over varies wildly depending on the model and type.  Some people will try kayaking once and decide they don’t like it because the kayak they used tipped over and they got wet, maybe got embarrassed at what is referred to as a “wet exit” in kayak talk.

One way to get introduced to the sport is to sign up for a kayak symposium event.  At these events well known certified instructors provide all levels of instruction.  This is kind of a “one stop shop” for someone new to the sport and wanting to quickly try it out and improve skills in a compressed time period.

There is usually a kayak demo event so you can tryout all kinds of different boats in the water.  All of the kayaks may look similar in the store showroom.  But it is sort of like buying a car; you have to drive it first before you know if the boat is right for you.

There are 4 kayaks in my garage and I’m starting to build a Greenland style Skin On Frame kayak in February.  My main kayak is a roto mold P & H Capella it is 22” wide and 16’7″ long, classified as a sea kayak. I consider it a very stable kayak and it does not roll unless you want it to. My friend has a Valley Nordcap it is 21” wide and 17’ long. I found the Nordcap at a demo to be much more unstable than my kayak. The hull design for the most part dictates the stability of the kayak. In a kayak small dimension changes make a big difference. These differences cannot be discovered until you are in the water with the boat.

So I recommend going to a demo in the water prior to jumping in and buying a kayak. Many kayak stores run demos as well, the beauty of a kayak symposium is that you get the demo and instruction all in one spot, immersed in a place with lots of experienced paddlers. Go online and search for kayak symposiums in your area and sign-up soon before they fill-up when the nice weather returns.

I do most of my paddling on the Huron River chain of lakes in Southeast Michigan. I live on the chain so it is easy access for me. I will be heading to Northern Michigan this summer for several kayak symposiums where I hope to improve my skills. I’m already signed up for the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium in Grand Marais Michigan (I was the first to sign up).

When getting in a kayak to try paddling even a demo, remember to wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD).  All experienced kayakers wear them and you should too.  Paddle safe and enjoy kayaking, it is good fun exercise.

What are you going to do when winter ends?

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2 Comments

  1. No winter down here in TX. So the kayaking goes year around.
    Good post about how people can get started in kayaking and the suggestion to visit a symposium. Taking some at least basic classes is what everyone new to this sport, should do. It might not be law in every state but wearing a PFD is also always recommended.
    Proper clothing and protection from the elements is another subject. I wrote some posts with lots of information about how to get started with kayaking, or kayak fishing on my site.

  2. Thanks for the comment, I will check out your posts as well.

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