Kayaking is not only great fun, but also a great work out. Whether you’re seeking a casual day trip or brave in nature, your experience gets considerably greater when paddling in sea water. You need to begin somewhere so I’d recommend learning the ropes with an experienced friend or join a kayak club before plunging your oar in the water. You don’t need the top rated water sports products but they surely make some things easier and more comfortable.
Are we jumping a bit ahead for you? If you’re still looking at buying a kayak then head over to my review of the Fat Yak Kaafu – it’s perfect for beginners.
Prior to launching
Before setting off, remember to bring the essentials with you. I’ve written a post about what you should take on a short day trip when kayaking here. Be sure to dress for the water and not just the weather. You can see the surf forecast online at Magic Seaweed. It’s important to consider the wind and how this will affect you on the water. It’s you’re new to kayaking then try and go on a flat day.
- I always make sure I pack a litre bottle of water with me (sometimes if it’s boiling hot, it’s worth taking another bottle!). I keep one in-between my legs within my kayak, and another in my dry bag, secures on the boot of the yak. It’s worth taking snacks too, as all that paddling can get tiring. It’s usually quite a long day out, by the time you get your equipment together, get to the beach and launch. During the summer we could be out from 7-8am and not get home until gone 8pm! Quite often we take a BBQ with us, and set up camp on a private beach.
- I’ve been using my HP c150w 8MP underwater waterproof digital compact camera for my kayaking posts. I bought it for when my boyfriend and I went to Spain before Christmas. It’s waterproof up to 3 meters and takes up to a 32GB memory card. Additionally it has two screens, rear facing 2.7 inches and front facing 1.8 inches. It’s not the best quality but it beats using a small dry bag and potentially damaging my DSLR, and was a complete bargain for £55 on Amazon.
- Always pack sunscreen! I’m not usually one to burn, but I’ve made the same mistake one too many times, and now never forget sunscreen. I went out last year and it was over cast so I didn’t bother, I ended up coming back looking like a complete lobster, it wasn’t a good look! Be sure to re-apply sunscreen every couple of hours and use a waterproof lotion.
- I’ve recently invested in an pair of C Skin wetsuit 5mm boots in addition to my wetsuit. They have been a God sent when transporting the yaks up and down the beach to the water. Forget cold feet, peddle sore feet or getting stung by a weaver fish. I genuinely love my new boots!
- Where do you keep all this I hear you ask? There are compartments in my Fat Yak Kafuu, however I store most of the above, along with my towel in my Lomo dry bag 30L daysack. It’s just a simple back pack that is water tight and robust for all weather conditions!
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This daysacks have complete carrying system with waist belt, chest strap and twin comfortable shoulder straps. The back is padded and comfortable. Please note that the small, zipped compartment is not as dry as the main compartment as water can penetrate the zip. I didn’t notice this and my lip balm now tastes like sea salt 🙁
What to wear kayaking
This time of year I go out wearing a wetsuit over my bikini, complete with my wetsuit boots to protect my feet. The last thing you want is to be caught a couple hours out when a stormy clouds interrupt your trip, and trust me, it get’s cold on the water in April!
Both my boyfriend and I both have the O’Neill Superfreak wetsuit, so we kind of look like a pair of power rangers! Best features about this suit: It front-entry as opposed to rear entry, so no zip digging into your back when you’re kayaking! It’s stylish and has a pocket and string to attach your keys for safe keeping.
When it’s hot I usually opt for a bikini, but sometimes that’s a little brave if you’re living in England. Instead I’ve been wearing a gorgeous Seafolly rash vest with a front entry zip – perfect when it’s a little breezy out.
Hold the oar with a light grasp. This permits you to control your kayak while staying adaptable and eliminating your chance of straining a muscle. Swift movements with the paddle will increase and keep your direction steady. It’s similar to driving, just focus on the direction you want to go. (Tip: Keep your nose adjusted to the focal point of the pontoon and indicating forward).
Your GPS and iPhone or Android are ideal apparatuses to bring paddling (try the Lifeproof case for your phone). Never rely solely on technology though, as if your battery or signal goes, you don’t want to be left in the lurch. Additionally, never kayak alone, especially as a novice. Bring your friends upon your voyage and make a day of it. Why not bring a BBQ to have a break on a private beach half way?