In the second in our series on watersports we look at kayaking, from the basics to how to improve, where to go and more.
What is kayaking?
Kayaking is a sport you can do wherever there is water! From lakes to white water rapids to the open sea. The kayak is a low to the water vessel that the paddler sits in, generally it has a closed top though there are sit on top versions for calmer waters.
What’s the difference between kayaking and canoeing?
There are two main differences; the sitting position – in a canoe the paddler either kneels down or sits on a raised seat while a kayaker sits down with their legs straight out in front of them, and the paddle – a canoe paddle has a blade at just one end, while a kayak paddle has one at each end. Kayaks are designed to be faster and more agile, and canoes are more roomy and stable.
Do I need to be fit?
As with any sport a reasonable level of fitness to start with is an asset. Kayaking is a great upper body and core work out, as well as being good cardio exercise so you can kill two birds with one stone. Soreness is a possibility when you begin so it is a good idea to get instruction to learn proper form and technique. This brings us onto…
When starting out it is best to go with an instructor and never alone. If you are taking part in an excursion your instructor/guide will give you some safety tips before heading out and also provide you with a life jacket or personal flotation device which you should wear at all times even in calm waters. Depending on where you are paddling the instructor will show you some basic techniques like how to paddle efficiently so you don’t tire yourself out, if you are out in the sea you may learn a basic roll. Safety instructions will depend on the type of excursion you are on.
Where can I try it?
Basically anywhere there is a reasonably sized stretch of water. In the UK and Ireland there are a number of coastal and inland centres you can go to if you want to give it a try
You can find the nearest centre to you on the British canoeing website
If you fancy trying it somewhere a bit warmer then have a look at some of our watersports holidays, many of which include at least one outing on a kayak. If you are really interested in getting going, then we recommend these more specialized breaks:
Learn to kayak on Lake Bled, Slovenia – after one week you will gain a Green or Yellow Euro Paddle Pass diploma.
Those who already have a little experience and a good level of fitness can try our Croatian Sea Kayaking Holiday – you will be paddling for 4-5 hours per day in a group of 4-16 people around the beautiful Sibenik archipelago.
Need more info? Let us know in the comments below or contact us.
Did you know…?
The work Kayak comes from the Inuit ‘qayaq’, loosely translated as ‘boat made of skins’, they used them for hunting and fishing.
See our other blogs in the watersports series:
A beginner's guide to canyoning