How Do I Start Sea Kayaking? – All You Need to Know

One of the outstanding features of kayaking is bringing you closer to nature. Kayaking requires some certain skills and ability to interact with your surroundings. Once you get enough basic knowledge and skills to paddle to explore wilderness areas, then sea kayaking is a great sport. In calm waters, paddling is quite easy. However, in the tough conditions like white water areas or ocean sea, you need to have more experiences. Kayak is relatively small compared to other boats, and it looks dangerous when going out on the sea. However, once you gain required skills, kayaking is the safest sea transportation.

Here are some tips for you to consider if this is your first time with sea kayaking.

Take a course

The first thing to start is taking a course on sea kayaking to acquire basic knowledge and necessary skills to ensure safety when paddling. Besides, you can get more information through videos or books. There are a large number of people who want to join in this course. They are those who like to go exploring remote areas and vast ocean, kayak marathon participants, or the newcomer to the sea.

Basic knowledge

Choosing suitable kayak for you

Of course, you cannot go sea kayaking without a kayak. It is why the first thing you need to learn is choosing the right Kayak . If you are going to a calm ocean, a recreational kayak will be perfect for you. This is because it’s inexpensive and quite stable in slow moving water. Especially, thanks to the wide and open design of cockpit, you can easily get in or jump out of the boat for swimming time.

Choosing suitable kayak for you

Image source: Sportingarea.com

In fact, open sea areas require a touring kayak. This kayak has a small cockpit that helps paddlers sit firmly in the seat, used for professional kayakers to paddle in the open water areas. Although there is a large storage space so you can carry more items for the trip, a touring kayak is not as stable as a recreational kayak and quite difficult to use. Furthermore, once you have attained all the kayaking skills and strive for an exciting trip in rapid water, you can go with a stocky-design whitewater kayak.

Dressing appropriately

The next thing you need to remember is clothes must be matched with the destination, especially water temperature and weather condition. In particular, bring a hat and sunglasses to avoid the sun, apply sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin, and choose quick drying clothes made from thin material and many layers to keep the body well ventilated.

Sea Kayaking techniques

Kayaking techniques can be summed up in one action: put the paddle into the water and pull. Obviously, paddling fast and rhythmically forward will make your boat move. Gripping your paddle lightly will allow you to control the movements of the boat and keep your arms from muscle soreness.

Most importantly, always keep your upper body balance by pointing your nose forward and lined up with the boat. Once you balance, you can prevent the boat from turning over, and the control of its movement will be easier.  Besides, padding with your style is encouraged because you will feel more comfortable. It will allow you to move smoothly on the water.

Sea kayaking accessories

Another important tip is that you should be equipped with necessary accessories when going on sea kayaking.

PFD

No matter what type of kayak you choose, you will need a personal flotation device (PFD). A PFD helps keep you float and protect the upper body from any water obstacles. PFD is designed simply to avoid inhibition of your arm’s movement, bringing comfort when paddling. Currently, there are many types of PFDs specially designed to fit most kayaks.

PFD

Image source: Chicago Area Sea Kayakers Association (CASKA): Safety

It is true that kayak does not float well when it is filled with water. Therefore, even if you are a professional kayaker, always carry a PFD that is fit and comfortable during the trip with you, especially in open water areas.

Paddle

The next thing that you cannot forget is a paddle. A paddle is usually from 7 to 8 feet long. But if you are a type of person who likes to kayak skillfully with fast speed, you should go with a shorter one. The paddle has two types, which are an inexpensive straight shaft and curved shaft that works to reduce the burden on your wrist.

Paddle

Image source: Wilderness Scotland

Spray skirt

Also, the spray skirt is a useful neoprene accessory that wraps around your waist. It prevents water from entering into the boat. A good spray skirt is a necessary accessory not only for a kayaking trip in rough waters areas. Or in bad weather with a chance of wind and rain, but also in many other conditions.

Spray skirt

Image source: foldingkayaks.org

Layers and breathable nylon spray skirt can be adjusted to fit different waist sizes and suitable for trips in fat waters. Moreover, a neoprene spray skirt will help you seal the cockpit. Also, it helps to prevent water from overflowing into the boat, which is perfect for whitewater trip.

When selecting spray skirt, buy one that fits your body and your kayak. However, don’t choose a too tight skirt to avoid difficulties when removing. Currently, there are several shops selling skirt spay paddle along with the kayak. Remember to check their quality carefully and compare to the total price of the boat to make sure you get a bargain.

Float bag

Moreover, if your kayak has no bulkhead, you will need a float bag – an extremely important accessory that prevents the boat from sinking in case you fall in the water.

Float bag

Image source: NRS

Bilge pump

Last but not least, a bilge pump is what you are going to need to remove water out of your boat. Although we have spray skirt, a bilge pump will help to drain your cockpit quickly. Without bilge pump, the boat will sink or flip by too much water.

Bilge pump

Image source: YouTube

Additionally, using buckets is not highly recommended because it is difficult to get all the water out of the boat. Besides, the remains will annoy your legs and make the boat less stable.

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