Confident swimmers have lots of choices when it comes to water sports. Some, like water-skiing, parasailing and wakeboarding need a boat and someone to operate it, but others, like canoeing or kayaking, are easier to access as you can do them alone. Kayaking is considered a great sport to get involved with, and although people often believe canoeing and kayaking are the same there are a few significant differences.
Although they both involve using a small craft most canoes are open, allowing the person in it to either kneel or sit, while the paddle used has only one blade. The kayak, on the other hand, is generally enclosed, with the person in it sitting with their legs straight out, and it always uses a paddle with a blade at each end.
If you are interested in learning a water sport then kayaking is a great choice for several reasons, which we take a look at here.
Age is no barrier to learning
Children from around age 8 can enjoy kayaking so long as they can swim, are happy to wear a life vest, and are accompanied by an adult who is a confident swimmer, while there’s no definite upper age for a first time kayaker. Youngsters can use specially designed kayaks which are less likely to tip, or to take in water if they do.
It’s an excellent workout
As kayaking doesn’t involve high impact on the body it is a great activity for people with joint problems. It is also a fun way to build muscle strength in the upper body because of the padding, and in the core and legs from the way they are used to keep the momentum. Overall it is also a great cardiovascular workout, and much more fun than the gym.
There’s scope for progress
Although it’s wise to learn how to kayak on flat water there are plenty of options you can go for once experienced, including: sea kayaking, where you swop the smaller rivers for the ocean and surf kayaking, which involves you, a kayak, a paddle and a fin. There are also usually opportunities to try kayaking on whitewater courses. If you like the idea of competing there are various options available, such as sprint racing (on calm water), marathon racing (as the name suggests it’s a long one), and ocean racing, (the toughest challenge).
How to get started
If kayaking sound appealing why not look around for a local club where you can take some lessons using their equipment. This is worth doing as the items needed, (at least a kayak, paddle, wetsuit, helmet, life vest, and cover), can add up, and to buy them without being sure you will like it or keep it up is a risk.
Kayaking is an interesting water sport, which can be as competitive, exciting or relaxing as you choose it to be. It’s also a great way to get or keep fit, and perfect for solo adventurers or family days out.