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The Best Kayaking Tips for Beginners

Kayaking is the perfect recreational pastime for virtually anyone. Here’s how to make the most out of your first dip into this fun activity.

Are you (or is someone you know) ready to learn more about the exciting sport of kayaking? If so, you might be wondering how to best get started. Much like cycling, kayaking needs very few preparations and will feel natural and familiar after just a short time.

We’ve put together an extensive collection of how-to videos that will get you inspired and show you the basics. Plus, we offer this short list of tips for beginners to help set you up for success.

Safety First

At any intensity, kayaking is an activity that requires a few, simple safety precautions. A life vest or jacket (PFD) is must-have gear, whether you’re in calm waters or something more challenging.

Because of the high reflectance of the water, sunscreen is essential. Even during overcast or cloudy days, it’s important to wear adequate skin protection at all times during the day.

And, don’t forget the buddy system. Kayaking is safer and more enjoyable when you have a friend along for the ride.

Start Slow - Know Your Limit

When venturing out for the first time, never attempt to paddle a distance from shore that you’re unable to swim. It’s better to remain close to the shoreline or sea wall to ensure your safety at all times.

Start in calmer waters. Take your first outing as an opportunity to learn your boat, the water and the surrounding areas. There’s plenty of time for more challenging bodies of water after you’ve become more comfortable with your abilities.

Get the Basics Down

Knowing the proper strokes ahead of time will help make your first kayaking experience more enjoyable.

It’s important to hold your paddle correctly, with the concave side of the blades facing towards you. Keep your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and stroke from one side to the other. The blade of the paddle should enter the water, aligned with your feet and lifted when aligned with your hips.

Posture, Posture, Posture

Even with a roomy, comfortable cockpit, it’s important to keep proper posture while kayaking. Be sure to sit up straight with your legs positioned fully in front of you. This will help ensure you’re using the right muscles to get the most out of your paddling efforts and will prevent muscle fatigue later.

Keep the Focus on Fun

For your first few outings, it’s best to pick a spot that features calmer waters with little traffic. Smaller ponds, lagoons and inlets are the perfect places to start your kayaking excursions.

Consider going with a small group. You’ll have plenty of guidance along the way and a memorable experience to share with others.

Above all, remember that kayaking is the activity you make it. From relaxing and cleansing to intense and invigorating, it’s totally your call.

Don't forget to soak up all of our how-to videos for even more tips and tricks. From basic strokes to launching techniques, we've got you covered.

Finally, if you're looking for the perfect lineup of kayaks for beginners, Oru Kayak has a full range of models to choose from. Lightweight, super stable and packable, an Oru Kayak is the ideal companion for your next, big adventure.

So, get out there and dip into the fun.