Look, the simple fact is we don’t all have time to become experts in the operation of personal aquatic vessels. If you do, congratulations. Pat yourself on your smug little back and move on to another article. This guide is for those of us who lead more balanced lives and we don’t need your sneering.
As for the rest of us we’re not afraid to seek help now and again. Now, kayaking isn’t as hard as it looks, but be warned there are a handful of pitfalls that novice kayakers can easily fall into. We’ll take you through some of the most common kayaking blunders so you’ll know what to look out for.
The next time you hit the water, you’ll look like you’ve been doing it for years!
Mistake #1: Standing on the Back of Your Kayak
This is often the first mistake people make. You’ll want to avoid standing on the back half of the kayak at all costs. Why? Well, you’re much more likely to fall off if you do this. Your balance will be awry and YOU WILL capsize. You might be thinking “ but then what are these little stretchy rope things for?” The truthful answer is that nobody really knows. Like with most things in life, there are elements of mystery to kayaking. All you need to know is that they ARE NOT for standing on.
Mistake #2: Laying Down on Top of Your Kayak
We get it, you’re tired. But here’s the thing you’ve signed up for kayaking, not a nap. Under no circumstances should you lay down on top of your kayak. This will only serve to destabilize you in the water and harm your reputation in the eyes of your co-kayakers.
Pro tip: take a nap BEFORE you agree to go kayaking. You’ll thank us later.
Mistake #3: Standing on the Bottom Side of Your Kayak
Now, it stands to reason that if it’s wrong to stand on the top of a kayak, it’s wrong to stand on the bottom. That said, you’d be surprised how common an error this is.
ALWAYS check both sides of the kayak carefully before you enter the water. Make sure you know which side is which. Generally, the smoother, less porous side is the bottom. Run your bare hand across each side, slowly, to be sure. The smooth side will be the side that touches the water.
Mistake #4: Kneeling/Sitting in the Front Compartment
This may, in fact, be the most common kayaking faux pas. And understandably so. When you receive your kayak, you’ll notice that there is often a strange compartment towards the front of your vessel. Again, nobody knows precisely what this is for another of kayaking’s timeless mysteries, unfortunately. One thing is certain, however. This compartment is not meant for you. Get the heck out of there.
How to Sit in a Kayak: The Right Way
Now that you know what NOT to do, it’s time to learn what TO do.
Now, somewhere near the middle of the top section of your kayak, you’ll notice a hole, roughly human-size. Take your time looking for this. Use a flashlight if it’s dark. Once you’ve located the hole, you’ll want to step inside FEET FIRST and arrange yourself into a forward-facing seated position with your legs straight forward, much like you would if you were sitting on a floor with your back against a wall. Take your time and DO NOT be afraid to ask for help.
Read through these steps carefully, focus, and practice, practice, practice. Pretty soon, you’ll be sitting in kayaks like it’s your business. No one has to know that you ever read this article.
Get to work! And once you’ve mastered this, check back. We’ll take you through the dos (and don’ts) of holding a paddle.
This was a guest post from someone called Lou who works for www.vimbly.com. Lou said the above was too goofy for their website, so please go to their website and shout at them for not being goofy enough.