This blog we wanted to provide a kayaking 101 guide to make your next Hood Canal kayaking experience amazing!
Kayaking safety is something to be taken very seriously. Like most water-sports, you should always wear a PFD (personal floatation device), a sturdy shoe or sandal and be aware of the weather. Please take the time to be prepared and vigilant to avoid injuries.
Up to date 1st Aid kit that is inspected and stocked regularly
Whistle or air horn to signal an emergency
Get out of the water immediately if you hear thunder or see lightening
Water Time - Techniques & Procedures
Setting Up – It’s time to start your experience let’s make sure it’s a fun day! This should be done on dry land before you enter the water. Adjust your back brace so it is both loose and supported. Sit in the kayak and adjust your foot pegs as well. The position of your foot pegs should allow for your knees to be slightly bent. You’ll be using the pegs for leverage later on. Pack your gear in the remaining empty space of the kayak. Remember to stretch before you begin, especially your neck and shoulders.
Boarding – For beginners, merely getting in and out of a kayak can be challenging. Place the watercraft along the edge of the water and you can use your paddle for support. Take your time, one foot at a time, try not to make any sudden shifts in weight or movement and to keep their weight centered and balanced to avoid tipping. Once you feel comfortable in the kayak, paddle around in the shallow water for a few minutes to get comfortable with the equipment, etc.
Your technique will be the difference between fun and frustration. By using the kayak efficiently, you will cover more ground, use the right muscles, and increase your enjoyment of the natural surroundings. The goal is to maintain balance and leverage. Use your legs and torso to generate force in a continuous motion. The common mistake of letting your arms do all the work will result in a short-lived day on the water. Instead, keep them relaxed like you would when riding a bike. Alternate upstroke and down stroke paddling movement.
To make turns, paddle on the side opposite to the direction you wish to go. Once you reach your desired alignment, resume paddling forward as before. When pulling back on the paddle, make sure you maintain straight propulsion. Eliminating redundant and counter productive actions will give you speed and save you energy. Your paddle should be stationary in the water around your kayak as you move forward. When you find your paddle “pushing water,” you are wasting energy. The ideal process should be silent with continuous tension on the water.
Equipment Clean Up & Storage
If equipment is taken care of properly it will go a long way in keeping up appearances, performance, and longevity, and it is relatively easy with the steps below.
Wash, clean and check for any damage after the daily rentals (use a hose to rinse off inside and outside of watercraft and wipe down with a cloth)
Store equipment off of the ground on racks, if stored on the ground equipment becomes dirty and opportunity to damage is greater
When done for the season, winterize with UV spray and pull into garage or shop for the colder months