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Canoes and Kayaking – Kayaking for Beginners
Kayaking is an exciting watersport that you can enjoy with others or on your own. Take a calm paddle down a smooth stream or have an exhilarating adventure over the rapids. Kayaks differ from canoes in that canoes are open top boats where as kayaks are enclosed with a cockpit. Kayaks use double bladed paddles; canoes use a single blade paddle.
Obviously, you’ll need a kayak and a paddle, but you will also need a lifejacket and a helmet, particularly if you intend to be kayaking through rapids. Remember to dress appropriately for the weather conditions, and the fact that you are more than likely to get wet, as water will splash into your kayak. Bring a waterproof bag for your wallet, keys, mobile phone etc. Rental companies should provide everything you need and offer advice on any equipment they don’t supply.
Make sure you have all the relevant safety equipment and are appropriately attired. Start slowly and gently, on a body of water that you feel comfortable with, such as a lake or pond. Whilst the kayak is on the shore, practice getting into and out of it. Then put it so that it is half on shore and half in the water. Once you have climbed in and are in a comfortable position, use the paddle to push yourself away from the shore.
You are then free to practise different paddle strokes and use your paddle to navigate the area that you feel comfortable with. Once you feel you have control of the kayak, then you can tackle more challenging waters.
When you have finished, paddle onto the shore until the kayak is stable. Then climb out and pull it right out of the water up the shore. From here you can safely empty out any accumulated water.
There are a huge amount of navigable waterways in Britain. The scenery can be breathtaking, and the experience of kayaking along the rivers, streams and lakes can result in an adventure you’ll never forget. If you do fancy taking up kayaking go to one of the numerous hire companies. They can advise you on safety, equipment use, technique and where you can safely and legally paddle. There are also many kayaking clubs around the country that you can join if you want to make this a regular hobby.