Many people are interested in kayaking down the river to explore the river or for fishing purposes. While those who have experience, will find it simple to kayak, there are many important factors to be considered for person who wishes to kayak down a river for the first time. Like many other water and adventure sports activities, there is some amount of risk involved in kayaking. Hence it is advisable for a person who wishes to kayak to take some basic training from an expert, especially safety tips so that the person can handle any problems he may face kayaking.
One of the most important considerations while kayaking is the selecting the river where the person where the person wishes to kayak. While small lakes are the safest for kayaking or boating activities, rivers have currents, rocks which could making kayaking difficult, especially for a beginner. Hence, it is highly recommended that the person who is kayaking, does some research on the river where he plans to go kayaking. Most people will prefer to go kayaking in a river in the vicinity of the area in which they are residing. The local boating and kayaking club or association will be able to provide information on the local rivers.
Another factor to be considered while kayaking is selecting the right kayak. Most kayaks are designed to accommodate one to three persons, and larger kayaks are likely to be more expensive. The kayaks can be mainly classified as sit on top kayaks which are more comfortable to get in and out, and sit inside kayaks which are suitable for kayaking over longer distances. The sit-on-top kayak will usually be heavier than other kayaks and have less storage space. The cheaper kayaks are made from plastic and fiberglass cost $250 and above, while more expensive kayaks are made from Kevlar and cost $4000 or more.
One of the risks involved in kayaking is that the kayak may capsize any time when kayaking down the river. So it is important for the person kayaking to know how to do a wet exit, which involves getting out of the kayak when it has capsized in the river. The person should also be able to get into the kayak after it has capsized in the water. Most kayak trainers teach all those who learn kayaking how to do a wet exit first. It is highly recommended that the person who is kayaking knows how to swim, so that he can swim to safety in case the kayak capsizes and is damaged, due to impact with rocks or floating debris.
Since there is always a possibility that the person kayak may fall into the river, it is important to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) while kayaking. The U.S. Coast Guard PFD Type III are the most popular safety vest for kayaking since they are light and comfortable. They should be worn so that the wearer is comfortable, yet fitted tightly so that it does not slip off, when the kayak capsizes. It is also advisable to wear a helmet, especially if the river is very rocky, or logs, wood are floating in the river. Some people are using a spray skirt to remain dry since water may be sprayed on their clothes.
The paddle for kayaking differs from the paddle for other activities since it has a blade on both sides. The paddle should be selected based on height and strength of the person, and lighter, narrower paddles are preferred for smaller individuals though more effort is required. There are many kayaking instructors who will offer training in kayaking and it is advisable to take a course in kayaking, before venturing out alone. For moving the kayak in the river, the paddle of the kayak, will push the water, in a front stroke, to move the kayak forward. A reverse stroke will move the kayak back.
In general, less effort is required to kayak down the river, in the direction of the current, than kayaking up the river, against the flow and current of the river. Individuals who have less experience in kayaking, should kayak close to the riverbank since it is easier to swim to the shore if required and get help in case of an emergency. It is also advisable to have a friend or associate while kayaking who can help in launching the kayak in water, and if any other problems are faced. It is not advisable to kayak in winter, especially in areas where the temperature is low. The kayaker should carry a whistle in case of emergencies. The above tips can help in making kayaking down the river a pleasant experience.