Everyone lives a stressed life. They may get tired of school, colleges, work, and many other factors. People spend a lot trying to live a healthy lifestyle, to be relaxed and tension free. The common way to relieve stress is outings. Going on tours gives your mind a change of pace, and provides relaxation and peace of mind. You may go sight-seeing, rock-climbing, or adventurous sports like fishing and kayaking.
Kayaking is becoming a trend now. It’s a great way to spend our day on the water, be it a lake, a river, or an ocean. It requires great skills to control a kayak well. When sitting in kayaks, our hips are below water. The waves wash over our boat, sometimes even across the chest and over the head too. It is a great experience to go through all this.
Kayaks are mostly single or double seaters. It does not have a motor. You have to paddle through the water. It is also responsible to control the direction. The seating area of a kayak is referred to as a cockpit. It is covered with a spray deck that prevents water from getting into the cockpit. Some kayaks don’t even have the cockpit and paddlers have to sit atop the kayak.
Kayaks come in various shapes and sizes. The quality of build material ranges from plastic to some high-quality fiber. To choose a kayak, you first need to decide the water body upon which you intend to do kayaking. Different water bodies have different needs. For example, Kayaks designed for oceans are great for the ocean, but it could be easily damaged or destroyed if it runs into a rocky shore on a river course. The inflatable kayaks are available for as low as $200, while the ones made for sea starts from $1000.
Before we look into the different types of kayaks, let us look at the necessary gears we require during kayaking:
Personal Flotation Device. The life vests will keep you afloat even if you fall off or your kayak overturns. It’s different from the regular orange ones generally used, and also better from the waterskiing vests. Specialized Kayaking vests have less padding and material near your neck and shoulders so that it does not restrict the movement of your arms. They have more mesh paneling for better breathability and comfort.
The average length of the commonly used paddle is between 190-240 cm depending on the type of water body. A paddle is measured from tip to tip. If you are into fast paddling, then choose a shorter one. Paddles come in two varieties: a) straight shafts which are less expensive, b) bent shafts which lower the stress on your wrists. On average, the fiberglass models will cost you only about $150. On the other hand, the lighter weights carbon paddles are expensive and would cost you around $275-$500 for a set.
Built-in bulkheads are present in most of the boats for increased buoyancy.
However, In the case that your boat doesn’t have one, you’ll need float bags. These are inflatable bags that fit in the stern and protect the boat from sinking in case you fall out and try to hop back in. So, choose the best available float bags, for safety is important. It may safeguard your life in an unlikely event.
Sometimes water may get inside the cockpit. This disturbs the buoyancy and may cause the boat to sink. To prevent this, you need to get the water out from your cockpit as soon as possible. Bilge Pumps does this task. These are handheld plastic pumps, that are used to remove water from the cockpit or any other part of the kayak.
Spray Skirt – –
We just saw how dangerous a little amount of water on board can be dangerous for kayaking. Although we can remove water using Bilge Pumps, it’s a known fact that “Prevention is better than cure”. So, as to prevent water from getting into the cockpit, we can use a Spray Skirt. It’s a water-resistant neoprene seal. It will fit tightly around your waist and then spread out, just wide enough to seal off the edge of the cockpit. Better to be safe than sorry.
In case you are kayaking on river tracks, or in the unlikely event that you overturn or fall off on the shore itself, the rocks beneath the water may cause damage to your head. In the same way, the kayak may overturn on a river track, and you might crash your head with the rocks underneath the water and sustain injuries. Damages dealt with the head can be a fatal one. So, to prevent any sort of damage to the head, helmets are required. Also, if you wish to use action cameras, it could be easily mounted on your helmet to give you an amazing first-person view afterward when you watch the recordings.
Sometimes situations may arise in which you might get stuck, and it is physically impossible to reach you through a boat or by swimming. Ropes can come in handy in such situations. You can easily tie the rope to your bag pack, and throw the rope to someone who can pull you out. A high tensile strength rope of around 50-75 feet length should be able to help you in such situations.
Now that we got the gist about the necessary gears required for kayaking, let’s look at the different types of kayaks available and how it influences the cost factor.
Recreational kayaks: Price ranges from $125-$800
These kayaks are for everyone who just wants to spend a day in the open waters and experience the beauty of nature. These are the affordable types and you can own one for as low as $125, but its quality would not appreciate. It might get damaged or destroyed upon contacting hard or rocky surfaces. The inflatable and plastic modeled kayaks are best suited for recreational purposes. These are stable and easy to maneuver through the water. It’s suggested for beginners, who want to try out the experience of kayaking. It ranges from 9-12 feet across the length. It has wider cockpits that make it easier to get in and out if you are on a lonely ride.
While it may seem to be an advantage, the width gap may also allow water to get inside the cockpit. We recommend you to spend about $500-$800 to purchase a kayak that is sturdy, reliable, and might even be a little more comfortable. Recreational kayak doesn’t offer much storage much space, as it is assumed that you won’t be staying in the water for too long. The sit-on-top kayak model is great for fishing. It does not have a formal cockpit. This makes it easier to shift around in your seat. If you occasionally jump out of your boat and swim, then this is the one for you.
Touring/Sea kayaks: Price ranges from $800-$3000
These are generally 14-17 feet long and are meant to be used in the ocean or other open water. They are faster, longer, and better for covering longer distances. They are perfect for overnight trips. They provide adjustable seating. These boats have ample storage space which can be used for storing everything required for longer trips. Depending upon the required storage space, the boat can be longer or shorter. These boats are not as stable as the recreational ones and will require some practice to get used to it. However, once you are skilled enough, these boats will give you an amazing experience that you will never forget. When you go kayaking in open waters, there are chances of huge waves that may overturn your kayak, or it may even throw you off-board. Most touring kayaks have small cockpits that will keep you firmly planted in your seats, even in troublesome waters. It is recommended to try out a touring kayak before actually purchasing one. It will give you a general idea about the kayak. Choose the one that you can paddle through with ease. Also, check for comfortability, because you will be out there in the water for long, and you don’t want to be uncomfortable in the middle of nowhere. Also, figure out the gear you will need and the total space it will occupy. You will have to buy a kayak that has enough storage space to take in all your needs.
Whitewater kayaks: Price ranges from $750-$1500
If you are a beginner, then whitewater kayaking could prove to be dangerous to you. It is recommended that you try out kayaking on a recreational kayak, and gain some experience first. If you have attained the skills to overturn the kayak when it’s submerged underwater, then you can go for whitewater kayaking.
Whitewater kayaks are short and round and are designed to easily maneuver through fast water and with increased flexibility to dodge rocks and other obstructions. These kayaks are made up of rigid materials that can sustain damages in case you run into a rock, a sharp tree branch, or other obstacles. In the case of fast-moving water, the speed of kayaking can be very high. It requires great skill to maintain balance and remain stable in such cases and there are chances of you falling out or the kayak getting overturned. To overcome such scenarios, these whitewater kayaks have a small cockpit that holds you inside it and prevents you from falling out while flying downstream. Depending on how long you plan to be out in the water, storage can be a key factor. These boats are difficult to paddle through calm water and as a result, are slow. Therefore, it is recommended that you take out these kayaks in fast-moving water bodies.
What to do when you flip over ?
Don’t worry about your kayak flipping. It’s nearly impossible. A sit-on-top kayak is the hardest to flip. Also, it’s the easiest to recover in case it ever happens. It is wide enough, so you can simply hop back on with ease.
In a whitewater kayak, it requires tremendous skill to roll back up. It requires hours of training to attain this skill. In a recreational kayak, you are unlikely to get trapped inside. These are light and can be easily pushed away so that you can easily slip out of the cockpit. However, it’s really difficult to get back in. It’s nearly impossible if you are alone and in the middle of the water. It is recommended that you go and look around for help.
How to transport your kayak?
Once you have purchased your kayak, you’ll need to transport it around to the water body. The inflatable kayaks are lightweight and thus are easy to carry around. If you have got an open style truck, then any kind of kayak can be easily transported. You can also purchase kayak racks that are more secured and are better suited for highways or longer trips. Make sure that the rack perfectly fits your car and if possible, buy the one with locks so that your remains safe. If you are not traveling far, then the kayaks can be secured using foam blocks under them and then tying it with ropes and bungees. However, kayak racks are recommended, as it is more secure.
Now that you have decided upon your kayak, get ready for an amazing adventure. Be it touring or whitewater kayaking, each has its unique experience. Even if you go for recreational kayaking, you will find yourself in a relaxed environment. Also, the joy of fishing can be experienced if you go for recreational kayaking. You can go for kayaking either solo or with a partner. Being with a partner can prove to be helpful in many ways. But their mistakes could cause imbalance and may lead the kayak to flip over. It’s more fun when it’s done with friends or family. So, decide upon your gears and go for the experience of your lifetime.