Canoeing & Kayaking

The best way to spend one beautiful day. Whichever you choose kayaking or canoeing you’ll enjoy the day in a great way close to nature.

You’ll just have to jump in the kayak or a canoe take the paddle, make a stroke and the boat will start moving.  Anyone can do it without any previous knowledge or preparation.

The ideal kayaking or canoeing environment has protection from wind and waves and minimal boat traffic. The thing to know for just in case, as a beginner is to paddle near the shore at a distance to which you’ll be comfortable to swim to.

In that way, you won’t have to worry if you flip into the water. You’ll swim to the shore with the gear and from there you’ll return in the water quickly paddling again in no time. Re-entering a kayak or a canoe from the water can be complicated and paddling near the shore will keep things simpler.

Both canoes and kayaks are lightweight narrow boats, propelled by paddlers facing the direction of travel while using a paddle. These two water sports or activities include a person moving that narrow boat with a paddle – which is a narrow stick with blades at the end. The main difference between these two is the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. Kayaking requires double blade paddle, with blades on the two sides of a stick. The canoeing paddle is with one blade. Although kayaks can be open or closed, canoes are always an open type of boats and have that inviting benches too. You can practice kayaking or canoeing on the cold waters as well and you don’t have to be a swimmer either. As long as you have that life jacket on you, you’ll be fine. A life jacket helps you float if you come out of your kayak and it helps you re-enter your kayak with less effort.

Another thing is the paddle type. The blades of the paddles can be wider for better performance or thinner which are great for long and stable kayaking. They also differ in length. Depending on your height you’ll probably want to choose the right paddle. But, there are adjustable paddles as well, which makes things a lot easier.

Although any paddle, with no specific technique at all, will move the kayak or a canoe, for a better enjoyment when paddling it’s good to use the whole upper body or move the torso when taking a stroke with your paddle and not just your hand muscles. In that way, you’ll be paddling more efficiently and your hands won’t get tired very soon.

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The strength to move a kayak comes mainly from moving the torso when making the strokes while paddling and applying pressure with your legs at the same time.

Kayaking somewhere under the tropical weather in warm waters it’s best done with sit-on-top kayaks. It’s a great choice for people that would like to swim on the way too since you’ll get wet anyway just by paddling. These kayaks are very stable because they are wider and the seat is on the kayak. It’s good advice to wear, besides a swimsuit, water shoes in case you have to pull the kayak or a canoe through the shallow waters. To get on your kayak from the water, you should position your body with your legs floating behind you, by pushing your body with your arms, you’ll slide onto your chest, twist as soon as you’re up and sit in the seat.

You can kayak on cold waters too if you want to and stay dry as well with the sit-in kayaks. These kayaks are thinner and less stable though, closed with a small opening in the top to sit in. Except for recreational use, sit-in kayaks can be used in rougher conditions at the open sea as well, when you probably get wet a lot. The good news is that there are kayaks with bulkheads which are very convenient separate compartments in the kayak useful for storing your gear. You can carry extra clothes in case you capsize and get wet.

The longer and narrow the kayak or a canoe is the faster it will travel. The wider the kayak is or the canoe the slower it will be but more stable. For beginners, the more stable ones would be the right choice.

Canoes can offer an exceptional enjoyment for families. They can be wide, deep and stable enough to paddle with kids, pets, and your gear.  With so much load, they will be slower though. Stable, easy to control and tough to flip over, recreational canoes are ideal for birding, photography, or fishing on flat water such as lakes. Also, shorter boats weigh less, get less affected by winds and are easier to maneuver.

Although they have nice benches inside, for taking those perfect strokes and paddling efficiently you’ll have to do it on your knees, and not in a sitting position, by holding the paddle with your inside hand on top and you’re outside hand on the shaft.

Canoes come in different designs, tandem or solo or even combination of both. As a reminder, a tandem canoeing needs more of a synchronized paddling between the paddlers with great mutual communication and probably a little bit of practice too.

Kayaking or canoeing, both are easy, fun and safe activities that anyone can do it with no previous experience or preparation whatsoever. But, in order to be as easy as it sounds, you should consider a few things from the start like the location and general safety. An ideal area for that covers calm sea waters, lakes or rivers protected from wind and waves with minimal boat traffic. Also, always consider practicing kayaking or canoeing closer to the shore from where you can swim to the shore in case you flip into the water.