Read this. If you are excited about the kayaking trip that your friends have set up, believe me you are in for a great time. It definitely is going to be an adventure on the river and you are definitely headed in the right direction. With that said, please understand that you have to be properly prepared. A little bit of preparation can go a long way.
The last thing that you want to do is to go kayaking, have a bad time, and then automatically assume that every time you go kayaking it will suck. Believe me, this happens to a lot of people because they think that it is just hype. They think that the actual activity does not measure up to the reality. Well, it may turn out that the reason why they had such a bad time is because they did not bother to prepare. It does not get any simpler than that. It is really just a practical question of preparation. A little bit of preparation goes a long way.
So how exactly do you prepare for your first kayaking trip? Well, it starts with planning.
Pick the right body of water
Unless you are a really good swimmer or have an extensive experience using paddle boats or are very comfortable around bodies of water, it is a probably a good idea to take it slow and easy at first. Pick a fairly slow moving body of water.
These are basic questions that you have to confront and master when you first try your hand at kayaking. It is not like you buy a kayak, put it on car, head to the nearest lake and boom, you have an instant good time. No, you have to find your balance. You have to make some adjustments and grope around, so to speak, until you get the hang of it. It is very similar to riding a bike.
Life vests are crucial.
This is non-negotiable. Since you are going to be underwater, you have to have a life vest. It does not really matter how good of a swimmer you are. You really cannot rely on your swimming skills to an unrealistic degree. Your swimming skills can only take you so far. You have to wear a life vest.
Pack the right size life vest.
Now this seems like common sense but a lot of people actually buy life vests that eventually do not fit. Pay attention to the word eventually because, let us face it, America is facing an obesity epidemic. Chances are quite good that if you have the typical sedentary North American lifestyle, you are probably going to get bigger over time. This is not an indictment or a judgment. It is just an observation of trends in reality.
Do not buy your own kayak just yet.
A very common pattern among first-time kayakers is to get all excited: They jump in with both feet and they head out to the sporting goods store and buy them. They come out with a kayak or they order the kayak online. Well, I definitely applaud your enthusiasm. But you might be putting the cart before the horse. And this may also be a very expensive cart.
Do yourself a big favor, do not buy your own kayak just yet. Rent or borrow a kayak when you first try it out. In fact if a friend of yours turned you on the whole idea of kayaking, chances are they may have a kayak that accommodates two or more people. Go kayaking with them. See if it is an activity that you would love to master later on. Then at that point, make the decision of whether to purchase a kayak or not. It really all boils down to giving yourself that option.
But the problem is that if you buy a product you are committing too early. Even if you are just going to ask for a refund after you return the product, you probably do not need me to remind you of how much of a hassle shipping of a kayak can be. Normally, return shipping is shouldered by the customer.
Bring the right attitude
This should go without saying, whenever you try something new, please understand it is probably not going to live up to your best expectations. It is very easy to think that just because your friends go kayaking a lot that you only need to get on a kayak and everything will be smooth paddling. It does not usually work that way because this is the first time you have done it. You are still getting used to the water. You are still trying to figure out your balance. In other words, you are just feeling your way around and there is nothing wrong with that.
What makes that problematic is when you automatically assume that it is not going to happen. Do not automatically assume that once you get on the kayak the rest of your trip would be awesome, with lots of beer, jokes and a great wide open sky above you and a nice lake in front of you.
It might be a rainy day. There might be a turbulence on the waters. There are just so many things that can go on.
Keep the tips above in mind if you want your first kayaking trip to be a blast. You have to understand that regardless of where you go, what you are doing or out who you are hanging out with, if you have the right mindset, you will have a good time. Your sense of adventure cannot be found outside of you. It can only come from within.