Getting strated kayaking

Your First Kayak: This can be very nerve racking. Most people know very little about kayaks until they've paddled a while. There are a lot of misconceptions and most preconceived ideas about kayaks prove to be mistaken. Read this entire section before looking for your first boat. Some of the information may not apply to you but the better informed you are, the more likely you will be satisfied.

How to Start - Do you:
  1. Borrow
  2. Rent
  3. Lessons??
  4. Buy New/Used
     a. from a Dealer
     b. from an Individual

Getting started kayaking

First thing you should do is READ everything you can about it.  There are plenty of good publications out there that could probably confuse you more than help select your first boat, but they can give you insight into the sport and help direct you into what area of kayaking is most interesting to you.  The design feature of kayaks is one of those confusing areas.  See the article Design of Kayaks for more information.

If you have friends/acquaintances that kayak, start with them.  See if you can borrow a boat, understanding that you don’t want the highest performance boat they have.  Those boats could be above your abilities and would make your decision more difficult.  Kayakers are eager to introduce new people to the sport and usually are eager to assist.

Find a dealer/outfitter that rent boats.  Try as many as possible.  Outfitters are in the business of renting boats, so there will be a charge.  Dealers love to have new people try their products and quite often offer this at a minimal expense if any.  Review the “Type of Boats” below before this step.  You need to have some idea of the boat’s recreational use in selecting from the different types.

Do you need lessons?  That is a good question and worth discussing.  Anyone can get in a boat and paddle, but why is it that someone else can paddle the same boat better?  They attended a lesson; someone taught them how to do it better.  Paddlers over many years have developed proven techniques to improve their skill, most of which will not come naturally.  Lessons are beneficial for any sport and paddling is no exception.  Check with your local dealer, adult education programs or area paddling clubs for available programs.  There are even “Paddling Schools” you can attend; check the Internet.

You have decided to buy.  New or used, dealer or individual??  A good used boat can be a wise decision.  However, if the deal seems “Too good to be true” it probably is.  If you have friends that can accompany you and help with the decision, that may make it much easier.  Paddle test the boat in any event.   

Our Minimum Recommendations: This is a little tricky. Depending on your size and where you intend to paddle, minimums will vary a bit. We have found as a "rule of thumb", your kayak should be at least 12½ feet long or longer and have a width of 25 inches or less. See Traditional Kayak Sizing.

Reference Sites

Kayarchy

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