Kayaking for Women: The Essential Skills
Are you a woman interested to learn more about kayaking? You came to the right place. We are here to extend a helping hand. In the rest of this short post, we’ll talk about the essential skills that you need to learn. As a beginner, it is intimidating at first. Nonetheless, as you have more practice, you will realize that it is nothing that you cannot handle. With determination and discipline, it won’t take long before you’ll be able to master the fundamentals of kayaking.
1. Getting In and Out of the Kayak
This is the first thing that women need to learn. Before you master the basic strokes, you first need to make sure that you can get in and out of the kayak. It might seem easy in theory, but in practice, it is more complicated than it sounds. It is easy to lose your balance. Worse, you can get wet, and this is a frustrating situation you surely won’t want to experience.
It is easy to get in your kayak if you have a good launching spot. All that you have to do is to put your kayak in the shallowest part of the sand. Sit on the kayak and slightly move it forward using your body. Push the kayak using your hands and paddle away.
If the kayak is already floating on the water, getting in is a bit more challenging. First, stand on one side of the kayak. Lift your foot on the other side. Straddle to balance. Use your hand to support your body. Sit comfortably and paddle the kayak.
To get out of the kayak, all that you have to do is to paddle to the shallowest part. Once you are on the sand or shallow part of the water, put your two hands on the boat, slightly on your back. Push yourself, stand up, and move out of the kayak.
If the shoreline is uneven, this is the time that you have to put your paddle into good use. Position your kayak parallel to the shoreline. Put the paddle in the back part of the kayak. At this point, half of the paddle will be on the boat and the other one will be on the shore. This will give you a place to hold as you position your body and get in the kayak.
2. Sitting in Your Kayak
Now that you are in your kayak, the next thing that you need to learn is how to sit properly. This is important to be comfortable throughout the paddling time and to keep your balance.
While it is important to stay relaxed while you are sitting down, this does not mean that you have to slouch and sit as if you are lounging. If you lean your back, this can cause you to lose balance and may also make you feel uncomfortable. This makes you easily tired.
As you sit, see to it that your back is straight and your chin is up. You need the right posture to keep your balance. Use the backrest to help position yourself properly once you are in the kayak. This must provide the support your back needs.
3. Stretching Before and After You Kayak
It is also crucial that you learn the basics of stretching. This prepares your body for the physical demands of kayaking before you start. Meanwhile, stretching after kayaking allows your muscles to recover and minimizes the likelihood that your body will be painful.
Stretching is crucial for longevity when paddling. With the right exercises, your muscles will have the power it needs to paddle efficiently and quickly without worrying about body aches once you are done kayaking. Low lunges and thigh stretches are some of the best exercises that will improve the paddling skills of women. Kayaking is physically demanding, so your body must be ready for it.
4. Putting on a Spraydeck
This is one of the things that will come handy when you are kayaking. A spraydeck is a flexible skirt made of waterproof material. The main goal is to prevent water from getting on the boat while you are kayaking. This also prevents your lower body from being wet.
Learning how to put it on properly is another crucial kayaking skill women need to learn. First, make sure that you are comfortable as you sit in the kayak. Slightly lean back so that you can start putting the skirt on the back part of the kayak. Move to your hips until you reach the front part of the cockpit. Once you are done, make sure that the pull cord is outside the spray skirt, which will make it easy to take off once you are getting out of the kayak.
5.The Wet Exit
This is a mandatory skill that every kayaker needs to learn. This is one of the first things that you will learn. It is crucial for your safety as it teaches the basics of getting out of the kayak when it capsizes. Speed and presence of mind are two of the most important to avoid risking yourself under the water.
If you already feel that the boat is going to capsize, stay calm and try to prevent the kayak from flipping. While holding your paddle, lean as forward as you can. This makes it easier to exit.
Once the kayak already capsizes, remove the spray skirt first then think about removing yourself off the kayak. Position your hands next to your hips. Put your knees together and disengage. Push the coaming and propel forward. As long as you are wearing a life vest, you will float. This makes it important to always wear a flotation device as a safety measure.
Now that you are above the water, think about is how to save your kayak. If you lose your paddle, retrieve it. Grab the boat and right it, which will return it to its original position. Work on your way to get back on the boat with the help of your paddle. Your arm strength is also crucial as it will support your body to avoid losing your balance.
Take note of the skills mentioned above if you are a woman learning how to kayak. These are just some of the essentials you need to learn. There are other things that you need to know, such as paddling strokes and rescue techniques. However, they are more advanced and it is best to move into these kayaking fundamentals only once you mastered the basics.