For people who are just starting to discover the wonderful world of sea kayaking, it is common to end up being intimidated. It can send chills down one’s spine, especially for those who aren’t confident about their paddling and swimming skills.
While there is a legitimate reason to be scared, it is important to stay as calm and composed as possible. If you do not know how to overcome your fear, keep on reading the rest of this post and learn from some of the insights that we will be sharing.
1. Take Classes
To overcome your fear, one of the most important is to enroll in classes. There are formal classes that will put you under the tutelage of an expert in sea kayaking, providing the opportunity to gain first-hand insights from people who are experienced.
Sea kayaking classes are usually broken down in different levels. It starts with the most basic, which include mastering how to fit in the boat and basic paddling skills. As the lessons progress, they become more complicated.
After taking classes, you will feel more confident about your sea kayaking skills, knowing that you are armed with the right knowledge and skills. While no one becomes an expert overnight, these classes will help to advance your knowledge. The more you know, the less scared you will be.
The key here is to make sure that you choose the right classes where you can enroll. Read reviews to learn from the experiences of other people. Consider the credentials of the instructors.
2. Have a Strong Support Group
You do not have to do it alone. After all, sea kayaking is not a sport that you are meant to do solo. The mere fact ithat there are risks involved means that you should do it with a buddy or as a group, especially if you are just starting out.
Having a support group is an effective way to overcome the fears that you have basically because there are people who got your back. For instance, if you ever capsize while in the middle of the action, you can be confident that you do not have to do things on your own. While it is crucial to know the fundamentals of self-rescue, it will be good to have people around who can extend a helping hand when it is needed the most.
To add, your support group will also provide you with the encouragement that is needed. They are like a family who can push you to overcome your fear. They got you covered, so there is no need for you to be afraid.
3. Learn the Art of Pacing
In sea kayaking, you need to learn to pace. This will not only make you better when you are there out in the open, but this will also be an effective way to minimize the fear that you have. In its simplest sense, pacing is all about doing it consistently and steadily. You do not need to be in a rush. Often, you will get scared when you get involved in action without being carefully-paced, in the absence of thinking about it first.
When you are pacing yourself, there are times wherein you will just find your kayak stuck in its position. From there, watch the waves. Look at the other kayakers. Then, start paddling once you know that it is the right time to move.
Practice makes perfect. This is a cliché, but this is one thing that is applicable when it comes to sea kayaking. The more you practice, the more you will be able to overcome your fear of sea kayaking. A lot of people tend to be scared because they are not used to the feeling, which makes them intimidated. On the other hand, if you practice frequently, you will be more aware of what it feels like, and more importantly, you will know what to do in different situations that you are confronted with while on sea.
However, the challenge lies in the fact that most of us do not live near the ocean, so there is often no opportunity to practice sea kayaking. If that is the case, if you do not have the time to practice in the ocean, brush up on your reading. Watch videos online. Practice kayaking strokes and techniques even when on land. This way, you are also slightly eliminating the fear that you have.
5. Invest in Safety Gear
To eliminate your fears, it is also important that you invest in gears that will promote your safety. As they say, better safe than sorry. So, it does not matter if you have a lot of stuff with you. Chances are, you can use them in emergency situations. If you do not have safety gear, there is a higher chance of suffering from an unlikely situation, which is exactly what a lot of novices are scared of.
Among others, one of the most important to have as a part of your safety gear is a life jacket or a personal flotation device. You should also wear a helmet, which will prevent your head from being injured in case you hit a rock or any hard surface. If the water is cold, it will also be good to be dressed in a dry suit, which will be handy for regulating body temperature.
Simply put, visualization requires the need to look at the possibilities. In short, you have to visualize. At the back of your mind, you have to think of specific scenarios, such as your kayak capsizing, a big wave crashing your boat, or any other unfortunate circumstance that could really happen when you are sea kayaking.
Now that you have imagined the worst situations confronting you, the next thing that you have to visualize would be how you will react. What will you do if the kayak capsizes? How will you react to a big wave? By visualizing your responses, you are preparing yourself on how to react to the unexpected. You will know what it will feel like. The openness to these situations can be helpful in eliminating fear in your head.
In sum, there is no need to be afraid of sea kayaking. Yes, it is not easy, especially because you are dealing with waves. Nonetheless, with the tips that have been mentioned above, there is no reason for you to be scared. It is all in the mind. If you change your mindset, you will be more confident!