Kayak racing has become an
increasingly more popular sport. If you are interested in venturing in the sport of kayak
racing use the tips to pull ahead.
Kayak Racing Tips Practice makes perfect. Practice the course before the race. Marker
buoys are often set weeks in advance. Use your practice sessions to figure out the lines
that you will be taking during the race.
Try to get a run in a day or two before the race, this will give you an indication of what
the current will be like on race day.
When racing avoid the shallows. When you're moving with the current, deep water is your
friend. When the water level is less than 2.5 feet deep, there's increased hull resistance
and your boat will slow down considerably. Shallower water can be useful if you're
paddling against a current. When going against the current, find transitional areas where
the bottom isn't too shallow to slow your hull down.
Check the weather to determine the prevailing winds. Afternoon gusty winds are always a
possibility, and can make going against the current even more challenging. When paddling
against wind, minimize the amount of time your paddle blades are in the air, slightly
hunch forward to make your body as small as possible, and draft directly behind boats as
much as possible.
Set up your turns around the buoys so you're always paddling, this will help you from
losing momentum. If there is no traffic on the race course, take a sharp line around the
buoy. Try to make the buoy turns as close as possibly without hitting the buoy. If there
is a lot of race traffic, stay to the outside to avoid colliding with other kayaks and
paddles. Collisions can be time consuming and colliding paddles can cause an interruption
to rhythm, both of which can cost a kayaker the race.
Wake riding and wash hanging both refer to drafting off another boat. Studies have shown
that drafting 1 to 2 meters directly behind a boat can produce energy savings of up to 30
to 32%. Kayaks positioned 1 to 2 meters off the sides of a leading boat can achieve 16 to
18% energy savings. Try to draft whenever you have the opportunity, leapfrogging from one
boat to another. This can be a key strategy to kayak racing.
Practice drafting before the race, it's both an art and a science. When drafting, don't
get sucked into staying behind a considerably slower boat. If a boat is traveling at a
slower speed than you are comfortable with pass it. If competitor is drafting your kayak,
dump him or her out of your wake by maneuvering your boat suddenly, the kayak drafting you
will end up in undisturbed water or in the shallows. While this might seem mean, since
there are no rules against drafting it's a valid race tactic that serious competitors
might consider during tight races. This technique takes practice and you have to know what
you're doing, so practice with friends.
Many recreational paddlers in the race do not have good boat handling skills so if you end
up in traffic, prepare to paddle defensively.
At the finish of the kayak race your legs are going to feel rubbery when you get out of
your boat. If you are competing in a multi-sport race and required to sprint after the
kayaking leg, you will need to practice the transition. Practice running immediately after
a paddling workout. Also practice paddling with the shoes that you will be wearing for the
run. Try circuit workouts to help get your legs used to the transition of paddling to
running, this will also help improve boat entry and exit skills.
Before the race set a goal and have a plan but be willing to adapt if necessary. During
the race, stick to your plan, but be adaptable should the need arise. Most of all enjoy
the sport of kayaking and have fun!
While kayaking is an enjoyable
sport, it can also be dangerous. Be sure that you are prepared and practice safe kayaking.
First and foremost file a float plan. Many paddlers enjoy solitude when kayaking or
canoeing, but its important that paddlers let someone know where they will be paddling and
approximately when they will return. Additionally they must adhere to their float plan. In
the event that something tragic were to occur a float plan gives rescuers a starting
Prepare to Kayak
Kayakers should prepare for a day in the sun or rain. Coastal Regulations dictate that
paddlers must have at least the basic safety equipment for a day's paddling. In a kayak
under 6 meters in length you should have basic equipment for a day's paddle on a soft
adventure. This equipment should includes: a life jacket (PFD), a sprayskirt, a pump or
bailer, sponge, paddle, a whistle, a paddle float, a spare paddle, and a buoyant heaving
line. Additionally kayakers should include a small first aid kit with a foil survival
packet, waterproof matches, a kayak repair kit, toilet paper, extra warm clothes and duct
tape. Lightweight Rain gear or paddling jacket is also a good idea. Paddlers are also
encouraged to bring paddling gloves to prevent blistering, quick-drying shorts, sunscreen,
and sunglasses. Paddlers may also want to bring flares, and a weather or marine radio.
Be sure to bring a cap or hat to provide protection from the sun. Paddlers should have
waterproof boots or good sandals. If the temperature are cooler warm close toe shoes are
recommended. During the cool part of the year, long underwear and a warm change of clothes
Kayakers should also bring an appropriate amount of fresh drinking water. Take at least
one liter of water for a day's kayaking and a be sure to bring a snack. Using a camel pack
will make the water accessible while paddling. It is very easy to get dehydrated, up to
three liters of water is recommended for warm days.
Select a personal flotation device designed specifically for paddling and comfort. Make
sure the device is comfortable in whatever activities you hope to do, paddling, racing or
fishing. While comfort is important it should not be at the expense of adequate
Utilize hatches and dry bags or boxes for organizing and stowing gear inside the boat.
Minimize the amount of deck cargo. Deck cargo interferes with wind, and makes a capsized
kayak more difficult to right. Be sure to use dry bags, boxes and packs for above deck
storage with kayaks that do not afford internal access.
Learn the Basics
First If you are new to kayaking, take it slow. For your first few outings, go with an
experienced and knowledgeable kayaker who can teach you the basics of paddling. The
instructor might be a friend, adventure guide or kayaking instructor. One of the more
important things to learn is a rescue or wet-entering. Before venturing out on your own
you should really be comfortable with the kayak, be aware of your limitations in various
Enjoying the sport of kayaking takes more than a kayak. You'll also need the right
When you venture out to purchase a kayak, don't forget to stock up on all of the essential
kayak equipment. The kayak itself is secondary. To make sure that you don't spend your
entire budget on the boat, and be forced to settle for second-rate equipment, always
purchase your kayak equipment first.
Your kayaking experience will be far less enjoyable if you're up the creek with a poor
Be sure to have these items on your kayak equipment-shopping list:
If you plan to buy and use a kayak, these pieces are absolutely essential.
Some pieces of kayaking equipment are necessary, others can be considered optional. The
most important pieces of must-have kayaking equipment are the paddles. Without good
paddles, you'll have trouble navigating your kayak and will not enjoy the experience as
much. On the other hand, every kayaker does not require wet suits. Wet suits are only
necessary if you are planning on kayaking in cold weather or water. Extreme kayak lovers
and professional kayakers generally use Wetsuits.
Life jackets are vitally important to kayakers of every skill level. Even the most skilled
kayaker will hit rough water or tip the boat. With no flotation device or life jacket,
serious injury or death can occur. Kayaking without a lifejacket is dangerous and against
the law. Ensure that you and your passenger have properly fitted lifejackets.
Everyone can find kayaking to be a fun and rewarding sport. With the right kayaking
equipment, your adventure over stream, lake and river can be enjoyable and worry-free.
Make your list, and check it twice. Be sure to invest in top quality kayak equipment, and
then go shopping for your boat. When you venture out in your new kayak, you'll be ready
for any adventure.
Modern kayaks may be categorized into sea kayak, white water kayak, racing kayak, and
surf kayak. These kayaks are made from wood, rotomolded plastic, fiberglass, carbon fiber,
Kevlar, or fiber over aluminum or wooden frame. They are available in single, double, and
sometimes even in three- or four-person models. Let us discuss about the modern kayak in
Modern kayak types:
1. Sea kayak: these are designed to accommodate one or two paddlers. These are more
maneuverable and have extreme stability and cargo capacity. Sea kayak has further subtypes
Strip-built- that is more close to rigid fiberglass boat but very light in
comparison to it.
Sit-on-top- these are used for fishing, diving and can usually accommodate 1-2 but
also come have models that can accommodate 3-4 people. Normally, the seat of this kayak is
above the water level, so the center of gravity is higher. In order to compensate, the
width is increased for the same length of a traditional kayak.
2. Skin-on-frame- the design, technique, material and construction of these kayaks is more
similar to traditional kayaks. These are the lightest among all and are being used in
Greenland by Inuit people for hunting.
3. Recreational- these are built for paddlers interested in photography, a peaceful paddle
in a lake, or fishing. These have larger cockpit and wider beam for stability reasons. The
capacity of cargo is limited, and the length is less than 12 feet.
4. Whitewater kayak: are highly maneuverable and are made of rigid material like
polyethylene. The length of these kayaks is small (6-10 feet) in comparison to others.
Small boats are maneuverable but slow. Whitewater kayaks do not require inherent speed, as
they move down with the current. In kayak rodeo competition, whitewater paddlers use
rapids features to do tricks while they are in one place on the river.
5. Surf kayak: also known as surf skis, are narrow and long kayaks for surf zone rescue
and surf breaking waves. Surf kayaking uses kayaks similar to whitewater kayak design. The
only difference is that they have a planing hull. Surf kayaks can be 12 feet long to
increase the planing speed on wave and to have good paddling speed for catching waves. A
variation to closed cockpit surf kayak design is open cockpit (Waveski) design.
6. Racing kayak: these are designed for speed. To achieve stability, the paddler requires
subsatntial skill, as the hull is extremely narrow. These kayaks have subtypes of flat
water and slalom kayak.
7. Multi type kayaks: these include inflatable and pedal kayaks.
Inflatable kayak-these can be easily stored and transported. They are made of
polyurethane, PVC, or hypalon. You can inflate them with hand, foot, or electric pump.
They are highly portable, stable, easy to master, and are slower than traditional boats.
Pedal kayak- is a special type of boat using pedals allowing the paddler to propel
the vessel with underwater flippers instead of a paddle.
If you love challenging sports and you want to see new places and do things never done
before, then opt for Kayaking. It's a new sport for the strong hearted. On a trial basis
you can rent a kayak and check whether you are game for it. If you like the sport then
instead of renting a kayak, buy a new one. Following are some points to keep in mind while
buying the right kayak.
Youll be able to pick from a variety of kayaks that include sit-ons, sea kayaks, or
kayaks for white water. Decide what type of water youl most frequently be kayaking
on so that you can narrow down your search for the right kayak. If youre going to be
doing some gentle kayaking down the river a touring kayak may be right for you.
Sea kayaks are long, generally 10 to 22 feet in length, while white water rafting boats
are shorter, averaging 9 feet or less. As shorter boats are much more easy to maneuver
than the longer ones that usually require a lot of expertise, it is recommended that
beginners start with a smaller vessel that can be increased in size over a period of time
and with added skill. Once experience is gained the increase in the size of the boat
becomes especially desirable for enhanced fast paddling and tracking.
Having determined the right size of your kayak, the next step is to ensure that it
"fits right". Your purchase is an important one and it is imperative that it
meets all your personal requirements. You should therefore first test the seat, shifting
around in it, adjusting the backrest, footrest and seat leverage, making sure you achieve
optimum comfort levels and that it "feels right". Remember that you're likely to
spend long pleasurable hours in this kayak!
To avoid having to incur unnecessary expenditure, be sure to bring your spray skirt along
with you when shopping for your kayak. This way you can ensure it can be fitted onto the
boat you're considering buying and can eliminate additional outlays for a new one.
As a beginner, it is a good idea to weigh the benefits accruing from the sizes of the
hulls and the material they are constructed from. A small hull size in plastic, while not
necessarily appealing from an aesthetic point of view, is ideal for a beginner in sea
kayaking and a wooden hull, though considered attractive, is high on maintenance costs and
expensive in the long run, especially in the event it is damaged.
The key thing about kayak buying is that like every other important purchase, it ought to
be done in consultation with an expert, well versed in the art of kayak buying, thereby
leading to the incredible and memorable experience and thrill of kayaking.
Copyright 2006, Melody Veloce, All Rights Reserved. This article may be published on web
sites or in newsletters provided this notice and the resource box is included without
This is the best way how to roll a
kayak. The kayak roll or "eskimo roll" is the most consistent way to right a
capsized kayak. This exercise will also help you learn balance and control. If you don't
have a pool at your disposal to practice in, try a river or lake where the water is
First things first:
You'll need to have an experienced friend or a certified instructor to help you with this
Without your paddle, have the other person gently roll you and the kayak over into the
water 180 degrees until you're completed submerged. You should then be guided upright 180
degrees so you can become accustomed to the full range of motion. This will also help you
become more comfortable with the idea of being briefly underwater.
Now, we'll get to the most important motion in the roll - the hip snap.
Using your partner, lean your right arm on his/her shoulder as you lean your kayak to the
side. As you slowly approach the water, tighten your abdominal muscles and try to press
your left ear to your left shoulder, thus raising your head just above the water while you
and your kayak are practically on its side.
Something to keep in mind is that while this motion seems to lead with the head, your
torso will do the work. The hip snap is the key.
How To Roll a Kayak - Let your hips lead.
Assuming that you are now leaning to the right, being supported by your partner, quickly
snap your hips to the left to bring your body upright.
How you do this will be to abruptly press your right knee upward while simultaneously
press down with your left butt cheek. Use the muscles in your midsection to drive this
You will want to lift your head so you can breathe better but you need to try to resist
this instinct. Leading with your head will make the motion harder than it needs to be.
Repeat this action as many times as you can, progressively using your partner's support
less and less. You want to get to point where you can complete the roll by yourself from a
state where you are upside down underwater.
Once you perfect the kayak roll and the hip snap, you'll naturally find you have way more
balance and confidence than you had before. Fear of being underwater is very natural so
don't worry if this all takes awhile to get.
If you are considering taking up kayaking as a hobby or
sport the first thing you need to consider is how much you are prepared to spend on a new
or used kayak together with the cost of the essential kayak accessories you will need. The
next thing to consider is where you will store your kayak when you are not using it.
Not many people take into account the cost of buying all the kayak accessories which
together will often be more than the price of the kayak itself. A decent set of paddles
are not cheap and can cost from $60 to $500 or more. Also there is the cost of a life
jacket, wet gear, gloves, paddles, paddle leash, dry bags, kayak trolleys and so on. The
list is almost endless and before you know it you would have spent well over your intended
To keep the cost down it is well worth looking into the possibility of buying used kayaks.
Kayaks are very durable and used kayaks will normally only have sustained superficial
scratches to the hull through general wear and tear.
However you must check over any used kayaks for cracks, splits or punctures especially if
it is an inflatable kayak. Furthermore always check out the quality of used kayaks when
there is good natural light available.
Once you have purchased your kayak or canoe you will need to arrange for practical and
accessible storage facilities.
If you have opted for an inflatable kayak then storage will not present a major problem as
an inflatable kayak can be stored neatly away in a wardrobe, under a bed or in the attic.
Before storing an inflatable kayak for any period of time you must insure it is completely
clean and dry or there will be a risk it will develop mildew and ultimately rot.
Storage for a plastic kayak is not as easy as the inflatable kayak but that said depending
on the size of the boat and the space you have available it does not have to be that
If you have a garage or shed then the easiest way of storing your kayak is to hang it on
wall bars. This will keep the kayak out of harms way and will provide the best way of
storage as you will not be constantly tripping over it or having to move it to get to
something else. Furthermore hanging your kayak on wall bars will ensure any residue water
will completely drain away.
You can even buy a mechanical pulley system which will enable you to store your kayak in
the roof of your garage. This has the added advantage of allowing you to store your
paddles and kayak accessories inside the hull and makes it easier to mount on a roof rack
by simply driving your vehicle directly underneath it.
The popularity of kayaking is increasing day by day. When kayaking started it was only
for one person and to sail on calm water, but now with modern technology many different
types of kayaks are available in market. Also many different accessories are also
available in market, from many such accessories kayak roof rack is the most popular and
useful kayaking accessories.
Kayak roof rack is most important piece of accessory. It is advisable to have advice from
professional to choose proper kayak roof rack for your car. Choose kayak roof rack
depending upon your needs.
Kayak roof racks are more expensive than foam pads but they are easy to load and they are
much more easier. Basis of kayak roof rack is towers. Towers are short, strong and
vertical poles which are attached to the car. Bars are directly attached to car and if
kept sliding track for bars then you can easily adjust them as per your need. Bats are
pieces which run from one tower to another. Kayaks are loaded on horizontal bars.
There are basically two types of kayak roof rack, one that will fit to any car or racks
which are made for specific cars. It would be great you can find kayak roof top which is
made specifically for your car, don't worry if you can't find such racks, then take some
advice from sales person which rack they recommend. Make sure that kayak roof rack will
fit boat properly.
There are many types of attachments which can be attached to kayak roof rack system. You
can have attachments like storage box, cradles or paddle locks. Cradlers are very popular
attachments for touring or sea kayaks, cradles held kayak in upright position around the
edges to help prevent stress and nulls damage.
To tie kayak to kayak roof rack, first lift the kayak onto rack, keep cockpit facing up
and bow of kayak should be over the hood of the car. Take help of someone to do this.
Arrange cockpit centrally between bars and the rack. Strap the kayak to the kayak roof
rack with heavy duty straps. With rope secure the bow to front bumper and stem to the rear
bumper. This way you can easily tie kayak to kayak roof rack.
You can even get kayak roof racks that side load, you can even get roof racks that have
roller so make your choice and choose best one for you.
Kayaking is an exciting sport that is loved by many. Thanks to new technology it is now
possible to buy inflatable kayaks which have greatly increased the popularity of this
sport. It has changed the way people view kayaking by making it easy and more convenient
for you to reach your destinations. Places that you once though were off limits because
they were to difficult to reach with a hard shell kayak are now easier to get to.
Inflatable kayaks are a great invention that has enhanced this sport in many ways and made
it more alluring to people that once felt it was too much trouble.
For this reason you can say that the most appealing feature of the inflatable kayaks is
the fact that they are portable and easy to transport. People love the fact that you can
fold them up so small that they will even fit in a backpack. This is great when you are
hiking up trails or when you have a long distance to cover on foot before reaching the
waters edge. Inflatable kayaks are not very heavy. Most of them weigh between thirty and
forty pounds. Another great feature is the fact that you can use a simple foot pump to
inflate the kayak and be ready for your adventure in no time at all.
Inflatable kayaks are extremely durable in spite of the fact that they are filled with
air. Many people are afraid that these kayaks will rip or bust when they hit rocks, but
this fear is unwarranted. They are designed from strong rubber that has the ability to
resist punctures and scratches. It would have to be something very extreme to put a hole
in one of these. However, since it is a possibility most of these kayaks are designed with
three chambers and patch kits are available. Even though the inflatable kayak is filled
with air, they are very stable and wont tip over easily. If you do fall out of one,
they are easier to get back in than a hard shell kayak.
If you thought an inflatable kayak would be harder to maneuver through the water, this is
no longer true. They are designed to be easy to maneuver around and some have foot
controlled rudders making them even easier. Many models are also designed with a bailing
system to pump out any excess water when needed. Due to the fact that the inflatable kayak
has so many great features they are becoming the number one choice among kayakers.
Everyone from the beginner to the advanced kayaker can use one of these amazing designs
and have a great exciting adventure.
Kayaking is more popular than ever, with the ease of portability of Inflatable Kayaks.
Discover how these boats can make your next Sea Kayaking vacation a more memerable one by
So you've purchased a kayak.
Congratulations! The next item on your list is likely to be a paddle. But how do you
choose? There's no such thing as the perfect paddle it's different for everyone. The
paddle is an extension of your arms in much the same way the kayak is an extension of your
body, and you want the right one. While paddle choice is largely a matter of personal
preference, length, weight, material and blade shape are all variables that will affect
First, Choose a Length
Paddle lengths for touring range from approximately 220cm to 255cm.
One way to determine correct size is as follows: Lift the paddle and rest the center on
top of your head. Position your hands on the shaft with both elbows bent at roughly 90
degrees. In general, the blades should be about 4" to 5" from your hands, though
this is just a general guideline. Don't forget torso lengthsa tall person with a short
torso, for example, might need a shorter paddle, and vice versa.
Individual height, boat width and simple personal preference might also influence your
decision. Some general guidelines to consider:
Taller people and/or those with wide boats should look at lengths of 240cm or more.
Average-size people should consider paddles in the 230cm-235cm range.
Recreational paddlers and shorter individuals can often use lengths as short as 220cm.
Again, boat width is an important consideration that may result in an average-size
person with a wide boat using a 245cm paddle. Consider all the variables and, if possible,
try some paddles out before choosing a size.
The following questions can help fine-tune the fit of your paddle.
How wide is your boat? Wider boats, such as tandem kayaks, need longer paddles. A longer
paddle allows you to reach the water without straining or hitting the side of the kayak
during a stroke. A paddle that's too short requires extra effort to get the entire blade
in the water, making it more difficult to propel the boat.
What's your paddling style? If you make quick, rapid strokes, a shorter length will make
the paddling more efficient. If you're more laid back, or out for an extended tour, a
longer paddle requires less effort, which saves energy for the long haul.
How long is your torso? In general, taller paddlers and those with long torsos need
longer paddles to reach the water without stretching or straining. Shorter paddlers (and
shorter torsos) need shorter paddles to prevent awkward strokes. Height is not always an
indicator of torso length, though, as a short paddler with a long torso may need a longer
paddle than indicated above.
Are you buying for a child? Choose a paddle designed specifically for children. They are
built proportionally smaller and are easier for small hands to control.
It goes without saying that the lighter the weight, the easier the paddling.
However, the best paddles offer a balanced combination of light weight and strength.
Whitewater paddles are expected to hold up to a vigorous workout, and strength is a big
consideration. Touring paddles, on the other hand, won't be subject to the same strains,
so weight becomes more important, especially on long trips.
Wood transmits the feel of the water well, helping achieve a smooth stroke.
It retains warmth to keep hands comfortable in cold conditions. Some upkeep is required to
maintain its appearance. Many wood paddles are covered with a layer of fiberglass and/or
have a tip guard to improve durability.
These paddles are lightweight, durable and virtually maintenance-free. The
nature of fiberglass allows for more complex blade shapes. In the middle of the price
range, these are by far the most popular choice for whitewater and sea kayaking alike.
Carbon fiber paddles are among the lightest available. The high-tech
material and manufacturing process produces durable paddles with extremely light weights.
They cost more, but are worth it if weight is a concern, such as when you expect to be
paddling long hours or on multi-day trips. Carbon fiber is slightly less durable than
Paddles with aluminum shafts and plastic blades are durable and economical,
but heavier than paddles made from other materials. Also, aluminum can feel cold in cool
weather. They make great spare paddles, and can be a good choice for beginners or
recreational kayakers. Blades are made from a variety of plastics, including polyethylene,
polypropylene, thermoplastic and ABS.
Blades are either feathered or nonfeathered. Nonfeathered blades are
positioned parallel to each other. Feathered blades are rotated at an angle to each other.
The main benefit of feathering is that it reduces wind resistance. As one blade strokes
through the water, the other slices through the air. Blade angles vary from 45 to 90
degrees, with most falling in the 45- to 65-degree range. Smaller angles are easier on the
wrists, but larger angles offer greater efficiency when paddling.
Blades are feathered in such a way that one hand always maintains control of the
paddle. This "control hand" rotates the shaft with each stroke so the blades
enter the water at the most efficient angle. Most whitewater paddles are controlled with
the right hand. Most touring paddles have take-apart shafts that let you change the
feather angle and the control hand. The control hand is a matter of personal preference,
and is not necessarily determined by whether you are right- or left-handed.
Large symmetrical blades can power you through the water quickly, but each
stroke requires a lot of energy. While smaller blades are gaining in popularity, larger
blades are useful for surfing and paddling that requires quick, powerful bursts of
Asymmetrical blades help you paddle most efficiently. They are narrower than their
symmetrical counterparts and tolerate a more horizontal stroke, which uses up less energy.
If you're paddling for long periods of time, or just want to reduce fatigue in general,
consider asymmetrical blades.
Blades are either flat, cupped (spooned) or dihedral. Cupped blades are curved much
like the head of a spoon. This design helps the blade remain stable as you paddle through
the water. Dihedral blades have a built-in angle, similar to an airplane wing. The
dihedral shape helps water flow smoothly and evenly over both halves of the blade to
prevent fluttering and twisting. Many paddle blades are a combination of dihedral and
Paddles are available with either 1-piece or take-apart shafts. One-piece
shafts are inherently stronger. Because whitewater paddles suffer more abuse than touring
paddles, they generally feature the more durable 1-piece shafts. Touring paddles, on the
other hand, usually break down into 2 or more pieces. Take-apart shafts let you change
blade angles from feathered to unfeathered. They make great spares for whitewater kayaking
and touring, because the are easy to transport.
Shafts come in 2 shapes: oval and round. Oval shafts offer a more comfortable grip than
the traditional round shape. Some round shafts feature oval hand sections for a better
grip. This is called oval indexing.
Swing weight is how balanced a paddle feels while paddling. A paddle with lightweight
blades and a heavier shaft feels lighter than a paddle with heavy blades and a light
shaft. Ideally, blade weight and shaft weight should be balanced. Hold a paddle and
practice your stroke to get a feel for the swing weight.
Carry a Spare
If your paddle breaks in the middle of a whitewater run, or if you lose it
on the second day of a 4-day sea kayak trip, what will you do? Without a spare, you might
literally find yourself up a creek without a paddle. An aluminum-and-plastic paddle with a
take-apart shaft makes an inexpensive spare that could save you serious time and grief
should the unexpected happen. They are easy to stash and stand up to rigorous use. Check
out our selection.
Try Them Out
If possible, the best way for you to choose a paddle is to try one out. Check out your
local REI store some let members demo boats and paddles for free. You could also borrow
from a friend or attend a kayak symposium where manufacturers let you test gear. Local
paddling clubs are a good source of information for these types of events. After you
purchase a paddle, try a dry run. Sit in your boat and practice paddling. Is the paddle
long enough? Does it feel comfortable in your hands and not too heavy? If so, you're ready
to hit the water. Happy paddling!
Setting up for kayak fishing really allows you to enjoy the sport to its fullest.
Theres an understandable joy in hooking into a great fish and having everything you
need from secure rod holders to landing equipment and storage right at your fingertips.
Making your kayak such a joy to fish from takes a bit of planning but goes a long way in
making your experience a positive one!
As in fishing from a boat, kayak fishing comprises a wide spectrum of different
techniques, gear, and rigs reflecting the method of fishing as well as the personal
preferences of the angler. Due to the rapid popularity that kayak fishing has experienced
in recent years, many kayak manufacturers offer specially-equipped "fishing
models" featuring built-in rod holders, compartments, and layouts especially suited
to the kayak angler.
For starters, the most popular fishing kayaks are those with a forward compartment for dry
storage and a rear tank-well, or deck recess, that allows for placement of tackle
equipment like a crate with rod holders, bait tanks, or fish bags. My kayak is an Ocean
Kayak Scupper Pro TW.
Rudder or No-Rudder?
The jury is out on the necessity for a rudder but I find a rudder invaluable when trying
to paddle against adverse winds or currents. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoy working my
rudder to "follow" the fish as Im fighting it and they will pull
you! Despite the potential for snagging my line on the rudder, the benefit of increased
efficiency when conditions worsen well outweighs the negatives for installing a rudder.
Starting at the bow, Id recommend bungee lashings, or "bungee trees" as
theyre usually called. These serve as a paddle holder and allow you to stow your
paddle in an instant, a handy feature to have when you get a strike. My kayak is equipped
with bungee trees on the bow and in the cockpit the latter which conveniently holds my
tackle box right in front of me.
If youre thinking positive (and you should be!) you need to have something to land
and store your catch. For smaller fish a landing net will do and for larger fish a gaff
would be more appropriate. Some folks keep a catch bag in their hull which requires
opening up the hatch to place their catch into the bag. My preference is an insulated bag
which I store in the rear tank-well. This setup is very different from our mainland
counterparts most of whom tend to utilize the aft space on their kayaks for storing crates
with rod-holders and/or live bait buckets.
Kayak fishing in Hawaii involves quite simply, bottom-fishing, trolling, whipping
(bait-casting), or jigging. I do very little bottom fishing or whipping (casting) from my
kayak as I really enjoy the constant movement that trolling offers, not to mention the
simplicity of rig that we use!
In setting up for bottom fishing, whipping, and jigging there really is no special set-up
as all that you really need is a floating platform from which to deploy your line.
Its a good idea to get a drift chute which can significantly reduce your drift while
doing any of these stationary fishing methods. I rig a bridle, formed by joining the
bowline and a line fastened behind me, that holds the chute amidships so it holds my kayak
perpendicular to the direction of the current or wind, whichever might be pushing me away
from the area Id like to remain in.
Rod Holders In Front or Behind?
For trolling, my rod holders are set up in the front of the cockpit. This is probably the
biggest difference from many of our mainland kayak fishing colleagues who seem to prefer
placing their rod holders in back of their seats. I prefer being able to watch the tip of
my pole as Im trolling as frequently, smaller fish will shred the bait without
taking pulling on the line for the ratchet to sound. When a fish does hit, the transition
from paddling to setting the hook is one smooth transition as I quickly place the paddle
in the bow lashing then grab my rod.
When placing your rod holders in front of you, be sure to check your maximum forward
extension when paddling so as to assure you wont hit the rod holders or rods when
stretching forward in your stroke.
Wherever you decide to place your rod holders, be sure to include a safety line to your
reels to prevent losing them in the event you capsize or if the rod holders should fail.
On three occasions (Id rather not talk about how ) I flipped my kayak and, if
not for the safety lines would have lost my favorite Penn Reel and rod! On another
occasion, having insufficiently tightened the nut on my rod holder, my entire rod holder
gave way when a fish hit and my reel and rod went right into the water, thankfully, only
as far as the safety line.
Tackle Box & Landing Tackle
My preference is to keep things as simple as possible and the size of my tackle box (about
5"x 8") probably reflects that. All of my lures and pre-set leaders are stored
in this small waterproof box thats strapped into the bungee cords right in front of
me. A long nose pliers hangs off the side of my seat so I dont have to go fumbling
for it when Ive got a twenty pound fish struggling in my lap or thrashing about on
the side of the kayak.
Depending on where were fishing, I would either have a gaff or landing net and,
often, Ill stick them in the extra rod holder for convenience.
Fishfinders & VHS Radios
An increasing number of fishing kayaks are being rigged with fishfinders that are
water-resistant and very well-suited to kayak fishing needs. One of our buddies has a
fishfinder on his kayak and he swears by it! You can choose from a portable fishfinder
that allows for the needed transducer to be mounted with a suction cup or doing a
permanent mount that requires epoxying the transducer to the hull. As of yet, I
havent outfitted my kayak with a fishfinder but Im getting awfully tempted!
Of course, while were on the subject of electronics, a good investment would also be
a VHS two-way-radio so you have both boat to boat and coast guard emergency channel
access. Submersible handheld VHS radios are available nowadays starting at around $170 and
Take some time to set up your kayak and when the day comes when you get the strike of your
life, all the little details will pay off in making your experience the all that it should
a little thought and planning, kayaking with children is a great way to
foster a love of nature and help them develop hand-eye coordination. With
kids, it's usually a good idea to choose a kid-friendly destination without
a lot of boat traffic or strong currents. You may want to begin in small
lakes nearby until they get a bit more experience. Here are some tips to
help you plan a kayaking trip with your children, including advice about
where you should go, what you should bring and when your kids are ready to
paddle on their own.
first thing you need to bring, of course, is your kayak! Most families can
enjoy a day on the water with an inflatable kayak, which is easy to store in
the trunk of the car and inflate when you get to the water. You'll also need
a paddle for everyone that will be actively involved. Look for child
paddles, which are usually around 200 cm long with a narrow shaft that's
easier for small hands to hold. PFDs (personal floatation devices) are also
necessary, so select models that are approved by the United States Coast
Guard. You can find infant-sized PFDs, as well as those for children between
30 and 50 pounds and youths between 50 and 90 pounds. A word of advice here:
if you plan to bring a baby, get them used to the PFD before your trip
because they may refuse to wear it when you're ready to hit the water.
Along with these basics, make sure you bring along plenty of snacks and
food, a change of clothing and a first aid kit. Small kids will also likely
appreciate their own camera to take pictures, binoculars to spot animals, a
journal, books or even a fishing pole of their own if you plan to do some
Choosing the Best Spot
you're enjoying paddle sports with your kids, try to choose areas that offer
a lot of variety and great scenery to keep them engaged. You'll also want to
know the area well beforehand. If possible, research state parks in your
area to find great kayaking areas that are kid-friendly and include a couple
of stops for bathroom breaks. You'll also need to think about the length of
the trip, as younger kids won't be up for a long 6-mile paddle. Keep in mind
your child's strength, coordination, age and swimming ability when you're
planning your trip to make it safe and enjoyable for everyone.
Can Your Kids Paddle?
kids can begin paddling their own kayak by 8 to 10 years of age, if they
have the experience. You'll still want to venture into safe areas until they
gain more experience. Younger kids do well with
inflatable kayaks, which are lightweight
and a bit slower. For kids 10 and older, select a small kayak. Kids over the
age of 14 can learn to paddle medium-sized inflatable kayaks. If your child
is under 8, the middle of the kayak is the best place for them to sit with
an adult. They won't help to propel the boat, but they will learn how the
kayak feels as it moves. By the age of 8, they can also begin riding in the
bow of a double kayak to help you paddle.
Involve Your Kids in the Planning
Don't forget to involve your children in the planning of the trip as well.
If your kids have never been involved in paddle sports before, let them get
in the kayak at home so they can get used to how it feels. They can also
help you research the trip by looking through guidebooks, animal charts and
Additional Tips for Kayaking with Kids
sure to give your kids lots of praise and don't criticize their efforts
unless it's a matter of safety.
rules clear beforehand, including no standing or leaning in the kayak.
slowly and don't get separated from the rest of your family.
plenty of breaks to enjoy the scenery and point out interesting things to
Walk on Water is your source for paddle boards, inflatable
kayaks, I-Mats, apparel, paddles and accessories for the most fun on the
water. Walk on Water also offers paddle board rentals in Miami, rent to own
services and paddle parties.
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of the photographs may be reproduced without the express written consent of Outdoor Business Group Limited and Brian Ramsey.