You’ve never skimmed across the top of the water until you’ve tried kayaking. This is the fastest self-propelled water sport you can do—and the speed is totally up to you! Using your own two arms, you can zip along or take a more leisurely pace, looking at birds and animals.
How to Do It
Kayaking is easy to learn. When you start, you’ll be fitted with a life jacket (and a helmet, if you’re on a river). You’ll see that the paddle has a slightly-cupped blade on either end, and that the blades are offset. This makes it so that as you stroke on one side, the paddle on the other side will automatically cut through the air. So, as you paddle, you’ll need to rotate the paddle a little between strokes.
Inside the kayak, your feet will hit two foot rests, one on either side. You’ll get more power from each stroke if you use these foot rests to brace yourself.
Getting In and Out
One of the hardest parts of kayaking is getting into and out of the kayak. From the dock, crouch down low to get in. Put one foot on the centerline of the kayak and stay low. Ask someone else to hold your kayak for you as you get in. Swing your behind gently into the seat and then get settled. Your friend can hand your paddle to you.
Get out the same way, by keeping your weight low and standing on the centerline of the kayak. Again, have a friend hold your boat for you. Nothing’s worse than having your kayak start floating away when you’re halfway out of it!
Fun in the Kayak
Because it’s so silent, kayaking is a great way to watch birds and marine creatures without scaring them away. If you’re looking for noisier fun, you can get friends together for a race or make up your own tricky paddling course to follow. Practice turning by putting your paddle in the water behind you with the cupped part of the blade facing forward and paddling backward. You can also turn by paddling harder with one arm than the other. Try it!