What is Kayaking?
A Kayak is a small vessel (boat) which is powered by pushing water with a paddle. The activity of using a Kayak is called Kayaking. There are a variety of styles in Kayaking with specialised equipment for each style. We use sit on top recreational Kayaks which have high buoyancy & ease of use for beginners & experts alike. They provide great stability and enough storage for day trips although we have managed a six day Kayaking expedition quite comfortably on these kayaks (check out PADDLE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT). The most important factor for a safe and enjoyable Kayak trip is the quality of your Kayaking guide & interpretation of the bio-diversity in the Gulf of Mannar. Our Kayaking guides have done various international Kayaking certificates & have proven their worth by winning national Kayaking competitions as well (check out Manapad Classic & the Deep South 30).
LEARN KAYAK BASICS
5 TIPS FOR KAYAK BEGINNERS
- Choose a Kayak style
Learn about different types of kayaks & choose the right one to start off! Generally the easiest kayaks to begin with are sit on tops (skirt less). As the name indicates you do not sit inside this kayak hence its easy to jump in & out incase you are imbalanced. Kayaks for sea, river & lake are different in shapes sizes & properties.
- Hold your paddle right
To paddle efficiently you need to make sure the scoop of your paddle is facing in the correct direction to maximise displacement of water. Everyone wants to go fast without wasting much energy! Paddle using your core & not just your arms. All the big muscles are in your back, front & bottom, which can give more endurance than biceps, so use those muscles correctly.
- Start in flat water
Start your learning experience in flat water so you are in control of the kayak completely. Learn how to paddle in all directions, turn & come to a standstill before venturing out for a trip.
- Learn the capsize drill
One of the most important skills to have before venturing out into deeper and rougher waters. Learn how to get in & out of your kayak in deep waters. This will help you gain independence & confidence to venture out for longer kayak journeys.
- Safety First
Always plan your kayak experience well, research the water body, equipment & always wear a PFD/Lifejacket, carry a tow rope, rescue knife, helmet, sunscreen & *dress for the water. Try to start your journey against the wind so it is easier to comeback with tail wind assisting you.
LEARN KAYAKING BASICS IN RAMESHWARAM, INDIA
- Start off by locating an area on the beach which is sheltered from the wind & has calm flat water.
- Wear your PFD/Lifejacket, helmet, paddle leash & make sure you have plenty drinking water for your kayak session.
- Walk into knee deep water to ensure the Kayak base does not touch the ground.
- Hold the rails (sides) of the Kayak and climb into your kayak with your bottom first. Do not step in with your feet or on your knees, your bottom goes in first! Push your legs against the foot holds and your thighs comfortably gripping the sides of the kayak.
- Paddle around while to get a feeling of movement. The faster the kayak moves the more stable you will feel.
- Learn how to change directions while paddling forward in just one direction. You can also change directions by paddling backwards but this will slow down the movement & cause some imbalance.
- Once you are able to navigate in all directions & are comfortable you can try going faster to test the limits of your movement.
- Practice moving in all directions & turning before you venture out for a longer trip.
- For deep water starts, hold on to the kayak rail or guy lines while kicking your legs in the water to get some upward thrust, pull your body onto the board & lie down. From this position you can get on your knees & pop up.
- While planning a Kayak trip try to paddle upwind first so you can come back easy!