A friend was interested in kayaking and asked how Porter and I got started.
Here’s our story…
Some people rent kayaks to try it. I’d suggest that route. We actually talked about doing that but when we finally got around to it, we just bit the bullet, took advantage of a great sale and went for it.
OK, for us that was a smart move. We’re active people. We love water and have been boaters at various times of our lives. It wasn’t a boondoggle, it was fun cross training for our half.
We had actually talked about getting into kayaking for about two years. I had volunteered at an event last summer – because it was a neat event and gave me the opportunity to live for a day in the paddling community.
Like anything, it’s not just about the kayak… to make the commitment there’s the personal floatation device(pfd), paddles and car carrier with lines. At the end of the day, the cost of admission was around $700 – with a good sale. Thankfully, Porter – the height challenged – was most comfortable in the less expensive kayaks. A nice way to start. We did go back after our class for sponges and a pump – we had the whistles.
After buying kayaks, we immediately signed up for a kayaking course taught by ACA(American Canoe Association) certified instructors from Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeepers. We were lucky to have a course scheduled right after we picked up the kayaks. The course was just what we needed. Porter questioned the cost because there are a number of free classes. This was right for me because it covered all the topics of paddling in reasonable depth. We tend to go all in when we do something. This class taught us technique, safety, and supplies. The instructors knew their stuff and were good teachers. The class was half on land and half on a local creek. The creek let us practice basic strokes and kayak handling. Four hours later still dry… maybe a little pink, I felt pretty confident that we could hold our own. 🙂
Do you have to take a class? No, of course not. I would recommend it… If only for the safety side. Water and weather get my utmost respect. Something you shouldn’t mess with. It was perfect for us. If you want to learn about the correct strokes & safety, get some first hand recommendations on kayak gear and meet some local pros… take a class. While you don’t have to… I would strongly recommend it, especially if you are new to paddling and boating.
On piece of advice Chris gave us was to practice re-entering an overturned kayak. He suggested that it would boost our confidence. A couple of days after our class, we followed Chris’ advice and headed to a lagoon at Beaver Island State Park and practiced. It was harder than I expected. After a little trial and error, we did it. Chris was, of course, right. I felt ready to take on the world.
Along with a kayak, paddle and pfd, you’ll need a carrier. We’re lucky to be able to put Porter’s knowledge of knots to good use. If you don’t know knots you’ll need to either learn or buy ratcheting tie-downs. I’ll do a post covering how we tie down our kayak, but it may have to wait for spring.