Beginner’s Guide to Kayaking

It's easy and you get a great workout; here's how to get started.

By Adam Bean


Guide to Kayaking#4: Don’t push yourself.
Kayaking is like anything you do for the first time: You need to be honest about what you’re capable of, says Carberry. So go easy at first, and concentrate on learning the technique. "When you get the technique down—which isn’t difficult to do—you can paddle along almost effortlessly," he says. "You don’t need to be in great shape to do it, by any means."

#5: Sit up straight.
"Your instructor will tell you about technique, but basically you need to sit upright, with maybe a slightly forward lean," says Carberry. "In the kayak, you have less control when you lean back." As for your paddling stroke, he adds, "think toes to butt, toes to butt. Put your paddle in the water as far forward as your toes, and pull it out of the water when it gets even with your butt."

#6: Head for "flatwater" if you’re not sure of your ability.
That’s the term kayakers use for ponds or lakes, where the water isn’t moving. "If you’re the athletic, outdoorsy type, you’ll be fine on a river or stream as long as you get instruction first," says Carberry. "But if you’re not confident about it, flatwater is probably best at first."

Here are more ways to get fit and have fun:
Start running: 10 Expert Tips for Beginning Runners
Ride a mountain bike: How to Start Mountain Biking
Take a hike: Beginner's Guide to Hiking
Try sculling: How to Start Sculling for Exercise

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