Do you want to learn the essential tips for sea kayaking for beginners? We prepared this post for you. Kayaking on lakes and rivers can be a fun hobby, but sea kayaking is an extra thrill. It’s a total body workout and makes you realize how small you are in this big world. This guide to sea kayaking for beginners will tell you everything you need to know for a day on the water.
Kayaking experience isn’t necessary, but it is definitely helpful when you get out into the current and continuous waves of the sea. Sea kayaking has taken me to so many unique places though like watching the full moon off the shore of North Carolina and kayaking through the mangroves in St. Thomas.
Sea Kayaking for Beginners
While this overview may be similar to regular kayaking, there are a few differences when it comes to sea kayaking. This guide will go over the basics of kayaking plus the differences when out on the ocean.
Is Sea Kayaking Difficult?
Other than in whitewater, I do find kayaking in the ocean to be the most difficult place to kayak. The current, tides, and wind all make you work harder to maneuver your boat through the water.
There are a few things that you can do to make your first trip easier. Be sure to check the weather and try to go out when there isn’t a strong wind. Research the best place to go. You don’t want to go somewhere known for huge waves.
In fact, for your first time, it may be best to stick to a sound or channel system where you’ll be shielded a bit from the waves. Finally, wear the right clothing or you’ll be miserable the whole time. Clothing has a lot to do with how happy you are when participating in any activity.
What to Wear When Kayaking
What you wear when you are kayaking is totally dependent on the weather. Sea kayaking is typically popular in warmer months where you can wear a bathing suit undershorts and a t-shirt or tank top. Quick-dry clothing is also a good idea. Read this to plan for sea kayaking trips.
If you paddle under the strong sun and for long, make sure to apply plenty of sun cream on your face, legs, hands, the back of your neck, and on any uncovered skin. Wearing a hat is highly recommended unless you want the “lobster tan”.
While sleeveless may be more comfortable in the heat, I do recommend wearing something with sleeves. Wearing short sleeves will at least protect your shoulders because it’s very easy to get sunburned on the open ocean even with lots of sunscreens.
If the weather is colder then you can wear a wetsuit and closed-toed water shoes. You can also wear pants with a long-sleeve shirt preferably made out of polyester material. You will get splashed a good deal so you’ll want to have something on your arms and legs to keep you warm.
The best clothing for kayaking is lightweight, has UV Protection, and will dry quickly if it gets wet.
The Best Sea Kayaks for Beginners
A beginner sea kayaker needs a boat that is very stable and big enough to hold all their gear plus one that tracks well through the water. There are five different kayaks for beginners that I can recommend.
The five kayaks are the Dagger Stratos, Old Town Castine 145, Eddyline Sitka, Wilderness Systems Tempest 165, and Old Town Looksha 17. Each one of these is highly rated and will provide the perfect ride for a day on the water.
If you don’t want to invest in a kayak before you know you’ll love the sport then be sure to rent the first few times that you go. The rental equipment will usually not be as fancy as what you can buy, but I wouldn’t worry about that for your first time.
You should be able to find an outfitter near any major body of water and most minor ones. A quick google search for “kayak rentals” or “outfitters” near where you are going should do the trick.
When choosing the best sea kayaks for beginners it will help if you can test a few out first. This way you figure out which one is best for your own body. Also, the best women’s kayaking options will be different from men’s.
Sea Kayaking Essentials
Other than clothing there are a few additional pieces of gear for kayaking that are essential for a day on the water. You must have a Personal Floatation Device, also known as PFD, for safety. This will keep you afloat if you fall out of the kayak and is one of the most important pieces of equipment for kayaking.
You’ll also need a paddle to move your boat forward. A dry bag is very helpful to keep your things easily accessible but dry from the spray of the ocean. Be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen as well.
If you’re headed out on an unguided trip then you’ll want to pack a first-aid kit, whistle, and knife as well. The hope is that you won’t have to use them, but you always want to be prepared.
Sea Kayaking: How to Paddle
Paddling in the ocean is much like paddling anywhere else. You take one end of the paddle and dip it into the water towards the front of your kayak and then sweep the paddle back until it’s just a little ways behind you.
Now take the opposite end that’s up in the air and do the same thing on that side. Repeat this rhythmic motion as you cut forward through the surf.
A few differences that you’ll need to take note of when paddling in the ocean are the waves and wind. If you’re paddling into either, then it’s going to be a long ride. Put your whole body into it by shifting the top half of your body forward when your paddle goes into the water and pulling it back using your top half and pulling the paddle using your core to help you.
Make sure the waves aren’t crashing perpendicular to your boat. Paddle into the waves or with the waves, but not perpendicular to them. That’s a good way to flip over.
Benefits of Kayaking
The benefits of kayaking include all the same benefits of being outside. Nature has been proven to increase one’s mood and kayaking is no different. In addition to increased mood, it can lower the levels of stress that a person feels.
There are physical benefits in addition to the psychological ones. Kayaking is great exercise, especially for your upper body and core. It’s also a fun way to get your exercise in.
Kayaking can also be a relationship-building activity. Paddling with other people can lead to great conversation and if you have a tandem kayak, it can be a team-building exercise since you work together for a common goal.
Final Tips for Sea Kayaking for Beginners
The number one tip is to get out there and try sea kayaking for yourself! You’ll never know if you like it until you try.
Make sure you have the right clothing and go with someone who knows what they are doing at least for the first few times. You’re sure to get the hang of it very soon, but while you’re still learning don’t go kayaking alone.
Do some stretching exercises before you start paddling. Paddling is a great exercise and if you paddle for long it is best to get your muscles ready.
Ocean kayaking for beginners can be a bit intimidating, but with the right equipment and preparation, you’ll have so much fun and will be dying to go a second (and third) time!