Preparing for Your Sea Kayaking Trip
Sea Kayaking Training
Kayaking is a mostly non-technical sport and for those who stick to calm water they can manage to use only minimal strength. Stamina, Balance, and upper body strength are the three key points to address when practicing. Considering many Kayaking trips can take all day long maintaining your energy throughout the day is vital. Be sure to practice paddling for long stretches of time. Your vacation is not the time to find out how quickly you get tired. Keeping your balance on a kayak takes some adjustment, particularly with touring kayaks. It may be a good idea to practice first on a general recreation kayak. When you are out in the middle of the ocean waves are hitting you from all sides and battling through takes lots of upper body strength. Prepare yourself by lifting weights, jogging, row machines, or push-ups.
Sea Kayaking Gear
There are four main types of kayaks: General Recreation, Touring, Whitewater, and Racing. Each has a specific purpose and its own group of sub categories. A General Recreation kayak is stable, easy to use, and for all-purpose paddling. It’s generally made for calm waters and not for long distances. A Touring kayak, the best option for most sea kayaking, is longer and narrower than most kayaks. They are made to cover long distances in lakes and oceans and are somewhat difficult to make quick turns. A whitewater kayak is for rivers and streams with fast moving water and rapids. They are short and can be turned easily. Racing kayaks are made for speed and are often highly technical.
Folding and Inflatable kayaks are great if you plan on kayaking on your own in some far off destination. When deflated a blow-up kayak can fold up and fit in a small box, making it far easier to ship than a regular hard kayak. When inflated these kayaks can withstand extreme conditions just like any other high quality kayak. Contrary to what you may think, they actually cost the same as regular kayaks.
Many adventure tour operators use two person kayaks. These are great for wildlife watching, as they are larger and more stable. They are great for couples, particularly if one of the pair has considerably less strength than the other. A PFD, or personal safety device or life jacket, is your most important piece of equipment, even more than the kayak or paddle. If you don’t use one there is a good chance of getting a fine, although in third world countries the rules may be relaxed. There are a million reasons why you should wear a life jacket, and very few reasons why you shouldn’t. They come in all sizes and comfort levels. Although there are many different colors available and blue and black are some of the most common, bright colored jackets such as orange or yellow or jackets with reflective strips are a good idea, especially if you are paddling in the open ocean.
Your paddle is your next important piece. A spare paddle is a good idea to have if touring. Other equipment is recommended for certain situations such as helmets, bilge pump, a weather radio, flares, dry bags, a compass, and tide charts.