Kayaking 101


Chassahowitzka River, The Chaz, Chaz

Kayaking on The Chaz

OK, you’ve decided you might like to take the plunge and try out this thing called kayaking. But how do you go about getting started?  Or, you been out on your first paddle, either through a rental at an outfitter or a friend who drug you along on a paddle, and you’re hooked.  Where do you go from here?   Kayaking 101, we call it.

And that’s really what this website is all about – helping you with the first steps.  

1)  Giving you enough info that you can make decent choices about the appropriate equipment and gear,
Providing you with some places to go paddling with mileage charts, put-ins and take-outs, what you’ll see there, etc.
3)  Offering basic skill sets and checklists to keep you safe,
4)  Suggesting tips and tricks to make your paddling more enjoyable.

We’ve divided up our information and tips into the various categories below:

Kayaks – Choosing a kayak
Types of kayaks, construction, materials, stability, rudders and skegs.

Choosing a paddle, materials, selecting the proper length, feathering, blade shape, shaft diameter, straight vs bent shafts, accessory.

Your Personal Flotation Device – the law, fitting, inflatables, whistle

Required Gear – Safety equipment
First aid kit, repair, kit, bow/stern line, bailer/bilge pump, being seen, paddle float, rescue stirrup 

Other gear – to make your trip enjoyable
Hat, water, cockpit cover, sun screen, clothing, dry bags, skirts and half-skirts

What to Wear – Kayaking year-round
Rain gear, layering, hands and feet

Kayaking Terminology
Parts of a kayak, parts of a paddle, river right and left

Basic Paddling Skills
Control hand, basic strokes – forward, reverse, sweeps, draws, edging, low brace 

Getting in and out of a Kayak
Beaches and ramps, low docks, high docks

Transporting and Shuttling
Vehicles, trailers, tie-downs, shuttling examples

Kayak Touring
Introduction, packing, checklist, planning, example

Recovery and Rescue
Recovery – unassisted re-entry, using a paddle float and rescue stirrup, assisted rescue

Tips and Tricks
Keel strip, adding reflective lines and patches, water gun vs bilge pump, spare paddle ideas, what makes a good sponge, making your own rescue stirrup, skirts/half-skirts, shoes, coolers, basic maintenance, deck lines, finding your gear in the boat

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