Kayaking for Beginners

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Who thought a long thin boat was a good idea? Using a weird looking stick with a short, fat end to push yourself away from the land that provides you with a home and safety is just silly. And yet, this crazy idea has since developed into a widely popular and very fulfilling recreational sport: Kayaking.

For those who have never kayaked before, or are hesitant to try it, there are many benefits to going out on the water.

It’s safe

For the first time paddler, kayaking may look intimidating. But kayaks are designed to be more stable than other forms of self-propelled boats. In calm water, it is nearly impossible to flip a kayak. With a little instruction and a proper life vest, you can be safe on the water.

It benefits your health

Physically, kayaking can be a full body exercise. In the process of paddling, you use your arms, back, chest, core, and even legs to move the kayak. The best bodies of water to kayak in have little current and no motorized boats. These provide glass-like water, allowing the kayaker to control their pace. If you want to paddle hard, you can paddle hard. If you want a break, you can take a break. On calm water, you can relax while still getting a great workout.

The views are stellar

Kayaking provides beautiful views that are hard to match. In this region, there are thousands of lakes and ponds, all providing their own unique sights. In a minimally invasive boat, you get a different perspective to these views. Looking at water is one thing, but being part of the water and paddling through the beauty is amazing. Kayaking provides a full immersion in nature that cannot be matched on land.

It’s easy to get started

Kayaking is a very easy sport to pick up. If you’re a first timer, you can bring your boat to the calm pond you drive by every day. If you’re someone with more experience, you can put your boat in the ocean. With the versatility of the boat, everyone can kayak. It does not matter the age or skill level, there is a body of water perfect for everyone. “There are lots of different kayaks, made for people of all levels of experience,” says Zack Anchor, owner of Portland Paddle and certified kayak guide. “And there are  environments that are easier to go kayaking in.” If you feel anxious or nervous, you can try a tandem kayak and go with someone who has experience. Age and skill level does not matter, as there is a perfect body of water for everyone.

Kayaking is a great sport, full of beauty and many benefits. When you get the chance, go out and explore  the great bodies of water Maine has to offer.

“Helpful Tips for the New Kayaker”

  • Wear a life vest. Life vests are required by law in many states, and are a great safety precaution.
  • Never paddle alone. It is always smart to have someone with you.
  • Get instruction. Paddling is not a difficult sport to learn but getting a small amount of instruction before going out for the first time can go a long way. Look for an American Canoe Association (ACA) guide if you’re a first-time kayaker.
  • Find protected water. For your first time, find a spot with land accessible from all sides, or stay along the coast. 
  • Paddle where you are comfortable. Don’t be too ambitious your first-time kayaking. Paddle where you feel safe. When you become more comfortable, that’s when you can venture out.
  • Try different boats. Kayaks come in all different shapes and sizes. Before buying your first kayak, try out a couple of types to see which has the best feel.

Places to Rent Kayaks

Portland Paddle: Portland, Maine

Paddle Maine: Brunswick, ME

Portsmouth Kayak Adventures: Portsmouth, NH

About the author
Ben Carey is an intern at Martin’s Point and a student at the University of Southern Maine. Ben has worked as a Kayak Tour Guide in Massachusetts and has experience working with new and experienced kayakers, teaching the  skills and etiquette of being on the water. He likes to adventure, and hopes to meet you on the water!

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