Sometime last year, I decided to try kayaking (or paddling, as the experienced may call it).
A year on, it’s time for a review of the sport. Although i’d owned and adventured with a (two-man inflatable Sea-Doo) kayak for some time, I wanted to learn how to paddle properly, in a whitewater kayak. The education begins on flat water, so is open to almost everyone, young and old. The only real restriction is the ability to fit inside the kayak (of which many sizes are available).
I chose the local canoe & kayak club in Brigg. Their website is http://www.gscc-online.com/ . The club has a friendly informal atmosphere. There are members from Primary school, up to retirement. They also offer open canoe and SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) training too.
As with most sports, equipment is involved. I prefer to have my own kit, but for anyone else on a budget, the clubs often include all kit in the session price (at the time of writing, £5 per session).
If you have never paddled before, you will surely feel unstable in a kayak for a few sessions. I found that the learning curve with kayaking is a little longer than some other sports. You need to spend some time on the water before you feel really comfortable with what you are doing, even though learning the basics skills is quite quick and rewarding. I’d highly recommend anyone trying kayaking and having a go, to get a feel for what it is like.
As I have my own kit now, i’ve spent a fair amount of time on different rivers, some flat, some windy, some open, with current, & also low grade whitewater. (Note, to paddle outside of a club, you should have a river licence, or membership with British Canoeing) – https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/ )
Time on water has really made a difference outside of the club sessions. It is also a great hobby for exploring the waterways near and far. Flat rivers require basically zero effort to paddle, the reward of the tranquility and wildlife shouldn’t be under estimated. In contrast, whitewater really is something else. This is an extreme sport, requiring quick thinking and reactions alike.
Watch out for some of these adventures in later reviews.
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