am a complete newbie to kayaks. I've been going
out in my Gheenoe on the St. Johns river for years and
years, but it is an extremely steady little motorboat -
not a tipsy little pool toy I have to paddle!
Counting the time I took the kayak trip at the zoo, I might
have had a total of an hour in kayaks. Then I met The
Alligator Princess, who traveled solo in her kayak for
the entire length of the St. Johns river. (She filmed a documentary
of her trip, and a preview is available on her website.)
Michelle and I went camping together and she told some great
stories and made kayaking sound like a LOT of fun. I started
looking for a used kayak to purchase. For over a year I asked
everyone I knew, but no one who had a kayak was willing to
sell. I did a lot of research online to determine the best
boat for me, and finally when I couldn't stand it anymore
I ran to a local shop screaming "Charge it!!!!!" and
made my purchase!
If you are as new to kayaking as I am, let me
share some very basic stuff to get you started.
What are the basic supplies I will need?
With a canoe or kayak you don't need tags, trailers and
all that. Assuming you have a car able to haul your boat,
your basic requirements are pretty simple:
- a kayak or canoe
- life vest
- whistle (for signaling for help)
- a white light
It's also good to have:
- a paddle leash
- dry sack to carry your stuff
- rope (to tie up the boat)
- shade hat
- first aid, snack, cell phone, mp3 player, camera, etc.
What kinds of kayaks are there?
1.) There are two basic kinds
of kayaks - Sit-In and Sit-On-Top
The Sit-In kayak has a hole that you
sit inside. If kayaking in rough water or bad weather
you can put a skirt over the hole to keep it from filling
up with water. If it rolls over it can be tricky to flip
back and get into.
A Sit-On-Top kayak has a seat and foot
pegs, and you sit on top of it. You are exposed to sun,
wind and water, but the boat won't fill up and sink.
Easier to put upright and get back into. (In theory -
I haven't tried it yet!)
Single person sit on
Two person sit in kayak
2.) Then you have Single or Tandem
Will you be riding alone or with a buddy? Singles will
only hold one person, or one person and a child or dog.
Tandem kayaks are built for two.
3.) Short, long, wide
or narrow. Short and wide will give you stability
and maneuverability in tight spots, long and narrow will
give speed and distance.
Kayaks vary wildly from this point out. There are every
kind of configuration of hatches, deck space, foot pegs,
seats, paddles, pedals...it all depends on how you plan to
use your boat. Click here for
a Product Review of the boat I selected.
How do you transport and secure your
helps if you have a roof rack already, because then you have
something to strap your kayak to. If not, there are other
options. You could purchase a roof rack or a surfboard rack,
or you can just use foam blocks and tie downs.
Most people just strap their kayaks onto their roofs and
go. So do I, but I also have a Lasso
Security Cable. The week before I got my boat I met a
man who had left his two kayaks strapped into the back of
his pickup truck while he went into a bait store. In five
minutes he came out and one of his boats was gone.
lasso has a steel cable running through it, a combination
lock and/or a key lock. I feel better for having it!
I don't have a garage for storage so I use the Lasso to
lock my kayak to a tree in the backyard when it isn't in