Paddling is one of the fastest growing watersports with boats available from most outdoor outfitters. Having access to affordable equipment is a huge incentive for people to start paddling.
So you’ve got your boat and now what?
With any new sport instruction is recommended. A few lessons when you are first starting out could potentially save your life as well as preventing injury.
Paddling is an all body sport utilizing your arms, your core muscles, your legs and feet as well as the equipment. ‘Body, Boat and Blade’ is a common phrase amongst instructors as to be an efficient paddler you will use all three.
‘Why do I need kayak lessons?’ is a question I am often asked. ‘I used to kayak/canoe as a kid so don’t need lessons’. ‘I just like sitting in my boat and don’t go very far so I don’t need lessons’ are also common statements.
The important questions to ask before plunging into the water are:
Do I fit in this boat?
Can I get in without capsizing?
Is there enough body contact with my boat so I can control my paddling?
Do I know how to make the boat go forward, backward, sideways?
Do I know how to rescue myself?
Can I rescue my paddle partner?
Lessons will not only help beginners learn how to be safe on the water but can help experienced paddlers improve on their existing paddle technique. With instruction you can gain the skills to take your boat on expedition-travelling the planet exploring beautiful waterways. You can learn to roll, become an instructor and even train for the Olympics.
To find an instructor, Buffalo Trek has a list of organizations and outfitters in the paddling directory who offer lessons as well as boat rentals.
The paddlesports organizations that ensure instructors are qualified and up to speed with current practice have a contact list for coaches, courses and clubs. This can be a great starting point for a long and healthy paddling career.
How to choose?
Everyone learns differently and each instructor brings something unique to a lesson. It’s important to find an instructor or coach you are comfortable learning with.
Whether you are new to the sport or a seasoned professional in order to get your paddle on first learn what to do and then practice throughout the season.
Any sport that involves an element of danger be it drowning, a shoulder injury or hypothermia should be approached with smarts, learn first and always try before you buy a boat.
Safe and happy paddling 😉