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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryland
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    355

    Red face Kayak tips for women

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    Hi! I know many of you here are pretty active. Are there any kayakers? I am going this Saturday with my b/f and I haven't been before. I know he will "teach" me but are there any first hand tips you can give for a new lady trying this out? This is one of his main hobbies and it appeals to me so I want to try to make it something I can do with him.

    When I was younger, I had a pretty severe of water I couldn't see through. I've improved on it greatly, but I won't say I'll be out there with zero fear.

    I've been in a canoe with one other person once, and it didn't go well due to my fear and our lack of paddling skill. That was easily a decade ago.
    2013: Riding a Dolce sport compact for fun and a vintage Jetter with cargo rack for commuting

    www.bike-sby.org: A network of concerned cyclists working to make our city more bicycle friendly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403
    Flatwater/lake or whitewater?
    Hard kayak or inflatable?
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    355
    flat, pond/creek style water and a hard boat-likely composite. I'll have my own boat because he owns a single seat sea kayak.
    2013: Riding a Dolce sport compact for fun and a vintage Jetter with cargo rack for commuting

    www.bike-sby.org: A network of concerned cyclists working to make our city more bicycle friendly.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,652
    Make sure you have a PFD onboard, and since you are a little nervous about the water, wear it. Take binoculars if you have them. Take a water bottle or Camelbak along, and a snack. Wear sunscreen and bugspray (or at least take the latter in case you need it). Don't try to do too much your first time out because you will likely be sore afterwards.

    I always used an old pair of bike or weight lifting gloves as I found that I got rubbed places on the inside of my thumbs after paddling for awhile.

    Other than that, it's really quite easy and fun and not hard to pick up at all, on flat water at least. Just go with an open mind and enjoy!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,632
    If there is an optoin of wearing a spray skirt I would not use it if it is your first time. It may make you feel to confined. Also, if there is a dock near by when you are sitting the boat and in the water rock your hips back and forth to "feel" the rock of the boat before you go out inot "open water". ( While you are rocking your hips hold onto the dock with one hand or have your BF help to stabilize you) Depending upon the type it should have pretty good inital stability.
    As for a paddle go with a standard nonfeathered paddle...meaning no angle. If it has an angle you would have to bend your wrist ( Left or Right) depending upon which side is feathered and there are also lots of diiferent degrees of angle.

    Kayaking believe it or not does not come primarily from the arms..but from the trunk with rotation.

    Most of all Have fun!!!!!!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403
    Um, how about WEAR the PDF? Especially for a newbie!!!!!!

    I'll be frank. I put PFD for water and helmet for biking in the same category of mandatory safety equipment. Especially for beginners.Especially small craft.

    You wouldn't tell a new biker to make sure you have a helmet along and wear it only if you are nervous, would you? Of course not. You wouldn't tell a beginner to bungee the helmet to the bike, would you?

    Calm water, you swamp the boat, you get a little cold and tired, not wearing a pfd? Sudden weather change, all of a sudden calm water is not calm, boat swamps, no pfd? Things happen fast in the water and a PFD does you no good if you aren't wearing it. The decision to not wear one should only be made by experienced boaters who are confidently aware of the consequences. I think to not wear it, or to only keep it handy is absolutely TERRIBLE advice to give a beginner.
    Last edited by Irulan; 06-14-2012 at 05:32 PM.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,632
    Of course wear a PFD...That is pretty much assumed esspecially where I am from/grew up it was mandatory by the coast guard.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,172
    Quote Originally Posted by lovelygamer View Post
    Hi! I know many of you here are pretty active. Are there any kayakers? I am going this Saturday with my b/f and I haven't been before. I know he will "teach" me but are there any first hand tips you can give for a new lady trying this out? This is one of his main hobbies and it appeals to me so I want to try to make it something I can do with him.
    There are quite a few of us Maryland TE'ers who are flat water kayakers.
    I have 2 kayaks - and 2 canoes. Some day perhaps we'll actually put the bikes aside and use the boats!

    Check out this site for some intro articles and "how-to's" for kayaking. Tips, tricks, all that stuff...
    http://www.paddling.net/guidelines/

    If you are a confident swimmer and you're in protected waters, it's okay to leave the PFD on the boat. If you're not a confident swimmer or if you are in exposed water (chop, current), wear it. If you don't have a place to bungey it to the boat's deck, or you're unsure what to do with it otherwise: wear it. Chances are good, he won't take you anywhere where you're likely to get more than your feet and hands wet - unless you choose otherwise. Your PFD in MD is supposed to have a whistle on it.

    Spray skirts are great for keeping biting flies off your legs - but they can be hot. And you can't scratch any itchy bits.

    I found that TEVA sandals hurt my heels in the boat. I do better with full-cover water shoes. Mine are super-cheapies I thing I got from Target. They're also like 12 years old.

    A hat is important. Full brim - ball cap - anything to keep the sun off your face and neck.

    Bring water with a good sealing lid, as it will probably do a fair bit of rolling around between your legs. A Camelbak just gets in the way of the seat - which can be notoriously uncomfortable. The makers all say they've done this and that to make their seats oh-so-comfortable. They lie.

    Wear crappy old bike gloves to protect against chafing and rubbing or blisters from the paddle.

    Have fun. I can't wait to get out to paddle!
    Last edited by 7rider; 06-14-2012 at 05:14 PM.
    2007 Seven ID8 - Bontrager InForm
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    510
    Wear something on your bottom half that you don't mind getting wet (ungainly falls getting out of kayak quite likely) and maybe a change of bottoms half for afterwards.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    355
    Thank you!! I did not think of all of these things. He did send me to the paddling website and I watched a video about getting in and out of your boat.

    I can swim decently, and will be wearing a pfd. If you live in Maryland and can't swim-for shame! Most people I know from our state were born with gills.

    I am looking forward to the challenge and something new. Appreciate the feedback.
    2013: Riding a Dolce sport compact for fun and a vintage Jetter with cargo rack for commuting

    www.bike-sby.org: A network of concerned cyclists working to make our city more bicycle friendly.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Wear your cycling gloves or pick up a pair of neoprene paddle grips. Paddles will blister your thumbs pretty good if you don't have calluses there.

    If you have a choice of boat you'll be renting, ask the people to talk to you about fit. My boat is too big for me and it just makes it not very much fun, so I don't paddle near as much as DH would like.

    I'm with Irulan on the PFD. We paddle only in very flat shallow water, and I feel okay about my swimming ability, but you just never know. It's why water sports are the most dangerous sports there are. You could hit your head, or sprain a limb, and in the water there's no sitting on the ground for a couple of minutes to collect yourself.

    Have fun!
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    the foggy wetlands,los osos,ca
    Posts
    2,863
    Ok this may sound funny. But don't drink a lot. Then you have to get in and out of the boat. We kayak a lot and that is my biggest problem! Hahah. Just enjoy it. Once you get used to the balance and stuff it is like riding a bike. Oh And sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen! Oh and a camera in a plastic bag.Have fun though I love kayaking out in the ocean here where we live.
    Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
    > Remember to appreciate all the different people in your life!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403
    if you are not in a spray skirt, don't forget to sunscreen your feet!

    We make up what we call a take out bag with a complete change of dry clothes and shoes for when you are off the river. It feels so much better to get dry pants on, a clean shirt, dry underwear and dry shoes.

    I disagree with "don't drink much because it's a pain to get out of the boat to pee". Sure it is, but so is dehydration, over exposure to the sun, and potentially heatstroke. OK, so heat stroke is probably a far reach for an hour or two on the water but ..headaches and dehydration are not. Really, don't drink much water when spending time out in in the sun? It's a nuisance to get off your bike to pee ( and to find a discrete place to do it instead of just jumping into the water) too but I don't ever see the advice on this board to not drink very much when riding a bike...I'm really having trouble with the laissez-faire attitude towards water safety in some of these posts. Water depth is irrelevant IMO, people down in bathtubs. And heat as an excuse to not wear a life vest? I spent three weeks in 117 degree heat on the Grand Canyon, and plenty of it is flatwater, and I work my PFD all day long on the water.
    Last edited by Irulan; 06-15-2012 at 10:13 AM.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,652
    Quote Originally Posted by Irulan View Post
    I think to not wear it, or to only keep it handy is absolutely TERRIBLE advice to give a beginner.
    Where I'm from, the kayaking we did was extremely tame -- flat creeks and rivers with negligible current, and only about 2' deep (had to do lots of portages where it was even shallower). It was also hot as hades, which PFDs made worse. I'd say only about 10% of paddlers we saw wore PFDs -- a bit different from bike helmet use, which appeared to be about 90% in our area. We carried our PFDs under those paddling conditions but didn't wear them. We did wear them on the rare times we took the kayaks to deeper water or faster moving creeks.

    I didn't suggest that she shouldn't wear it as you imply...I said that she should carry one and that she should wear it since she was nervous.

    Maybe I should have said that she MUST wear one. I just don't like to dictate to people what they MUST do.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    Quote Originally Posted by Irulan View Post
    if you are not in a spray skirt, don't forget to sunscreen your feet!
    And if you are wearing shorts - on your thighs. OMG, the burn I got on my top/inner thighs the first time I went kayaking was bad. I hadn't worn sunscreen on my lower body because I thought I'd have a skirt. My legs were FRIED.

    I agree very much with the recommendation to try rocking your boat a bit while still near a dock (or another boat or something you can hold on to). It really helps to get a feel for how tippy it really is. And relax (if possible). Being totally tense makes it harder to control the boat.

    Oh one more thing - if you are renting, make sure the place sets you up correctly in the boat with (here is the key) both foot rests at equal distances. One of the girls on our trip had her foot rests slightly unequal and she had a very hard time controlling the boat. She kept always leaning to one side and turning even when she didn't want to!

    And have a blast!!
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

 

 

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