Kayaking on the Hudson

Monday, February 28, 2011

5 Reasons to take a kayak lesson

Practicing a bow rescue during kayak class
When I am presenting my “Get Started Kayaking” program at libraries, colleges, or wherever else I end up, the audience is usually a bit surprised when I tell them how to get started kayaking.  I’m not talking about how to choose your equipment; I’m talking about how to actually get out on the water.  I tell everyone that a great way to get started is to take a lesson or a tour from a reputable outfitter.
A kayak lesson is just what it sounds like; you paddle around and your instructor teaches you how to kayak.  When I first stated kayaking, I took a very comprehensive lesson (it went from 8am to 4pm).  I learned more in one day than I had learned in two years of paddling on my own.
If you’re not sure about kayaking, then a tour is even better.  With a tour you do get some very basic instruction, but instead of paddling around in circles, you get to actually go somewhere.  This is what kayaking is all about.
So why am I so big on tours and lessons?  Here’s why:

  1. You don’t need your own equipment – the outfitter provides the kayak, the paddle & the pfd.
  2. You know the equipment is good and everything fits, because an expert set you up with it.
  3. You learn from an expert.
  4. You get to test out equipment without buying it.
  5. You don’t have to worry because the outfitter has done all of the planning and will keep you safe.
A basic tour ranges from $40 to $120 depending on the location, the length of the tour, etc.  Lessons usually run $60-$200.  So it’s a great way to get a taste of kayaking, but after a couple of trips, you may want to invest in your own equipment.
See you on the water,
Don Urmston

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