Adventures in Kayaking

Learning to Kayak

I am covered in salt dust. That fine white powder that covers your clothes and visible skin after any length of time spent in salt water. The salt left behind once the water evaporates and you are dry. I’m ridiculously proud of that dust. The last visible evidence of how I spent my day. Proof that I did something. Its a pleasant warm feeling. Fatigue and warmth from a sunburn mixed with the deep hunger that only comes from physical activity.

I have been kayaking several times before and really enjoyed it, but I have never bothered to get actual training on the proper way to manage a Kayak. I just jumped in, waved the paddle a bit in the water and off I went. Its a testament to the ease of Kayaking that even my haphazard attempts were successful. But this summer I would like to take a few serious kayaking/camping trips this summer. Paddle out to an island and camp for the weekend. Or make my way down the coast towards Mexico. To make sure I could really enjoy those excursions I decided that I needed to be properly prepared and take things a little more seriously.

Learning to Kayak

Learning to Kayak in Newport Harbor

Today’s salt dust event was with a class offered from my local REI. The first hour of the class took place on land, learning the correct form for paddling, the different types of kayaks and their uses, and some basic safety guidance. Our instructors were really wonderful (I’ve never had a bad experience with REI!), they were patient and knowledgeable and clearly loved to kayak. That kind of enthusiasm always comes through and is infections. They also shared with us a new way to make a Moscow Mule that will likely change my life forever.

After the land portion we got straight into the water. It was a gorgeous So Cal day in Newport. I find very few things as satisfying as spending time in the water. The stunning houses and diversity of boats along Newport Harbor provided an interesting background to explore. The nearby Back Bay Reserve allowed us to see a variety of birds, sea life, and one very fat Sea Lion all from the comfort of our Kayaks.

Learning to Kayak

Kayaks resting after a long day.

Kayaking is an inexpensive way to access many of the waterways available to us. Most recreational water spots will have kayak rentals, including places outside the US, and the only gear that you will need is a paddle and a life vest (usually included in the rental). Oceans, rivers, and lakes can all be explored in these little boats. And with the proper form and technique its very manageable even for the less-than-athletic. And its the best kind of exercise. The kind that doesn’t actually feel like exercise.

If you haven’t caught on yet, what I am really trying to tell you is, get out and go Kayaking! Send me pictures of the salt dust on your arms as proof that you went out and did something. 🙂

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