Kayaking is a popular way to enjoy the outdoors, but it also can be dangerous if you don’t wear a helmet. If you add speed and maneuvering difficult obstacles (rivers, rapids), even the most basic kayak skills may become dangerous for your health. That can especially happen if you’re not wearing your helmet at the time!
There’s no denying that helmets are mandatory when kayaking or rafting, so there’s no point in putting yourself in danger for this sport. While helmets are not compulsory, they can be your lifesaver.
The following are some of the reasons why you should always wear a helmet when kayaking:
Helmets protect your head from injury.
You may land on your head and get injuries, like bruises or cuts, which can be painful. Helmets are designed to withstand such falls, and in the case of submersion, they protect you from sinking. Adults have head sizes ranging from seven to nine inches in diameter, which is quite small for a helmet to fit, especially large-sized ones. Small children usually size helmets according to their age. The result is small helmets with smaller head sizes that don’t protect them as much as they could have.
Helmets keep unwanted objects away from your face when you fall into the water.
The head injuries mentioned above can also be dangerous if they involve foreign objects like gravel or small rocks that may have broken off the river – bed. A helmet will deflect or absorb the impact and prevent these objects from entering your face or mouth when you fall into the water.
Helmets are Better than caps for protecting your head.
Caps lack padding and don’t provide much protection when they land on sharp edges and stones. They will also fly away from your head when you fall, letting the water or debris enter your face. Caps are also not designed to protect your noggin in a case of submersion like a helmet is.
Helmets prevent panic attacks.
Suppose you have had a terrible kayaking experience where you got injured or fell into serious trouble. In that case, it’s easy to get heart palpitations and be flooded with negative thoughts like “I’m gonna die!” when the next kayaking trip comes around.
Inspect the headwear you want before you buy it. Ask yourself if it’s compatible with being put into a kayak. Look at the length (longer is better) and the helmet’s shape to see if it will fit in your kayak. If a helmet is too long, it won’t fit in your kayak, and you may not be able to get it on your head after inflating the air chambers in your kayak vest (which could cause injury to yourself).
Type of Paddling Helmets You Should Know
There are different types of kayaking helmets to suit your needs. Below is a list of them:
Non-Inflatable Kayaking Helmets.
These helmets are usually made from foam and are hard like plastic. They have built-in air chambers that you inflate with a pump. This kind of helmet has two chambers, which protect your head, neck, and face from bumps and bruises in case of a fall.
Inflatable Kayaking Helmets.
Inflatable kayaking helmets come in several sizes; therefore, they’re suitable for all types of heads, regardless of age or size. They come with one or two air chambers. If you’re planning to do kayaking for fun, this type of helmet is for you. If your main goal is racing, go for the hardshell kayak helmets.
Escape/Throwaway Kayaking Helmets.
These helmets have a unique design, which allows you to pull an elastic chord to remove them from your head quickly, like throwaway life vests. These helmets fit in the kayak vest compartment.
Singleshot Kayaking Helmets.
It’s a type of inflatable kayaking helmet with a one-piece plastic shell. That prevents your head from going up and down when you’re like to fall into the water. That can result in bruise injuries. It’s designed for more – giant heads as a means of protection. In Kayaks, not everyone wears a helmet. Many experienced kayakers use helmets as protection against bumps and bruises. The sport of kayaking can be hazardous without a helmet. Wearing a helmet is an essential part of the sport since otherwise, most of us would have serious head injuries.
What sort of equipment is needed to take kayaking for the first time?
Helmets are important when kayaking because they protect your head from unexpected injury. When you get yours, make sure it fits! You want it to be snug but not too tight (it will press on your face). Ensure it is a complete helmet (comes with a chin strap) and has comfortable padding inside.
There are other pieces of things you need for kayaking. These include:
The tow rope is used to attach your kayak to the car. You are not allowed to move your boat without it.
Safety pins and lace
You can use safety pins and lace to attach the tow rope through your kayak so that you are not being pulled along with the current. But if you have a kayak with seatbelts, it will be better for you to use a paddle float or ring buoy instead of these safety pins and lace.
Kayak seat (or paddle float)
It is used for sitting in the kayak when you’re ready to go. It comes with a backrest for you to sit in your kayak comfortably.
Paddle float or ring buoy (optional)
It is used with safety pins and lace for supporting your kayak if it gets dragged away by the current. It is inserted into a kayak’s vessel loop for support.
Life jacket (optional)
It is used when you’re out in the water, so you are kept afloat and safe from drowning if something bad happens to you. When using it, make sure that it covers your armpits and your groin area. Also, ensure that the straps are fitted tightly on your chest and waist.
These are some of the essential kayaking gears for beginners. If you are not sure if you have all equipment needed for kayaking, it is better to go with someone who has been kayaking before.
Laws regarding using personal flotation devices (life jackets) differ depending on where you are about to kayak, so you must check with your state agencies regarding what sort of safety measures must be taken when going out on the water.
The Kind of Kayak that Beginners Need
Kayaking is an activity that requires a lot of training and skill. A beginner should use a sit-on-top kayak since it is easy to ride on and learn. A sit-on-top kayak is a good choice if one wants to learn how to ride and control a kayak. The sit-on-top model has seating designed to fit directly on top of the water; the person does not need footrest pedals or legs on the sides of the cockpit. This type of kayak has other benefits, such as:
* They are stable to paddle because the paddler sits on a nicely padded seat.
* The sit-on-top boats are easier to steer.
* You can use them in any water, be it a river, lake, or ocean.
Sit-on-top kayaks have various widths with different body shapes and sizes. They come in many sizes because there is no right or wrong choice; they all work well. A beginner should get a wide enough kayak to fit over the hips because it will provide stability.
Other Types of Kayak
Besides the sit-on-top kayak discussed earlier, there are other types of kayaks that beginners can use. These are:
These are perfect for fishing because they have a shallow cockpit, and they are very stable. If you are an avid angler, you should be using a fishing kayak since it is the best type of kayak to practice your skills.
These are also known as recreational kayaks. They are lightweight and easy to paddle. These are the best for beginners who don’t want to spend a lot of money acquiring a kayak.
They are folding kayaks because the bottom part of the boat can be folded up, making it easier to put in a car or carry on your shoulders. A folding kayak makes it easy for you to carry it with you because it is lightweight and portable. It is the best kayak for traveling or paddling in fast-flowing rivers. They are also good for fishing and going down whitewater rapids.
These kayaks are heavier, and they are not easy to carry around. They can be found in places with peaceful flat water. These kayaks can fit one person comfortably. A newbie kayaker can use this type of kayak for fishing and white water rapids.
Sit-on-top kayaks are more popular than the others because the seats are easy to adjust. The seats can be adjusted using a cockpit cover or a fiberglass seat, plus they are also good for fishing since they have shallow cockpits.
When choosing a kayak, you should go for one with a comfortable seat because you will probably spend a lot of time sitting in it. Some kayaks lack seats, but these are usually only used in competitions or by experienced kayakers.
Some Useful Tips And Guidelines for Newbie Kayakers
Kayaking is a great way to relax and have fun. You can go kayaking on a river or go out in the ocean. If you are not an expert, you should not go out in rough waters. To make sure your trip is safe, you should keep these items and guidelines in mind:
* Always wear your life jacket with all-weather clothing while kayaking.
* Know the area you’re going to kayak before setting off (like when it’s best to go).
* Always wear a helmet and make sure it fits well.
* Do not go out in a bad weather condition.
* Check weather forecasts before going outside.
* Do not paddle the kayak if the water is too rough or too choppy.
* If you have any problems with your boat, stop paddling and call for help from a person who knows how to fix kayaks.
* Never drink too much alcohol before or while kayaking.
* If you have any medical problems, consult with your doctor before you go out kayaking.
* Always bring a whistle with you. You can use it in case of emergencies.
* Check the condition of your kayak before each use,
* Bring your cell phone with you to call for help if needed.
* Ensure all your device is working well (paddles, life jacket, boat, water shoes).
*If possible you can use kayaking gloves or cycling gloves to protect your hand on paddling and some other circumstances.
* When you are going out to the sea, make sure that there are other boats in the distance or a lifeguard on duty.
Kayaking is a fun and exciting activity. It is not only for those looking to strengthen the legs or upper body muscles. It can be done even by very young people, from students to the elderly. It is an excellent way for farmers to use it for work and hobbies. You should never feel ashamed that you want to learn all there is about kayaking; it’s just something that you will enjoy greatly!