3 Tips for First Time Paddlers No ratings yet.


I love taking friends out for their first time on the water. They’re usually overly nervous and it’s common for them to say things like “I just hope I don’t flip!” or “Don’t laugh at how bad my paddling form is!”. However once they finally get on the water, it never takes long for them to realize how easy and simplistic of a sport it can be.

If you’re getting ready to head out on your first paddling outing, be it in a canoe, kayak or SUP, keep these 3 tips for first time paddlers in mind.


1. Bring Stuff That Can Get Wet

The most common mistake beginner paddlers make is to show up in their tennis shoes, jeans and a t-shirt. You don’t need to plan on getting soaked but you’ll certainly get a little wet. Replace the tennis shoes with water shoes, flip flops or sandals and anything cotton with quick drying fabrics. These types of paddling apparel will also come in handy if you feel like taking a dip – which is something I do regularly when I go kayaking!

Don’t stop at your clothing though. Leave electronics like your cell phone in the car unless you have a dry case and really think about whether you really need to bring your wallet and keys. If you’re visiting a  rental place, they will most likely let you leave small items at the desk or at least attach something that floats to them like a key buoy.

2. Sunscreen Up

This is one lesson you don’t want to learn the hard way. Put sunscreen on before you hit the water and bring the tube with you if you’re planning on staying out for more than four hours. I’ve gotten to the point where several bottles of Kiss My Face live in my car.

3. Have Fun!

Paddling is about enjoying nature and relaxing. Sure, it can be about fishing, battling whitewater, exploring the sea, racing, exercise, wildlife viewing or something completely different, but on your first outing don’t worry about all that stuff. Worry about paddling and having fun. You won’t regret it!

If paddling does become something you do on a regular basis and you are interested in buying your own gear or even kayak, specialty retailers like ACK.com will be there waiting. Until then, happy paddling!

About the Author:

Joseph is an avid kayaker based out of the central Texas area. He has paddled many of central Texas’ waterways and has attended and/or participated in many kayak fishing tournaments, races and paddling festivals. He’s currently employed at Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK) and loves that he gets to spend time working with his favorite toys.

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