My First Kayaking Experience

On Saturday, April 30, 2022, I took a learn to kayak class by REI at Clopper Lake, Seneca Creek State Park, Gaithersburg, Maryland. It was my first-time experiencing kayaking, and I would recommend anyone who wants to get an introduction to kayaking to join one of the REI classes. They did a pretty good job introducing us to kayaking from a recreational point of view. Most of us had passed the age to take up a new activity from a sporting point of view and were only interested in weekend recreational activity. I have decided 2022 to commit to improving my water skills, starting with swimming and later delving into other water sports. And I figured out kayaking on calm lake water is probably the easiest way into water sports. In the future, I want to try white water kayaking and stand-up paddling as well.

The training was from 9 am to 1 pm. We spent approx one-hour lecturing/discussing and then almost all the remaining time on the water. REI provided us with professional-grade high-performance kayaks; I later checked that they were around $2,000 each. They also provided us with personal floatation devices (PFD; life jackets). The kayaks were narrow and long and, hence, very fast, but also a bit shaky (not the recreational types). One poor soul fell twice in the water while he was not even paddling. I think he gave up and went to shore after the second dip.

We learned to move forward, reverse, turn by both forward and reverse draws, and move sideways. The most interesting and challenging was to spin in the exact location by alternating forward and reverse draws. We also figured out that it's hard to move in a straight line, which is affected by multiple factors. How much course correction needs to be applied is also a skill, as too much effort in course correction may lead to a zigzag movement that most newbies struggle with.

I enjoyed the whole time we were on the water. It was calm and close to nature. The weather turned out to be excellent - a cool breeze with warm sun. I did not feel tired during or after the class. However, once I was home, I felt exhausted due to facing the direct sun the whole day, which I am not used to. I was regularly drinking, but it seemed I was a bit dehydrated. It actually took Saturday night and Sunday for me to recover from the exhaustion. I guess I need to work on my stamina and general strength training if I want to take up outdoor activities more seriously. However, at the end of the day, it was fun, and I hope that I will get to do it more often. I am now looking for local clubs or kayak renting places that I can join. If you have any recommendations, then please send them my way. Thanks!

Some photos from the day.

Day 2 of #100DaysToOffload

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