Kayaking - Fitness, Adventure | Peace, Quiet

Courtesy Chris Funk Kayaking - Fitness and Adventure Kayaking - Fitness and Adventure

Whether on quiet backwaters, lakes, or slow moving rivers, kayaking is a great way to get fit and find peace of mind.

Leave Your Troubles on the Bank

Whether you paddle a quiet backwater, lake or slow moving river, a kayak is a wonderful tool for fitness and peace of mind. All the troubles of the week and noise can be left on the bank as you paddle away.

Kayaking is a wonderful way to explore nearby waterways or add adventure to a trip. Kayaks allow a quiet intrusion into nature that will let you see things that could never be seen from a noisy powerboat. Either paddling solo or with friends and family, being in one of these small plastic boats is a great way to spend time and the exercise is just a bonus.

Gear You'll Need

The main gear to prepare for your adventure will be: 1. A personal floatation device (PFD), 2. a paddle, and of course, 3. some type of kayak.

PFD - The PFD should fit comfortably and be rated for the size of the paddler. PFD’s are made in many styles and there are several on the market designed specifically for youth or ladies.

Paddles - Paddles are not created equal, this is the human/water interface tool and a good paddle will make for a much better experience.

Kayak - Sizes and styles of kayaks are widely varied and each has its strong points.

Standup Paddleboard
Standup Paddleboard

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Kayak Styles

There are 3 basic types of kayaks to consider.

A “SINK” or sit inside kayak is an open cockpit design that the paddler sits down inside. This design is great for paddlers that are apprehensive about the water. Being inside the cockpit adds a secure feeling and a bit of stability due to a lower center of gravity. SINK Kayaks will also protect from the elements on cooler days and keep the paddler a bit drier. 

A “SOT” or sit on top kayak allows the paddler to sit on top of the kayak. This style of kayak is a bit easier to get on and off of for beginners. The SOT is self bailing, meaning there are drains that run through the deck called scupper holes that will allow water to drain out of the kayak. This style is popular at beaches and river runs where waves can be expected.

A ”SUP” or stand up paddleboard is a large version of a surfboard and is usually paddled standing up. A long handled paddle with a single blade is used to propel a SUP unlike the double bladed paddle used in a conventional kayak. The SUP is a unique experience on the water and is really gaining in popularity.

Where to Learn, Where to Buy

Many areas have local shops that will either outfit you with your own supplies, or rent gear that you can try on your own. This is a great way to try different styles of kayaks and get basic instruction on safety and paddling techniques. My local shop will charge a small “demo” fee but will take off up to three demo fees from your purchase if you end up buying a kayak from them. They also sell their demo fleet every year for vastly discounted prices and that is an outstanding way to get into the sport without sinking a ton of money into it.

Chris Funk

Chris Funk is an avid outdoorsman and rabid photographer. He tells folks his life revolves around 6 "F"s, his Faith,Family,Fur,Fins,Feathers and Fotography. He paddles all over the Southeast with his bride Angie and son Ethan. He and his son are on the Jackson Kayak Fishing Team and the whole family helps with an awesome group called Paddle4Tomorrow that gets people with special needs out for a day of paddling. He is a published writer and photographer and loves sharing his passion for the outdoors with others.

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