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7 kayaking tips for beginners

“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere”


That’s a perfect quote for us kayakers. Kayaking takes you to places where someone else cannot no matter how adventurous you are. In this blog, I will touch upon 7 kayaking tips for beginners who would want to enter the world of unknown! The excitement of unplanned and the thrill of being different!

1. Please do not get in to water alone!

Beginners kayaking
It is fun with a friend!

This is the most important kayaking tip out of all the seven tips for beginners!!!

Before you are fully trained on self-recovery techniques, reading water (more towards this on next blog), reading the wind patterns and an able swimmer (just to make sure you can make it to a shore in an emergency) none of these is required during a guided trip as the guides will look after you and instruct you for the help needed.

Without the proper training, you’ll not know what to do in an emergency risking your safety.

So learn learn learn! How to kayak properly

Kayaking just as your iPhone is updating and become a whole lot different from a few years back when it comes to paddling techniques. There is only handful of certified from BCA (British Canoeing Association)  in Sri Lanka I’d like to invite you to try out one-day training program at our boathouse where I’ll teach you everything the right way! 

You could also use the internet and YouTube as resources and be mindful to search for new tutorials as old ones may be having outdated training information. But this is at your own risk!

2. Always paddle with the right kayaking technique

So when you are a beginner it is important to pay attention to your kayaking technique. Because without the proper paddling technique, you’ll risk having muscle pains and sprains so it’s important you get the first steps right. 

Kayaking is done by using your body and especially the torso area and “NOT YOUR ARMS” by using your arms to paddle you’ll get tired quickly and you won’t be able to drink your favourite cup of coffee next morning due to stiffness of muscles so I urge you to get it right in the beginning to make it more enjoyable. 

3. Make sure that you have the proper equipment

Protect your head, wear a helmet!

Beginners tend to take things they don’t want and leave out things that they want. This tip in kayaking tips for beginners will help anyone to create a good list to pack.

  1. A kayak that suits your need
  2. Personal flotation device (a life jacket) tested according to your weight 
  3. A first-aid pack 
  4. Knife (strong pen knife would do)
  5. A torch/Headlamp
  6. Heat preserving blanket (in case you are stuck and the cold will get you)
  7. A helmet (only for whitewater kayaking)
  8. Floating ropes (throw bags) 
  9. Water (important) 
  10. Hats, sunglasses with straps, long sleeve wear   to conceal entire body with light and quick dry material so you don’t get sunburns 
  11. A mobile phone (in a waterproof container) 
  12. Energy bars/ Glucose
  13. A repair kit (Duct tape, Quick dry gum, nylon ropes, Flint or a lighter)

The list will go on but this will come in handy and should be the basics that you carry with you.  

4. When you are kayaking wear bright and luminous colors!

Beginners always tend to care more about how the Instagram photo would look like. Thus, tend to wear camouflage patterns like people in forces. However, this creates a big risk. That is why I included this tip in kayaking tips for beginners.

The reason for this is in an emergency, it is easy to spot you. Suppose you are stuck somewhere it’s easy to spot from above or in the night. I also would like to recommend you choose colours like Yellow, Orange colours than camouflaged and dark kayaks. This will improve your visibility from a distance. 

5. Never Kayak without a plan! 

It’s important that you never go without a plan! Always keep few of your friends informed and make sure that they have their mobile phone switched on! Give him a detailed route of your tour. Have your emergency rescue numbers from navy to police and ambulance services. That way you know up have a helping hand! 

Make sure that you are free from alcoholic beverages at least a full 24hours and never consume alcohol during your trip! That way you could be rest assured that you have the ability to make the right decision! 

6. Check the weather, do not go kayaking in rain or while thundering!

In the vast waterbed you will be the tallest thing and the chances are high that a lightning bolt will be easy to find you. If you are paddling through rain due to desperate reasons, start paddling closer to the riverbank. That way there will be trees above you and the gods will not notice you. 

7. Be a part of a kayaking community

There’s a saying “same birds flock together” and that is same for every hobbyist and that way you could meet people with same interests, passion and most importantly experience.

kayaking community for beginners
This was taken by one of the attendees who participated in our flatwater kayaking session. Find your tribe with US! and make new friends.

Since kayaking is a relatively new adventure to Sri Lanka, it’s important we unite together. That way we could pool our resources, help, share knowledge and even host meetups like those 4×4 or mini enthusiasts. So I would really love to reach out for enthusiastic paddlers to learn from each other and help some issues we face every day.

So don’t hesitate to stop by a guy who’s hauling his kayak in a truck or with some pics of kayaking in his social media platform those are the guys who’d help you to start kayaking! And most of them will be awesome lads with passion and enthusiasm and you’ll never go empty-handed.

So I hope I’ve been able to prepare you with some tips to keep you spiced up and motivated to try out kayaking and enjoy beautiful Sri Lanka in a totally different way! Until next time this is Sam signing off!

Leave a comment, ask me a question. I will answer you. I want to help you get into the world of kayaking!

Happy paddling!


  • Madura De Silva
    Posted September 22, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Very informative 👌, with limited time I had learned a lot as a beginner, like to join your community as a beginner,

  • Florida Splendors
    Posted May 16, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    When kayaking, safety is always important. More than planning, kayak beginners should also always try to research their destination prior. It’s best to research about the destination to help you prepare ahead on what you’ll expect once you’re there

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