{29/04/2012}   Sea kayaking part two – the reality

Kayaking is fun, tiring and my new hobby! Outfit-wise, by the time I was encased in a life vest and spray deck (skirt thing!) it wouldn’t have mattered how stylish (or otherwise in my case) I was. Exercise-wise, previously unknown muscles are making their presence felt.

As the sea was choppy, my first kayaking experience was on a canal, which was perfect. It didn’t rain for the c1.5 hours we were out, it was just my friend and I with two instructors and for that we paid £20 each. Our kayaks were heavy duty plastic, each one weighing 27kg. We shared carrying both at the same time, which was the most strength-demanding thing we did. In total we probably carried them 150-200m, so a fair way. I didn’t disgrace getting into the kayak, to my immense surprise, in fact by my standards my transition from land to water was quite smooth!

Then the four of us paddled, not in the desired straight line, along the beautiful Napoleonic canal. It was delightfully idyllic and I felt a bit Jerome K Jerome, though “One woman in a kayak” rather than the three men in a boat!

My waterproof trousers saved me a lot of leg splash and, unusually, minus the hoodie, I had on the right clothes for warmth levels.

The kayaking itself was both relaxing yet satisfyingly challenging. I am definitely more weedy with my left arm and I didn’t paddle with the smooth left-right action of the instructors. I was more left-right-left-left-left-right-paddle in water to brake and start from straight. Though I did have a very satisfying few burst of straight line speeding along.

As for the 360 degree turns, it took me an absurdly long time to grasp which direction to lean and when to paddle which way. But on finding myself at the end of a complete circle without having encountered canal bank or rushes was quite an achievement.

There is more to be aware of and moves to learn than I probably expected. I like the idea of getting to grips with them and I would very much like to be a proficient kayaker, and in particular to go on kayaking holidays. However, I have yet to capsize and this worries me slightly. Hopefully, that will first occur in a nice warm, clean swimming pool!

As a form of exercise, my arms and inner thighs are feeling it most today. My thumb/forefinger area, ie where the paddle pressure is exerted, is a little tender and my waist and shoulders have a mild exercised feeling. My legs were all aquiver when I got out of the kayak, but that soon abated!

All in all, it was fantastic to be outdoors, exercising, admiring the scenery, being on water and not being aware of time or usual stresses. I really, really enjoyed it and I feel very smug and satisfied by the kind of aches I have this morning. I had expected to write today about incidents and capsizing, but no. Maybe they will come! Having a flask of tea and some caramel waffles on the beach afterwards was a genius reward, despite the fact we were both cold by then! I wonder if we’ll be on the sea next week, surely it won’t be possible to be incident free again?!


It was a lot more of a workout than it looks, I was tireder and more achey than I am after 6 sets of match-level tennis. I suspect that when let loose on the sea, I’ll be upside down (forgetting to bang three times on my kayak) within seconds! Also I warn you I may be even more excitable and gabbly afterwards if we go seaward.

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