ACK Web Developer Jeremy Arntz is one of the company’s most frequent paddlers who is typically found on the water at Austin’s Lake Travis once or twice a week. In this article, he shares the top 5 kayaking lessons he has learned this year. See what he has to say:
I’ve been kayaking on and off for seven or eight years now and I am on track to paddle more this year than all the previous ones combined. Every time I paddle I feel like I learn a LOT of new things and there are a few big hitters I would like to share with you.
Top 5 Kayaking Lessons
1. Take Care Of Your Gear And It Will Take Care Of You
This old adage isn’t just for professionals and explorers but holds especially true for us weekend warriors. Take the time to clean and organize your gear after each trip. It’s the perfect opportunity to look everything over. It’s better to find an issue on land and be able to fix it before it puts a damper on precious on-the-water time. Plus, if your gear is organized and in its place, it makes getting on the water a much smoother process.
2. Cool Down By Covering Up
While it may seem counter intuitive to cool off by covering up more skin, all you have to do is take a look at how people dress in extremely hot countries. This year I’ve been wearing a wide brimmed hat, an SPF 40+ wicking long sleeve t-shirt, Buff headwear to cover my nose, lower face, neck and ears, and SPF gloves to protect the backs of my hands. I’ve been out in temperatures of 100+ and I’ve yet to feel overheated and I’ve also avoided having any bad sunburns. Covering up with the proper apparel also has the added benefit of protecting your skin from those harmful UV rays.
3. There’s No Substitute For Experience
You can lift weights to build your muscles, do yoga to improve your flexibility and balance, read or watch videos about paddling, but there’s no substitute for experience. As a paddler, you learn where your limits are and what gears works the best by spending time on the water. Knowing exactly how things feel to your touch and knowing how your boat, paddle and gear will react in different situations is essential to making the best decisions while out on the water.
4. Remove The Barriers
Figure out whatever it is that holds you back from paddling and work to remove those barriers. For me, it’s the effort it takes just to get to the boat ramp. If you check my car right now, I guarantee the trunk is filled with paddling gear and the cooler in the back seat is filled with ice and sports drinks. I’ve also started paddling on Friday nights and leaving the kayaks on the car all weekend so I can just get dressed, tighten the straps and take off.
5. Be Flexible
As Robert Burns once wrote, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. You may head to the water with the idea of a nice leisurely paddle only to have a strong headwind in the direction you want to paddle. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I encourage you, as long as it’s safe, to be flexible and give it a try. Some of my best days on the water have come in conditions that, if I had known about in advance, I honestly would have just stayed home. Of course it’s important to know your limits and to know when it’s best to stay on shore.