The Perfect Sport – for The Not-so-Sporty: Kayaking

Posted on July 25th, 2012, by iMinerva


by Anne Neuhaus

I’m not a sporty person.  I have no hand-eye coordination, and I’m not fond of sweating, so most of my sports activities have involved lots of watching…until I discovered kayaking.  And, I am hooked!

Here is what I love about kayaking:

I’m right on the surface of the water – at eye-level with nature. 

*  A kayak is relatively silent so wildlife just assumes I’m one of them and ignores my presence.

*  Recreational kayaks are very shallow so I can kayak right along a beach or riverbank without grounding.

*  When I’m kayaking, I can burn calories if I paddle at a quick pace (it’s a terrific upper body workout), or I can unwind by gliding with a few easy strokes every now and then

I’ve paddled my way to a lot of adventures in a kayak.  One early morning in Hawaii, I kayaked quietly across a beautiful bay and I was joined by a pod of wild spinner dolphins that danced right beside my boat.  This wasn’t a paid dolphihn experience; it was real deal nature that I would have missed if I hadn’t grabbed a paddle and gotten out on the water.

One of America’s fastest growing sports among women, kayaking is an ideal activity for young or old, fit or not.  It’s easy to learn (most get the knack in just a few minutes), requires almost no coordination and not much muscle, and is exhilarating and completely relaxing – all at the same time. 

Have a fear of tipping?  Fear not.  Most recreational kayaks are wide-bodied so it would take quite a bit of wild rocking to actually turn one over.

All you need to get started is a gentle body of water, a life jacket, and a sturdy kayak, which because of their popularity, are available for rent just about everywhere.  Many outfitters offer kayaks designed especially for women – they’re lightweight, highly stable and make it easy to climb in and out.

Summer isn’t over and fall is a glorious season, so gather a few girlfriends and get paddling.  You’re sure to enjoy the beauty brought to you by your kayak.

For more tips on the basics for beginners – equipment, paddling, lessons, clubs, etc. – check out Smart Start Kayaking. It’s a good resource to help you get started.

Anne Neuhaus is a former public relations executive, mother of two and wildly enthusiastic kayaker.  Watch iminerva for more adventures from Anne.


    4 Responses to “The Perfect Sport – for The Not-so-Sporty: Kayaking”

    1. Minnie P. says:

      Great article Anne! This is something that I am going to try!

      • iMinerva says:

        Glad you liked this Minnie. Let us know when you start to kayak. Would love to hear about your adventure.

    2. Debbie Barkowski says:

      Great review of a sport I really want to try. This makes it seem doable for someone like me with no water-sport skills! Any good recommendations for local rivers, lakefronts to kayak in Illinois?

      • iMinerva says:

        Thanks for the comment Debbie. Will check with Anne for her favorite spots. There are lots of kayaks on the Chicago river in the city. Check out Windy City Kayaks for their tours to watch the fireworks at NavyPier. What part of Illinois is convenient for you?

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