Mountain kayaking – where to start practicing this extreme sport?
Have a hankering to kayak down a rushing mountain river, but don’t know where to start preparing? We suggest, what you should remember while planning whitewater!
Why let yourself be carried away in the current of a crazy adventure?
One thing should be noted at the outset – the adventure associated with mountain kayaking is not for everyone. If you’re a very fearful person by nature, sniffing out danger at every step, it’s better to look for another form of entertainment. Rafting on the mountain river is undoubtedly an extreme dose of impressions! Amazing views are combined with a challenge to kayaking skills and a test of endurance.
In the minds of many people the question may arise: is it worth to risk? Of course it’s worth it! In no other sport you will find so many sensations. Adrenaline during rafting jumps very high! You can choose one of two forms of this sport. The competitive version involves raising the bar higher and higher. However, if you don’t like a bit of competition, you will surely love white-water kayaking as a tourist.
How to start learning how to control a kayak?
You can begin your first steps in white-water kayaking regardless of whether or not you’ve had some previous kayaking experience on calmer rivers. Of course, people who have already held a paddle in their hand will have an easier start. You can throw yourself in at the deep end, rent a kayak with all the necessary equipment, and head out on a mountain rafting trip. However, this is the shortest way to tragedy. Remember – a mountain river is very dangerous. Just a moment of inattention and disaster is ready.
For the sake of your own safety, start learning from the absolute basics, preferably on one of the courses which are organised especially for beginners. Training under the supervision of experienced instructors gives you a chance to gain skills allowing you to have fun on demanding mountain trails in a shorter time. However, remember that even when you feel confident in the kayak, do not go on trips alone. It is very easy to capsize, you never know when you will need the help of another person.
Is it worth investing in your own equipment?
Mountain kayaking, like other somewhat extreme sports, is a big challenge for the household budget. The kayak itself (depending on the model) is an expense of about two thousand to even six thousand zlotys, and you have to think about the paddle, helmet and clothing. There is no universal answer to the question of whether it is worth investing in your own equipment for mountain kayaking. A lot in this matter depends on how much place in your heart this sport will take. If it’s meant to be a pastime and a way to relieve stress that you’ll reach for occasionally, it may be more cost-effective to rent a kayak.
There is another, intermediate solution between buying new (usually expensive) mountain kayaking equipment and renting it. If you like to have the equipment on your own, you don’t want to worry every time about whether you’ll be able to rent a kayak at a convenient time, and at the same time you don’t have enough money to buy new equipment, you can invest in a used kayak. However, check its condition carefully before finalizing the deal. Not familiar with it? Ask for help from someone more experienced.
For many people, especially those who live quite a distance from the nearest place where you can organize a kayak race or train (in some cities, e.g. in Cracow there is a professional kayak track for mountain rafting) the issue of transporting the kayak can be a significant problem. Although it’s shorter than a typical tourist’s one, the chance that it will fit into a car trunk is rather close to zero.
Mountain kayaking is a fun activity. Beautiful views and adrenaline surges are just a small part of the benefits that await you. Remember, however, that safety should always come first. This way you will always arrive safely at your destination.