Hi all,

Interested in giving kayaking a go. Is it nails and requires attendance on one of the BCU courses, or is it common sense and crack on as long as you arent fussed about being really good? I'd like to avoid drowning...

Preferably low sea state coastal stuff, harbours etc. Any top tips on good kit?

detonator, despite not being fond of being immersed in major bodies of water, particularly cold water, i do love to kayak. i started out by taking a two-hour group course which taught the basics and i went on from there. as for kits, it might be worth it to determine your style, location, budget, etc, whether you prefer surfing, ocean-kayaking, or easy leisurely types prior to investing on your own. i'd suggest you rent and try out different kits, at least on your first couple of times. i prefer harbour and surf kayaking and usually kayak on warmer days, so a sit-on top is good enough for me. they're also less pricey than ocean kayaks. you'll find that paddles are also a bit on the pricey side. you can easily do research on kits online. i thought i wanted a basic sit-on top designed for a girl (lighter, shorter and wider), but having tried a regular kayak, with a more defined v shaped hull, longer, although slightly heavier, all better for cutting through water, i find that i prefer this more. having said that, i haven't actually bought a kit, a plus, since i tend to relocate.

i'd recommend you take a starter course at least. you'll learn how to get back on if you fall into the water. you'll get progressively better in no time and if you wish to take it further, then take an advanced course. they'll teach you more advanced tricks like roll-overs. they do have dvds and books available for your leisure. if you'd like to do white water, i'd suggest you take a course.

as for drowning, safety first, so it's handy to keep an inflatable vest with you. paddles also float. i prefer to kayak with someone, it's always more fun to race against somebody. it's always a bonus to learn basic waterways navigation, particularly if you'll paddle on a busy harbour with jet-skiers, yachtsmen, commercial shippers and other boaters nearby. and no i've never fallen off. give it a go. it's so much fun and such a good workout on a nice day out. good luck.
Detonator, if you are in the military, then get yourself to your nearest Admin wallah and browse through this years Joint Service Adventurous Training DIN.

You can get courses in all levels of kayaking and canoeing (there is a slightly but important difference) from the Foundation courses, all the way through to Exped Leader. All these mil courses have a civilian equivalent.

There is no need to buy equipment, as the traing centres have it all, and you can basically try-before-you-buy.

The Centres themselves are fairly geographically spread. All my courses have been done at either the JSAT HQ at Indefatigable (Anglesey) or Ballachulish (at the bottom of Glencoe). There are courses run in Germany and Cyprus too if you aren't in the UK.

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