I remember the camping trips I used to go on when I was in school. We would start by setting up our tent and enjoy the scenery. Usually, by the next day, the activities would get started. Kayaking was one of the popular activities and still is until this day. In fact, now I live by a lake and still kayak regularly.
Now there is an alternative to the standard paddle kayaks we all grew up on. These days, pedal kayaks are the new wave! No need to exhaust yourself paddling in your kayak. Pedal Kayaks are the next big deal!
By knowing a few simple things about kayaks anyone can and will be able to enjoy nature from a different perspective. In this article, we’ll help you get acquainted with pedal kayaks to enjoy your journey.
Before we can answer how easy it is to get started pedal kayaking, first, we'll need to describe what precisely a pedal kayak is and why this matters to you!
Types of Pedal Kayaks
Pedal kayaks were first introduced in 1987. They were a massive upgrade to those who like to go fishing, because now they can freely use their hands while fishing, unlike with paddle kayaks.
There are three types of pedals: propel (Native), mirage, and perceptive. We go into much more detail on these types of pedal kayaks in our pedal kayak buying guide.
The propel pedal drive is rotational, because well, it uses a propeller. It was the first pedal kayak introduced to the market
The second type is the mirage pedal drive that was released in 2008. It looks more like a fin, so it’s easier to go backward and from side to side. Hobie pedal kayaks are famous for their mirage drive.
The third type is the perceptive pedal, which offers ‘pilot drive’ that has the ability to be lifted and not be easily dragged in shallow water. It’s also a lot quieter than the other two. This makes it the best option when it comes to fishing.
Make sure to check the kayak’s stability, speed, capacity, and performance before purchasing to help in deciding on which kayak best fits your needs.
While keeping in mind that the longer the boat, the faster it will be. The shorter the boat, the more maneuverable it is, and the wider the kayak, the more stable it is. Your goal is to find a balance between the 3 somehow.
Advantages of Pedal Kayaks
You can use a pedal kayak for a bunch of fun activities like fishing, racing, exercise or simply as a way to enjoy nature.
One of the best things we all agree on is the hands-free option. This is an advantage to those who go fishing, it makes it easier for them to focus on holding their rod rather than paddling their way and changing between the paddles and the rod.
Another advantage is speed, unlike the paddle kayaks that relied on your upper body strength, this one depends on your lower body, which is significantly stronger. As a result, pedal kayaks are substantially faster than regular kayaks.
Disadvantages of Pedal Kayaks
Due to having a motor and/or mechanisms to power the boat, there isn’t much space for storage in a pedal kayak. This can upset those who want to go on fishing trips, since they won’t be able to store all their findings.
While kayaking, you need to be sure of the underwater clearance to avoid colliding into something that may cause harm or worse -make the kayak flip.
It’s best if you ask around about the clearance of the water before going out.
Unlike the paddle kayaks, pedal kayaks have machinery attached to them, which causes a motorbike-like noise. To be fair, it’s not as loud.
The biggest disadvantage to these kayaks though is their price. They tend to be expensive because of the technicalities included in them. But it goes without denying that it would be a great investment. Exploring nature in a kayak is a priceless adventure!
Now that we've described pedal kayaks, let's talk about how to pedal kayak. We promise this will help answer how easy it is to pedal kayak!
How to Pedal the Kayak
When getting into a kayak, make sure the kayak is on a shallow surface where you could stand easily on. Get into the Kayak in a sitting position and either have someone push you further from the shore or pedal slowly to avoid any rocks underneath.
With kayaks, pedaling is a little different from pedaling a bike. Although it’s the same motion, it’s in different positions. When pedaling a bike, we’re pedaling in an upright position. But with the kayak, we’re in a recumbent position or what we call the ‘L shape’.
Although you won’t be using your hands as much, you’d need to control the rudder every now and then, or whenever you need to make turns.
Sitting Properly in the Kayak
One important factor when sitting in a kayak is maintaining your balance by sitting up straight. If you get out of balance, your kayak might flip. That’s why you must be aware of the kayak’s dimensions and the weight capacity it can sustain
It’s always advised to practice a couple of times before you go fishing, to get the feels of the boat before the big fishing day.
When seating yourself in the kayak, you have to make sure you do it properly to avoid any strains or sprains. Here’s how:
Make sure your lower back is as close to the seat back as possible and in a straight-up position.
- Place both feet firmly on the pedals.
- Your bent knees must be firm and not loosened.
- Your shoulders should be relaxed.
As fun as kayaking could be, make sure you avoid the following, so you can get the best of the experience:
- Poor posture
- Insufficient leg power
- Rocking the kayak from side to side
- Straining your muscles
Is it easy to get started pedal kayaking?
If you already know how to ride a bike, then you know how to pedal kayak. The motion is very simple, so anyone who can bike can pedal kayak!
Yes, it is that simple! We found that it's much easier to pedal kayak than it is to kayak a regular paddle kayak. The reason why is a paddle kayak requires you to learn a new motion in the stroke. A pedal kayak, however, just involves you using the same skillset for which you ride a bike!
Pedal kayaking is a simple activity that can be mastered in no time. It should be on every bucket list out there. Whether you want to enjoy nature or go fishing, you’ll get a different sense of adventure by following the steps to get started.
Your kayaking experience will be so memorable that you might add it to your yearly adventure!
See you on the water!