Kayaking for Beginners

Learn How Easy it is to Get in on the Fun

Ever see those shows on the Travel Channel about whitewater kayaking – maybe down the Colorado or Snake rivers? Giant waves. Whirlpools. Kayaks threading their way through rapids.

That makes for great TV, but there’s another side to kayaking that you might not know about.

Kayaking in Ohio is a huge amount of fun, but doesn’t require much in the way of technical skills. As a matter of fact, you can learn the basics of using a kayak in about five minutes.

Kayaks Are More Fun Than Canoes

At least that’s what a lot of our customers say. There are a few reasons for this.

First, kayaks have a lower profile than canoes. That means they have less surface exposed to the current and are less likely to get tipped over.

Second, kayaks ride much higher in the water than canoes. This makes it easier for them to get through shallow places that would cause a canoe to bottom out.

Third, the kayak paddle is double bladed, and does not require that you switch sides (like a canoe paddle).  The steering of the kayak due to the placement of the hands on the double bladed paddle is much more intuitive.

Fourth, if you’re in a single-person kayak, you don’t have to coordinate your efforts with another person. You can guide the kayak exactly where you want to go without having to figure out what another person is going to do.

All this makes kayaks extremely easy to use, even for first-timers. No matter what your experience with watercraft, you can be proficient with a kayak in just a few minutes.  We have had first time kayakers from 8 years of age to the mid 70’s who do great the first time out.

What About All that Whitewater Stuff?

RiversEdge Outfitters is located on the Little Miami State and National Scenic River. We operate kayak, canoe and raft trips on a stretch of the river from Beavercreek on the north to just outside of Waynesville on the south.

For most of this stretch, you’ll find that the Little Miami is a scenic and peaceful place to spend a day. But you’ll also find a few places that will toss some excitement into the outing – nothing extreme, just a few small rapids here and there. There’s also the occasional obstacle to navigate around – fallen tree branches, turns in river – just enough to add some fun.

Kayaks Have a Long Tradition

Kayaks have been around for a very long time. They arose in the Arctic among the native peoples who used them for hunting and transportation over the open ocean. As a result, kayaks had to be extremely reliable watercraft.

Although there are quite a few variants on the design of a kayak, the basic principles have stayed the same for centuries. Here’s a photo of Inuit hunters taken in the early part of the 20th Century.


Notice that the main features are the same as modern kayaks – the closed top deck, the bow and stern that narrow to a point, the lightweight but sturdy construction. Now compare that to a modern kayak from Perception Kayaks – the manufacturer of the kayaks we use at RiversEdge Outfitters:

You can see that even though the materials are different – and much brighter! – the overall principles are the same. So, even though kayaking might be new to you, the kayak is a time-tested watercraft that you can count on to deliver a safe – and very fun – experience.