Kayak expert and Aqua-Bound ProStaffer, Ken Whiting, tells us how to choose a good spot to paddle in this video…


One of the best things about paddling—whether it’s canoeing, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding—is that there are so many places to paddle.

Lakes, ponds, rivers, the ocean—all offer opportunity. But it’s important to know how to choose a paddling spot that right for you and your skill level.

You need to know what to look for and what to avoid. You want your paddling experience to be safe and fun for everyone involved.

How to Choose a Good Spot to Paddle

The ideal paddling spot, especially for those new to paddling or when in a group with mixed skill levels is:

  • Protected from wind and waves
  • Has a good access point to get on the water and back out
  • Lots of places along the shoreline to beach, if necessary
  • Minimal motor boat traffic

Great places to look are sheltered bays, rivers without noticeable current, and locations that have some people around in case you need a hand.

Important Safety Considerations

Paddling is fun, and one of the safest outdoor activities we can do. But because we’re on water and out in the elements, there are a few safety considerations you always need to keep in mind:

  • Don’t paddle alone. There’s safety in numbers, especially if the weather turns or an unexpected emergency happens.
  • When you enter a large body of water where you’ll be further from shore than you can swim, you’re entering a new world. If you want to paddle on waters like these, take a sea kayaking course. You’ll learn valuable safety skills for paddling big water.
  • Know the weather forecast before you go out! This is especially important on the ocean and on large lakes. The weather can turn very quickly, even when the day starts out calm. Keep your eyes on the skies.
  • Be aware of optional take-out points just in case. Then you won’t feel like you have to get back to your launch point in the case of an emergency.

kayaker on serene lake

The fastest way to build your paddling skill is to take a course from a certified instructor. The American Canoe Association (ACA) sponsors courses all over the world. To find one close to you, visit their “Find Instruction Courses” page.

Happy paddling!

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