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How to Explore Hawaii on a Kayak

Mark Armstrong
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Did you just kiss the urban jungle goodbye for an adventurous escape in the famous islands of Hawaii? You are in luck, because that tropical side of the world doesn’t fall short when it comes to thrilling activities for daredevils of all ages and sizes.

How To Explore Hawaii On A Kayak PinterestPin

If you seek for an exhilarating experience that doesn’t require a whole heap of expertise (for a casual paddle) and money, then we highly recommend you to explore Hawaii’s waterways with a kayak, while sightseeing panoramic views and thriving wildlife on the side. You can even use a two person kayak if you don’t want to go on your own.

Kayaking is very popular in the Aloha State, with recreational clubs and competitive events honoring the sport.

Critical Kayaking Know-How: Hawaii Specific

Bear these tips in mind to avoid accidents and maximize your paddling goals while exploring the Hawaiian waters:

Back to Basics

As someone who watches from the shoreline, kayaking seems to be an easy activity, especially on the open sea, where course obstacles are rare. However, try paddling for a few minutes and be surprised! For such a physical sport, you need to be fit to survive long.

Swallow your pride and approach a professional paddler. Basic kayaking courses are available in Hawaiian resorts, packaged at reasonable rates together with kayaking gear rental, a dedicated guide and immersive storytelling about Hawaii’s tropical waters.

Purchase (or Rent) the Proper Gear

Don’t have the money to buy a kayak and paddle, or don’t want to fly your own out there? There’s no need to rob a bank because most Hawaiian resorts lend kayaking gear on a daily basis, even if you snub their basic courses. All you need to do is to consult a kayaking professional about the right equipment to fit your size and experience level.

A Personal Floatation Device (PFD), such as a life jacket, is also a must-have. This all-around vest is pretty handy while doing other water sports, and inter-island cruises.

Once you are fitted, make sure to secure your belongings in a waterproof bag or leave them in a locker provided by the resort management.

Lessons on Location

The beauty of the ocean won’t make drowning a less painful experience. With that being said, always take note of the ocean conditions of each Hawaiian island, and familiarize yourself with the safety precautions for sea kayaking.

Hawaii’s beaches also have their hazard ratings – something worth researching before you step out of your hotel. For kayakers, the offshore conditions of a certain location are important to determine if your course is headed towards harm’s way.

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Say No to Solo

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If one gets lost in foreign territory, wouldn’t it be better to have two people freaking out instead of one? While panicking won’t make the situation less alarming, having a buddy, or two, will calm your nerves and help you realize that you are not alone in such ordeal!

The same goes for kayaking – never leave land without a guide or a buddy who knows the area better than you do. The water sport is also best enjoyed with company, so you have no excuses to venture out solo.

Suit Up for Swimming

Not sure what to wear for kayaking? Simply dress for the beach and you are ready to go. Avoid clothes that restrict movement, since kayaking may require a bit of effort to fight any currents.

You need to feel cool and comfortable in your kayaking attire; otherwise, you will feel on edge from shore to sea and vice versa.

Make sure you use a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Remember you can easily get burnt when it’s cloudy too. And sunglasses are also highly recommended. The glare of the sun hitting the waves will make you seriously squint!

There’s also a possibility of the kayak capsizing due to unpredictable ocean swells, so being in swimwear will simplify any ‘wet-exit’ (if you are using a sit-in kayak), a technique to safely free yourself from the kayak while it’s upside down. Simple swimming shorts are ideal. You’ll probably be using a sit-on top kayak though.

Easy Essentials

It’s clearly understandable that you are now itching to power off your computer and dash to the nearest beach for some kayak action. However, spare a moment to gather the following essentials for a fun and safe offshore expedition:

  • Reef-Safe Sunscreen – Not a fan of tan? Make sure to slather reef-safe sunscreen on exposed parts of your skin, especially your face, to avoid being burnt by the harsh sun. Aside from avoiding skin issues, you are also taking part in saving the environment by being wise with your sunscreen selections! Reef-safe labels do away with octinoxate, oxybenzone, Butylparaben and other nature-damaging ingredients – substances that are proven to cause coral bleaching.
  • Water – Planning to sweat it out under the hot summer sun? Don’t forget to hydrate every chance you get. Bring PLENTY of water! Dehydration can cause serious problems while you are in the middle of the ocean, such as nausea and rapid heart rate. If it does happen, hurry to the shore and take time to cool down under the shade. Gatorade or other electrolyte beverage powders can solve fluid loss better than plain water.
  • Dry Bag – Having some trust issues with hotels and resorts? Invest in a waterproof bag and dump everything that cannot stray beyond a meter from your body. The water tight seal guarantees that not a droplet can enter and compromise your possessions. Bags vary in sizes; it is highly recommended to choose the average sizing, or a smaller one for convenience.

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