Kayaking Continues to be a Hot Activity
Missouri State Parks Photo

(Radio Iowa) Lakes and rivers were busy during the Independence Day holiday and that is expected to continue throughout the summer — with many people trying their hand at kayaking. D-N-R river programs outreach coordinator, Todd Robertson, says you shouldn’t head out onto rivers without doing a little preparation.

“We have piles of wood called strainers, which are giving paddlers a lot of problems, especially when they don’t know how to navigate their boat properly. So learn how to navigate your boat, right,” Robertson says.

“If you know four or five proper strokes and how to use them, you’re going to have a much safer time out on the water, especially when it comes to moving water,” he says. “Lakes, you know lakes, you can tool around a little bit more out on the rivers, you really need to pay attention to all those hazards. So knowing how to navigate that boat also gives you more confidence. And so your stress level is less. And you can actually have a more fun time.” He says you have to be prepared for both ends of the spectrum from swollen lakes, to ones that are down.

“There are some streams that are actually too low — and that’s a whole different end of the safety spectrum that we have to be careful with — because people end up walking their boat for too long and they don’t have enough water and they get dehydrated,” according to Robertson. “So, there’s just things that can happen on both ends of the spectrum. It just depends on where you are at and you need to know before you go as to what those water levels are.” Robertson says kayaks have been flying off the shelves the last couple of years.

“It’s the fastest-growing outdoor recreational activity it has been for over the 12 years that I’ve been with the Iowa D-N-R and now since COVID, it has exploded because people were looking for an activity that they can do separate from other people and give them a lot of distance and that and this is the perfect one,” Robertson says. He says the D-N-R has a kayak and canoe school you can access on their website on how to paddle. They also offer classes and Robertson says some retailers that sell boats that actually give short lessons. Robertson recommends before you buy a kayak or canoe that you rent one and they’ll give you some quick instruction. He says there are also a lot of online videos that can be helpful in learning about paddling.

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