5 Tips for First Time Kayakers and Paddle Boarders

Water sports are relatively simple to learn, but it’s always good to have a few tips if it’s your first time. The Scorpion Bay team will teach you how to maneuver and recover from a capsize, so you’ll soon be happily navigating and enjoying your time on the water.

1. Don’t Ignore Life Jackets or Buoyancy Aids

Wearing a life jacket/buoyancy aid is essential for any kayaker - whether you are a beginner or an experienced paddler. Buoyance aids are like life jackets but allow more movement around the arms and neck. Make sure it fits well and is comfortable. Close all the buckles and straps. Keep the jacket/buoyancy aid on the entire trip—you never know when you might get into trouble in the water. When you rent a kayak or paddle board at Scorpion Bay, safety gear is provided.

2. Sit or Stand Properly

Learning how to sit properly in a kayak will make it so much easier when you start paddling. If your kayak has a nice comfy backrest, don’t slouch. It’s best to sit up straight with your lower back and buttocks at 90 degrees to each other. Rest your feet on the foot pegs found on each side of your kayak. Point your toes outward with your heels towards the center. Your knees should be bent upwards and outwards. On a paddleboard, make sure you are facing the right way, with the fins in the back. Use your core more than your arms. And be sure to use a leash. It’s vital in any kind of condition and everyone else will be using a leash. Know where the center of the board is. Place your feet wide apart with your knees slightly bent.

3. Use your Paddle Correctly

It might sound obvious but learn the proper paddle position for kayaking. Hold the paddle with both hands about shoulder distance apart, with the concave part of the blade facing you. Twist at the waist, using your core and not just your arms. For paddleboarding, make sure the blade angle faces away from you. Hold the paddle straight up and down to go forward, keeping it close to the board. To turn, angle it outward and place the paddle out away from the board.

4. Where to Paddle

Follow the shoreline so you can paddle to safety if a storm rolls in. If possible, paddle into the wind. That way, the wind can help you on the way back when you are tired.

5. Practice Entering Your Boat from the Water.

Go through a basic capsize drill with an instructor and practice it several times. Learn how to right the boat and get back in again with confidence. Always stay with your boat if you capsize.

6. Exercise Caution

Make sure you let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Don’t mix alcohol and boating. Don’t go out alone, no matter how much experience you have. Team up with another kayaker. If you get into trouble, at least there is someone there to help. Learn how to rescue yourself and others—it’s always good to be prepared. By learning just a few simple techniques, you’ll increase your confidence and be ready to make a splash when you enter the water. Enjoy! If you need some extra kayaking or paddle boarding tips, we are happy to help you at the marina before you go out into the water. Information on Scorpion Bay’s rental fleet may be found here: To rent Paddle Boards, contact Pleasant Water Sports at Scorpion Bay Marina, 602.714.7478.

Scorpion Bay is Arizona’s premier floating playground, offering everything from daily pontoon and ski boat rentals to slips for harboring your yacht (or dinghy). Come for the fishing or come for the frolicking—either way, incredible mountain views, fantastic dining and world-class marina services await less than an hour out of Phoenix.