Jun 27

Exercise Training Tips

The most effective exercise regimen includes both strength training and cardiovascular (aerobic) is by training in a consistent, regular program. For example:

2-4 days of strength training and

2-5 days of aerobic activity; or

3-4 days of circuit training.

Every safe and effective exercise program should consist of three elements. In order, they are:

Warm up

Always warm up before exercising. People who do not warm up before exercising are the ones who usually end up sustaining injuries. Protect your neck, back, spine, and joints. Get the blood and juices flowing and wake up your muscles gradually through a series of stretches and preliminary sets using reduced resistance. This is one time when “going through the motions” can be extremely beneficial.

Strength work out

Perform at least one set of 8-12 reps to near fatigue for each muscle group in the body (chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs, thighs, hamstrings, and calves) a minimum of two times per week. Your goal should be to work up to doing three sets (increasing the resistance for each successive set) with 30-60 seconds of rest between each set.

Start out slowly. By doing additional sets or combinations of sets you can realize even greater strength and body shaping gains. Following are some basic guidelines useful for all strength training exercises:

Perform each exercise smoothly and evenly through the whole range of motion in a slow, controlled manner. Never jerk or lunge.

Breathe. Exhale against the resistance; inhale on the return. Do not hold your breath.

Always resist the Power Bands back to the starting position for each exercise. This provides a training effect in both directions.

Increase the resistance for successive sets by 5%-10%. In general, increase the resistance when 12 repetitions can be completed in proper form; decrease the resistance when less than 8 reps can be completed.

Replace fluids lost while exercising by drinking water at regular intervals during exercise. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink.

Rest a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 96 hours between training sessions using the same muscle groups.

Jun 20

Sea Kayaking Paddling Styles

The sea kayaking paddles and their associated paddling styles fall under two classifications-European and Greenland. Let us discuss about these styles in detail.

Paddle style

European style: European paddles are blades in the shape of spoons at each end of a cylindrical shaft. European paddle style was developed for sudden maneuvering and fast acceleration in whitewater kayaking and then extended into sea kayaking. These paddles are made of aluminum, wood, or plastic.

However, the best paddles are made of costlier material such as carbon fiber for lightness. The two spoon-like blades are set at an angle relative to one another (feathered) for enhanced efficiency as in this manner one blade moves backwards while the opposite one which is moving forward through air presents edge rather than face.

Greenland style: Greenland paddle is a long, narrow, and flat wooden plank with a cylindrical grip at center. It is like two elongated cricket bats that are joined at their handle base. Greenland is the traditional paddle style of Inuit hunters due to their material constraints (driftwood).

The blades of Greenland paddles are feathered as in European paddles. The Greenland paddle is narrow in comparison to European paddle and is 7 feet long. The paddling technique involves more paddle movement in the paddlers’ hand and demands a huge variety of techniques for a capsized kayak by using combinations of both paddle and body movements.

Many of these movements depend upon additional buoyancy of wooden paddle. Some other Greenland paddling techniques are associated with the other elements of Greenland style conditions and equipment and with the Greenland kayak design. Paddlers in modern kayaks sometimes even use Greenland paddle style.

Paddlers’ safety

Paddling technique is important but even more significant is safety of paddlers in challenging conditions. Nowadays kayakers consider Eskimo roll a well-practiced self-righting move to be safe in open water kayaking even though it is a difficult and impossible maneuver to make in heavy-laden boats.

Paddlers consider capsize the safest to paddle with one, two or more paddlers, as success of assisted rescue is more likely. Experienced paddlers attempt open water crossings without anyone accompanying them and various major long distance kayak expeditions are also carried out alone (solo).

Sea kayakers are self-sufficient and carry extensive safety equipment like repair kits, towing lines, and survival gear along with them. Modern sea kayaks are so designed that they can carry a number of equipment for safety reasons while on expedition of two or more weeks without anyone’s support. So if you are going sea kayaking choose your paddle style accordingly and don’t forget to carry safety equipment along with you.

Jun 13

The Design of Sea Kayaks

Sea Kayaks DesignThe latest sea kayaks are available in various sizes, designs, and material suiting to the needs of users. Modern kayaks have features of traditional kayaks, but rigid and folding kayaks are somewhat different.

Types of sea kayaks

Strip-built kayaks – these kayaks are similar to rigid fiberglass boats that are commercially available but are much lighter than them. Strip-built kayaks are hand-made boats that represents the artwork. These boats are durable and lightweight.

Strip-built kayak shape and size determine its performance and uses. The boats are made using thin strips of lightweight wood (pine, cedar, or redwood) that are glued together in a form, clamped or stapled, and then dried. A layer of fiberglass resin and cloth provide strength to the kayak.

Skins on frame kayak – these kayaks are considered more traditional boats in terms of design, material, technique, and construction. These are light and made of driftwood or sealskin.

Nowadays, sealskin has been replaced with nylon or canvas covered with neoprene, paint, or hypalon coating. Inuit people still make use of skin on frame kayaks for hunting in Greenland. In the remaining part of the world, manufacturers continue the tradition of skin on frame boat with modern canvas or synthetic fabric.

Folding kayak – folding kayak is a special type of skin on frame boat. Folder is modern boat with collapsible frame of aluminum, wood, or plastic and skin of some durable and water-resistant material. Folding kayaks are known for their durability, longevity, and stability.

Several kayaks have integral sponsons inside the hull that make the boat unsinkable. The paddling characteristics of folding kayak are similar to original skin on frame boat. Among the modern kayaks, the folding boat is the closest to past skin on frame kayak.

Sit-on-tops – manufacturers are producing sit-on-top kayak with a skeg for stability. These kayaks can accommodate one or two paddlers. However, few models of sit-on-top can even accommodate three or four paddlers.

These are famous for diving and fishing, as participants can easily enter and exit the water, access hatches, and storage wells as well as change position. The seat of this boat is slightly above water level because of which center of gravity is higher in comparison to traditional boat. These kayaks are wider as compensation to the center of gravity.

Recreational kayak- these are used for fishing, peaceful paddle in lake, or photography. The cockpit is large with wider beam (increased stability). The length of these boats is usually 12 feet, with limited cargo capacity.

Size of sea kayak

The size of sea kayak varies between 12 and 24 feet long. The width of kayaks ranges between 18 and 28 inches. Some boats, like surf skis, may be narrower. The kayak length affects both the cargo capacity and the tracking ability of the kayak.

Tracking ability is the ability with which the kayak travels in a straight line. It is easy to paddle a long kayak but difficult to turn it.

The kayak width affects the capacity of cargo (for both paddlers and gears), the maximum cockpit size, and the stability (which, to a certain degree, depends on the hull design).

Material used

Hardshell kayaks are now made from polyethylene, fiberglass, Kevlar, carbon fiber, royalex (exotic materials), and plywood (hand-made system). Skin kayaks are made from wood or aluminum frames covered with Dacron, canvas, or other fabrics, along with inflatable tubes known as sponsons.

Bow, stern and deck

There are several design approaches for the bow, deck, and stern of a kayak. Kayaks with upturned bows aim to achieve better wave shedding ability and better wave performance. Others achieve this through the bow’s increased buoyancy.

Unobstructed-stern-deck kayaks ease types of self-rescue. A sea kayak has one or more hatches to easily access the internal storage space of the kayak. Kayak decks have attachment points for deck lines as an aid in self-rescue.

Apart from this, sea kayaks may have a rudder or a skeg, a form of tracking aid and steering gear. Usually, rudders are attached at the stern and operated through wires. Skegs are straight blades that are used for straight paddling against wind.

Jun 06

Sea Kayaking

Sea KayakingInuit developed kayaking many years ago as a means of hunting. Now kayaking has become a part of the Olympics. Sea kayaking is a paddling sport on open water of ocean, lake, or bay. Sea kayaks are small boats whose deck is covered.

They have the ability to incorporate a spray deck. Sea kayaks are used for marine journeys. One, two, or three paddlers can accommodate in it along with space for food, water, camping gear, and other things. Sea kayaking is also known as ocean kayaking.

If you thought that the calm waters are the only ones for kayaking, you are in for a surprise. You are wrong! Kayaking can be carried out over any surface of water. While whitewater kayaking is very popular, ocean kayaking is another form of the sport which is extremely admired. It is the best alternative for a surfboard. This form of kayaking is growing in popularity by the day.

Ocean kayaks

Ocean kayaks are slightly different from the usual variety of kayaks. They are slightly longer than the kayaks that are used for whitewater kayaking. An ocean kayak is up to 15 feet long and has enough volume in the stern to keep it on the move.

The kayak is long in size to accommodate additional gear that you may require on an urgent basis while traveling long distances. The special design of the ocean kayak is built in such a way that it can be easily maneuvered over rough ocean waters.

Many sea kayaks that are similar to ocean kayaks are fitted with spray skirts to ensure waterproofing. They are also fitted in with rudders, which are a necessary feature in them.

Staying safe and afloat in the ocean

There is a big difference in kayaking on a lake and in the ocean. You must learn the basics of ocean kayaking before you embark on a journey. Try to go sea kayaking with an experienced partner who is an expert at the job.

You must always ensure that the gear that you carry is in top condition and floats. If you are carrying any gear that does not float, you have to ensure that you carry it on a container that floats.

Your own personal floatation safety jacket has to have a lot of pockets to ensure that you can carry your own personal items with you all the time. Another important thing to look at is that all items that you carry are water proof as some water is surely bound to enter your kayak as it floats on the waves.

Finding the right kayak

Finding the right ocean kayak shouldn’t be a problem. There are several websites and stores out there that will give you quite good sea kayaks and related gear at affordable rates. But if you have a kayak already that you are using for kayaking on lakes, never attempt to use that for an ocean kayaking trip.

Ocean kayaks have a different structure altogether and you should never attempt to change the basic rules. Buy some good gear or rent it for the first few times. Once you get a better hang of how things work, you can then get your own gear.

You can also try a few coaching sessions in ocean kayaking that are offered on all major beaches and sports clubs. This will help you to get a better grip on proceedings.