Tips for your First Kayak or SUP Rental
There’s no better way to enjoy Okanagan Lake and get some exercise than paddling. Downtown Marina in Kelowna offers kayak and SUP (stand-up paddleboard) rentals that provide an excellent vantage point of life on the shore and the water.
Use these tips for your first SUP or kayaking rental. Learn the differences between the two watercraft, what techniques are involved, and what you will need to enjoy a safe and fun day on the lake.
Choose Your Vessel: Kayak or Paddle Board
If you consider renting a paddleboard or kayak, think about whether you want to stand and balance at full height on a board or sit inside a vessel with your legs outstretched. Both watercraft involve different paddling and steering techniques: A single-blade paddle is used on both sides of a SUP to propel and steer the board. Kayaking typically uses a double-blade paddle to propel and steer the boat. However, some kayaks have a rudder steering system that you control with your feet.
How to Safely Navigate a Kayak or SUP
Safety on the water should always be your first consideration when renting a kayak or paddleboard. Learning the proper techniques and ensuring that each paddler has a lifejacket on board (which is the law!) is essential for a safe day on the water.
It helps to know a few techniques, including launching and getting back on board a vessel before you go. Use these essential tips:
- Launch your paddleboard rental in knee-deep water, ensuring the fins are not scraping the lake bottom.
- Climb onto the SUP from the back, instead of the sides, and get into a kneeling position. Once centered, raise your chest, bring one foot up into a crouch position and slowly stand up.
- Get your balance by placing your feet hip-distance apart.
- Point your toes forward, keep your back straight, and bend your knees slightly. Then, shift your weight by moving your hips and feet into a comfortable position.
- Hold your paddle so that the blade is angling forward. If paddling on the right, place your left hand on the handle (T-grip) and your right hand approximately 30-40 cm down the shaft. Reverse your hand position when paddling on the left side.
- Propel your SUP by extending the paddle forward so that the blade immerses fully into the water and then pulling back alongside the board. Keep your arms straight and use your back to twist through the motion.
- To stay in a direct line, you’ll need to alternate your strokes to either side of the board. When turning, use a sweeping motion on the side of the boat you wish to turn.
- Always keep your gaze forward, looking for any possible hazards, and point the nose of your board into any wake or waves.
- If you fall, tread water alongside the board and get back on by grabbing onto the carrying handle with one hand. Then, haul yourself up until you can reach the opposite side and kick hard to pull yourself back on the board.
- Launch your kayak rental either from the beach or from the pier at our Downtown Kelowna Marina.
- From the beach, place your kayak with the bow in deep enough water that it doesn’t touch the bottom and the stern on the shallow end, making sure the rudder is up. Next, straddle the boat from the back and slowly bring your feet into the cockpit one at a time to sit down. You can steady the kayak by placing the paddle across the front hull in front of you as you sit down. Lower the rudder once you are away from the shore.
- From the pier: Place the kayak parallel to the dock. Sit down next to your vessel on the dock. Put one end of your paddle resting behind your back and the other end behind the kayak seat. Stabilize the boat by holding onto the paddle as you climb inside the cockpit one leg at a time. You can use the same technique for getting out of the kayak by placing the paddle in front.
- Paddle the kayak by sitting upright and placing your hands approximately 30 cm apart on the paddle’s shaft. Bend your elbows and dip your paddle blades in one at a time.
- Steer the kayak by using the foot pedals to move the rudder. For a rudderless kayak, use one side of the paddle and sweep it in a wide arc to turn.
- If your kayak tips, grab both sides of the cockpit to roll it over away from you. Grab ahold of the opposite side of the kayak and bring your legs closer to the surface. Lift yourself onto the kayak so that you’re lying across it. Once stable, flip yourself around and slide into the cockpit.
What to Bring:
Whether paddling a kayak or SUP, it’s essential to wear and bring along these essential items:
- A lifejacket
- Safety whistle
- Bathing suit /sun-protective clothing
- Hat, sunglasses that have a strap, sunscreen
- Water bottle
- A waterproof bag that can you can wear to store your keys, phone, camera, etc.
- A leash for paddleboards to prevent them from floating away
For more boating News + Tips, read the Top Family Adventure Spots in Kelowna This Summer.
Downtown Marina has everything you need for a fun and safe day on the water. Contact us for kayak, paddleboard rentals, and every other type of boat rental under the sun. We also sell boat fuel and retail items, including refreshments, snacks, and sundries.