Kayaking with kids

camping coaching Apr 26, 2021

Quick survey question: Are you a canoe person or a kayak person? Not sure what I mean, I'll explain.  

During that same camping trip I mentioned in my last blog (read here), two of the children went home early with Keri. The weather wasn't up to their liking, and they were ready for civilization. A day later, the weather turned beautiful again, and the two remaining children asked to go kayaking. Being the awesome dad that I am, I said yes.  


There are a couple of things to know about kayaking that are different than canoeing.  

Solo - The kayaks we could rent were single person, so I had to rent three. I wasn't going to let my kids do it without me close at hand. The canoe from a few days before could seat 6 keeping us crammed together.  

Stability on the water - With fewer people comes less moving around and fewer variables, causing more control. But also, there is a higher chance of tipping yourself and having no one to blame. Side note: this happened to Keri on one seaside adventure a few years before we had children. The Kayak tipped, and everything went into the bay.  

Stamina - The kayak requires more continual exertion to keep moving. While the canoe, with all the passengers, allows for individual breaks without full loss of speed.  

Speed - By design, the kayak skims the water, whereas the canoe ploughed through the water. Two strokes and the kayak is gliding over the lake, and the feeling is amazing. The canoe, because of the shape and additional weight, took some energy to get up to speed.  

"If you don't row, we don't go." Kayak - truth. Canoe, there is always a chance someone else wants to get there and is willing to put the effort in.  

Here are two lessons learnt that day.  

1) If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. We quickly navigated everywhere, but alas, we only made it a quarter of the distance we had covered on the canoe. The kids were also very tired when we finished.

2) My kids were in control no matter where we went around the lake. I could encourage with words, motivate with loving taps, and even stabilize by coming alongside, but they were in control the entire time. As a parent, control is a scary and necessary thing to give your children. And the more opportunities you have to safely give your children control, so they know how to handle it, the better for them and you.  

As a coach, this is the best position to be in. Coming alongside, offering stability and encouragement but still keeping the other in control of what is happening in their life. If you plan to go far, bring a coach along, and see what can be accomplished. To experience the benefit of coaching, click here to book a call or email me.  

Do you have any canoeing or kayaking stories? Send me a message, I would love to hear them.

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