10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Kayak

10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Kayak

An adventure in a plastic boat has never sounded so good
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You see them on rivers, lakes, out on the ocean, but have you ever given it a try? It looks like a good time right? Kayaking is a timeless sport, yet one of the fastest growing industries in the outdoor recreation market right now. So what's all the hype about? Here is ten reasons you should take the plunge and give kayaking a shot!

1. Exploring new places

Taking a seat in a kayak leads to much more than just a leisurely paddle. Kayaking is a great way to see cities and natural landscapes from a water level perspective that is unlike most other water recreation experiences. In a kayak you can travel waterways all over the world, venture through urban and rural settings alike, and experience it all through a very unique perspective.

2. Great accessory to any car

One of the best things about kayaks is that they are lightweight and portable. A kayak can go almost anywhere you can go if strapped correctly to your vehicle. They are even lightweight enough to carry down to the beach or pier with the help of a friend. Two kayaks fit comfortably on any size car, even compact cars. And if you're looking to go out on a large outing, kayaks can be transported easily on a trailer. There are even rigs you can buy to attach a kayak to the rear of your bike!

3. Bring your friends

What better way to spend an morning, afternoon, or evening than with a couple of friends out on the water catching some rays and waves? Kayaking is a social event. It's so simple to hold conversations between kayaks and even bunch up next to one another to take group photos. Kayaking is a great way to bond with friends and family again and again. It's a great way to get your indoor loving friends outside and easy enough for them to still have a blast at the beginner level.

4. Extended trips

Not only are kayaks a leisurely recreation activity, but you can make the sport an extended experience with the right amount of skill and gear. Pair camping with a few days of paddling and a solid group of friends and you have the makings for the trip of a lifetime. Whether you have a 26 mile day planned or a 3 day extended trip scheduled, covering large distances in a kayak is a very unique expereince.

5. Exercise

Of course you can paddle as slow or as fast as you would like, but in the end the sport takes some muscle! Not only is kayaking a fantastic upper body workout, but the sport can incorporate cardio, abs, and breathing. The more you incorporate your various body systems, the more you will get out of the workout. Focusing on technique, frame, and overall momentum are three things that can constantly be improved upon while exercising in a kayak. Sometimes an experience can be that much more rewarding when there is a physical component involved.

6. Solo excursions

Just as kayaking can be a social event, it can also be a reflective and personal experience. Going out on the water alone can be a healthful escape and a fun personal challenge. There is something to be said for experiences that only you can relate to and remember.

7. Stress release

Just like any sport, kayaking can be a creative outlet for stress and anxiety. There is something very healthful about a quiet, reflective paddle. Being out on the water with nothing but the sounds of the surrounding area and your kayak and paddle grazing the water is a special experience and a personal one at that.

8. For all ages and abilities

Kayaking ranges from beginner recreational fun to advanced white water competitions. There are different size boats and weighted paddles for all ages and there are different level waterways for all levels. Kayaking does not require the use of your legs and can be a great recreational activity for those differently-able below the waste. The nice thing about learning to kayak is that it has a quick learning curve. Knowing a few simple kayak strokes is really all you need at the beginner level and you can be off on your way in no time.

9. Easily accessible

If you don't own a kayak it isn't the end of the world. Most popular waterways have kayak rental services or guiding service nearby. But if you are looking to invest in a kayak, you can purchase gently used or retired kayaks at a much cheaper rate than buying a brand new one. Recreational kayaks can range in the couple hundred dollar spectrum, but the investment pays for itself in experiences.

10. Lots of fun

Whether you are out on flat water with a group of friends exploring urban waterways or venturing down class III rapids by yourself in the backcountry, kayaking is a guaranteed good time. It's an activity friends and family ranging in different ages and abilities can enjoy together. What makes kayaking so fun? A common answer to that question is splashing around and getting wet!

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Murphy

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Everything The Student Athlete Loses When They Move On From Sports

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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We used to call it "flipping the switch." You would go through eight hours of school (somehow) and then your mentality would automatically change. The worries and stress from the school day would dwindle as you put on your cleats and begin to warm up. Anything that was going on in your life didn't matter when you hit the dirt. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your bests.

You develop a routine and superstitions. Hitting your bat on the inside of your cleat before you hit, chewing a certain type of gum on the volleyball court, how many times you spin the ball before you shoot a free throw, whatever your quirk was, you 100% believed it would make you play better. You practice in your free time with your dad, devote three to five months of your school year to a team, and play all summer long with your travel team as you live off hotel breakfast. Then one day, it's all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you'll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you're no longer an athlete. I forgot what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It has been two years since I've played my last softball game and not a day goes by when I don't miss it. I didn't play because I wanted to go pro or even to the collegiate level, but I played because it was an escape and helped me become who I am.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you as you stand alone on second base and see your family in the stands, to hear the metal spikes of your cleats on concrete when walking in the dugout. It's simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head. Batting practice was always mine. Focusing on nothing but the next pitch and how hard I could hit it.

When you have to watch the game from the other side of the fence, you realize how much pressure you put on yourself when you played. It's just a game. Make as many memories as you can and enjoy every inning because when you leave sports behind you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as I miss the sport, I am thankful for everything it brought me. It taught me how to be a good friend, respect others around me, and to push myself to discover what I was capable of.

So, enjoy it while it lasts.

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It's Been A Year And I Still Miss It

The memories with my teammates and coaches are remembered everyday.

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Never thought I'd say it but here I am. I am happy to say I am proud to be where I am today but the thoughts of never playing a sport again linger in my mind. Those emotions of anticipation and excitement when it comes to playing a sport are long gone. Sad to say I will never have butterflies before running a race, floor burns all over my knees and sweat mixed with softball dirt all over me.

The little aspects that I took for granted are what I remember the most. I am who I am today because of my coaches and teammates. Each and every sport came with a support system to fall back on and friendships that would last a lifetime. My coaches and teammates taught me life long skills that I will carry with me forever. They taught me the true meaning of dedication, teamwork, perseverance and respect. Yes, I love the game but the connections and memories I have built have impacted me. Especially, the times I have created with my teammates and coaches on the bus rides, practices and game days.

Those are the moments I will never get back. I will never forget the times my volleyball teammates and I would run over to Perkins after a win. We would eat junkie, greasy food till our tummies were full but during those moments we were all owning the moment while being young and careless. Even during track season my teammates and I found time to have fun while running rigorous workouts. I will never forget the mid-dance parties during track meets to keep our mind off of the stress of performing to our best ability. Softball season always seemed to be on the road, which meant plenty of bus rides with my teammates. Those hours of traveling were the best from the never have I ever games to singing along to great hits.

I will never get the chance again to compete in front of a crowd. The cheers and the roars of the fans is such a surreal feeling. Running on the blue oval was something I will never forget. As much as I hated the queasy, uneasy feelings before running, I would go back for it one more time. Stepping foot on the blue oval meant a great athlete once took those same steps I did. The moment my teammates, coaches and I clinched the win to go to State for the first time in school history was unbelievable. It was an accomplishment for us seniors, for our coaches, for our families and fans, for our school and for the past softball players. We did something that was never done before in school history and all I can say is I'm proud to have done it with the group of girls that I did.

Getting to state and playing with the best of the best is remarkable but what seemed to be even better was getting a victory against a city rival. Everyone came out for those games from grandparents to students to alumni. Our best performances were amongst us when competing against city rivals. Particularly, through volleyball, my teammates and I seemed to be hungrier for a win whenever it was a city rival. I guess, the best moments happened when we beat a cross-town rival. You could say we got bragging rights for the year.

To all the athletes out there competing in their last game, last match or last race, relish in those last seconds because before you know it you will never pick up a ball again, race in a relay or dance after a victory.

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