Kayaking for seniors is a wonderful activity, but are you worried that a kayak will be uncomfortable and too heavy to lift?
At Oz Inflatable Kayaks, we get a lot of inquiries from seniors who want to get into kayak paddling for exercise, relaxation, nature appreciation, nostalgia, socialising and sometimes for another way to enjoy caravaning around Australia.
Kayaking for seniors requires a unique kayak set up, because your priorities are a bit different. You are most likely looking for comfort, back support, stability and ease of portage.
But you still want a kayak that is wonderful to paddle, right?
“The last time I used a canoe, as opposed to kayak, was at this very spot in about 1959 – yes, you read it right 1959, I was about 12 years old, I am now 67 year old. So today, it was with a great sense of homecoming when I launched my Advanced Frame Kayak. When I arrived back at the launch site, my wife who was waiting with a picnic ready for lunch, said she could see me grinning from about 500 metres out. She has also said that I have not been able to get the smile off my face ever since.” Jeff, Mackay QLD
So how do you know if a kayak package meets your needs?
- Comfort – you could be paddling for hours at a time, so you want your kayak to be comfortable. You don’t want a numb bum from sitting on a hard seat! You need a kayak with a floor and a seat that is cushioned, not hard.
- Back Support – there are a few elements to look for to ensure you back is well supported.
- First, make sure the seat has a high back, and that the back is strong enough to support all your weight – you don’t want to be using your abdominal muscles to support yourself.
- Secondly, look for adjustable lumbar support in the seat back. We all have different shaped backs, so it is important to be able to adjust the lumbar to suit your back.
- Thirdly, make sure there is some kind of foot rest. The foot rest really helps your back by giving you something to brace against when you are paddling.
- Stability – if you are hoping for a leisurely paddling experience, it is much more relaxing when you don’t have to concentrate on staying upright all the time. Generally speaking, a kayak is stable if it has a wide, flat hull.
- Ease of Portage – If you don’t want to spend your twilight years hauling around 30kg, you need to find a lightweight kayak. Also, the lighter the kayak, the easier it is to get in and out of the car, caravan or boat, and the easier it is to get it down to the water and back.
- Great on the water – there is no point in getting a comfortable, lightweight, stable and back-friendly kayak if it is terrible to paddle. This is probably the hardest feature to judge from looking at a kayak.