Do you want to explore the Gulf of Mexico, Pensacola Bay, Santa Rosa Sound, or the rivers and bayous in surrounding area? To help you find the best kayak rentals in Pensacola Beach, we’ll tell you precisely what kayaking is, and the various types of kayaks. If you’re a beginner, we’ll give you some tips and tricks to get you and keep you going on your adventure. We even tell you how to find lessons! And, we inform you about the premium spots to kayak near Pensacola Beach. We’ll arm you with the questions you should ask when you rent a kayak. Lastly, we provide a directory of local businesses that offer kayak rentals, lessons and more expert advise.
Table of Contents
- What is kayaking?
- Why go kayaking?
- Kayaking Tips for Beginners
- Kayaking gear
- Best places to Kayak in Pensacola Beach
- Kayak Rental Pensacola Beach
- Kayak Directory Pensacola
What is kayaking?
Kayaking is a very popular water sport that involves paddling using an oar with a blade on each end in a small boat called a kayak. Kayaks come in different sizes and available options, with many optional accessories. There are one or two person kayaks, some can even hold three people. Kayaking is extremely popular because it’s affordable, easy to do, and is extremely modifiable and adaptable.
Why go kayaking?
Renting or buying a kayak is extremely affordable, and it’s also very portable and easy to use. If you want to get a boat into the water, you pull the boat to the destination, back it into the water, run it (and buy gas), and rinse the behemoth off when you’re done – just to name a few. With a kayak, it’s simple to grab-and-go. You can literally carry your kayak in your hands, although some people opt to put it on a small, hand-held trailer. When you’re done, you pull it back and put it up until next time. If you opt to rent a kayak, many rental offices will deliver the kayak to your location, making it even easier!
Whether you live near a small river, lake, marsh land, or the ocean, there’s a kayak for that. Do you love fishing? Or do you prefer being outdoors and getting a little work out in while enjoying what nature has to offer? Perhaps you love riding whitewater rapids? Whether you’re looking to take in the sights, get a low-impact workout in, or go fishing, kayaking has something to offer everyone.
Kayaking Tips for Beginners
Beginning kayakers should spend some time doing a bit of research and talking to friends or professionals who kayak more often. Below I’ll discuss the types of kayaks, give you tips that will make your trip rewarding and fun. To start you on your first voyage, here are 5 quick hints:
- Plan a short outing. This will prevent you from over-exerting yourself, where you might find yourself lost and in danger.
- Choose a small, calm body of water. Choose an area where there are few powerboats or waves, and stay close to shore.
- Find an easy place to launch your boat. Think of smooth, sloping shorelines or boat ramps.
- Go on a sunny, windless day. Comfort high, anxiety and complications low!
- Paddle into the wind to start. This will make the return trip a breeze.
- bring a paddling partner. You should always go with another paddler who can help.
- know your limits. Don’t paddle farther from shore than you can swim.
- wear a personal flotation device (PFD). Make sure that it fits properly and wear it at all times.
- wear your whistle. Know that the universal distress signal is three long blasts.
Basic Steering and Handling of your Kayak
The first step in basic handling is making certain you’re holding your paddle correctly. Holding it just right will maximize efficiency, making paddling much easier and allowing you to exert less force per paddle. Follow the 5 step process below to position your hands correctly on the handle.
- Lift up the paddle straight over your head. Lower it until it’s centered on the top of your head.
- reposition your hands until your elbows are at 90 degree angles.
- your knuckles should be facing skyward.
- Make sure the longer edge of each blade is facing upward toward the sky.
- make sure the scooped sides of the blades are facing you.
To paddle, swing your torso and fully immerse the blade on one side of the boat. Rotate your torso in the opposite direction and apply pressure with the opposite hand until the blade begins to move backward. When your paddle passes your hip, gently pull up until the blade is out of the water and repeat the step on the other side. Repeat alternating paddling on each side of the kayak.
There are two main categories of kayaks, whitewater and flat water. For this article, we’re going to focus on flat water type sine those are the typical kayak rental Pensacola Beach. There are five types of flat-water kayaks. We discuss each type below in detail.
Sit-on-top Rec Kayak
A sit-on-top kayak is a great kayak for beginners. If you rent a kayak during the peak tourist season, this is the type of kayak most frequently available. Because it’s so wide, it’s a little more stable than other kayaks, so you’re less likely to flip it over. It’s also great for novice kayakers because the gear is easily accessible. There is a small learning curve to kayaking, and using a sit-on-kayak will make it even easier. To the contrary, sit on kayaks expose your body and gear to the elements, so they can typically only be used seasonally. These kayaks make great family kayaks, and are good for camping and days spent outdoors with the family. The Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Recreational Kayak is a highly rated and quality kayak you may consider for purchase.
pros: Easy to get in and out of, good stability, gear easily accessible.
cons: rider easily gets wet
Recreational kayaks have a closed cockpit, which means your body and gear aren’t exposed to the elements. The openings are usually large enough that you can put a small child in there with you, however you can use a skirt to seal off the cockpit when you most desire to stay warm. They are shorter than touring kayaks, which means they’re not as fast, don’t track as good. Conversely, they are easier to store than a touring kayak. These kayaks are ideal for an afternoon at the beach all season long. The Riot Kayaks Edge 11 LV is a highly rated recreational kayak is a highly rated kayak you may consider for purchase. pros: optional open or closed cockpit desirable for seasonal riding cons: harder to get to gear
Touring kayaks are typically 12 feet or longer. They have a smaller cockpit than a recreational kayak, and are also more narrow. Because it’s longer and more narrow, they’re less stable and move more side-to-side in the waves, however they will go faster. Typically, the longer the kayak, the faster it can go. Some touring kayaks use a rudder to help them turn. Because of they’re length, they’re harder to transport and store than other varieties of kayak. These kayaks are ideal for longer trips on larger bodies of water. The Perception Carolina 14 is a touring kayak that is highly rated that you should consider for purchase. pros: track well, fast, not as stable because they’re narrow cons: difficult to store and transport
Inflatable kayaks are more portable because they weigh less than other kayaks and can be folded down into a convenient size. Conversely, these kayaks are best suited for calm water near the shoreline. These kayaks don’t track well and can be difficult to paddle in high winds or rough water. Additionally, you always run the risk of getting a hole in the craft, rendering it useless. The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak is a highly rated inflatable kayak you may consider. pros: extremely portable cons: uncomfortable, don’t track well
Pedaling kayaks are a welcome addition to the kayak family because moving a pedaling kayak relies on your more robust lower-body muscles. This means you may be able to travel further distances in a pedaling kayak. These types of kayaks are also great for individuals who have back, shoulder or arm issues which may prevent them from rowing for extended periods of time. These kayaks are also preferred by fishermen, since they’re easier to propel with more gear attached, and they free up your hands for fishing. The Brooklyn Kayak Company (BKC) PK13 is a highly rated pedal drive kayak. pros: great for individuals with arm, shoulder or back issues since locomotion is done with legs cons: expensive
Bringing a paddle is a no-brainer. You won’t get far without one!
If your kayak is equipped with a spray skirt, and you wish to stay dry, then you’ll need to insert the skirt into your kayak.
A water-proof dry bag will keep your gear high and dry while you remain cool and wet.
Personal Flotation Device (PFD), Signaling Whistle, Headlamp
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a kayak is a vessel. As such, it should be equipped with a signaling whistle, light and enough flotation devices for everyone on board.
Where do Kayaks and Canoes fit into the Navigation Rules? Kayaks and Canoes are a vessel under oars and are addressed specifically in Rule 25 (lights).
A small manual pump should be enough to do the trip. The highly rated DasMarine Kayak Handpump is lightweight and is designed to float.
Wear sunscreen, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing to protect your skin from UV light.
Other Optional Equipment
- wet suit or dry suit
- Paddling knife – attach this to your personal flotation device.
- Floating Compass
- Weather Radio
- Float bags
- Emergency Flares
- Two-way radio
Best Places to Kayak in Pensacola
Big Sabine Bay
Big Sabine Bay is located along Florida State Highway between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach, just past Portofino Island Resort. There is quite a walk to the launching site. The terrain to the launching site is, however, flat and over the sand. The shallow bay is a great destination for the nature lover! You can find crabs, rays, birds, and other beach life scurrying, flying and swimming around.
Another hidden treasure in Pensacola Bay is White Island. The best place to launch from to access the island is from Civitan Park. Enjoy a relaxing day on sugar-white beaches on this secluded jewel!
You can ride a kayak the same places as a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP). You can read all about the Best Places to Ride a SUP in Pensacola, extending those destinations to kayaks too!
Very basic instructions may be provided when you pick-up your kayak from the rental office. However, if it would make you more comfortable to get some lessons in before heading out on your own, there are many local businesses that offer lessons. Prices for lessons will vary be vendor and availability. Check out our Kayak Lessons Directory below for further information.
Kayak Rental Pensacola Beach
Whether you’re looking to rent a single kayak or want to rent kayaks for a group, there are many vendors for kayak rental Pensacola Beach. Options vary by vendor, but some of the options include:
- Free delivery – if you don’t have a proper kayak rack to transport a kay, or perhaps you don’t want to risk the damage to a rental car. Many local rental agents offer free delivery when you rent a kayak from them. Delivery availability varies by company, season, and location.
- By the hour, 1/2 day rental, or full-day rentals.
Check out our Kayak Rental Directory below for additional information.
How much does it cost?
For a kayak rental Pensacola Beach, you can rent paddle boards by the hour, day or week. Prices vary by rental office, but range from $15/hour to $65/day and up. Prices vary according to type of kayak, season and availability. The busiest seasons on Pensacola Beach are March through July.
What do I need to bring?
You should bring a small beach bag with essential items like sunscreen, a water bottle and a towel.
What are the age limits?
The minimum age varies by rental office. Be sure to check their website or ask them on the phone. Minimum ages range from 8 to 13 to ride alone, as many places have youth kayaks. Small children are often allowed to ride with a guardian in a double kayak. There is no max age!
Do I need lessons?
You do not need experience or lessons. However, most places that offer kayak rentals near Pensacola Beach will offer a short demonstration on how best to paddle. You can opt to take lessons if it would make you more comfortable.
What are the weight limits?
Recreational kayaks generally have a weight limit of 250-300 lbs. Be sure to check the policies of the rental office.
How much does delivery cost?
For kayak rental Pensacola Beach, as long as the rental office is local, delivery is typically free. However, some businesses charge for delivery.
What happens if I lose or damage a board I rented?
Kayaks are difficult to damage while in the water, however you will be charged for any damage, per your rental agreement.
Kayak Directory Pensacola
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