Women and Kayaking: Benefits of Challenging Yourself
As longtime outfitters, we’re here to tell you that women make up the majority of our kayaking clients. Not only are they usually the ones who book our trips and arrange for their loved ones to enjoy the outdoors, they also bring a valued energy that deserves attention.
Women have frequently told us that kayaking provides particularly powerful experiences in the following areas.
Make a New Friend without the Awkwardness
Unless you’re taking a solo trip, then you’re probably paddling with a small group. Shared experiences make it easier to form new friendships because you automatically have something to talk about: paddling tips, the trip you’re on, wildlife, or your life.
As they paddle, most people tend to open up and will happily chat with a stranger in the kayak next to them.
And you don’t have to be an extrovert. Since kayaking involves nature observation, it’s fine to just drift next to someone and watch a heron stalk. As your group adapts to this relaxed pace, you’ll find this inclusive attitude reduces any social awkwardness.
Not everyone goes into nature looking to make friends and chat. And that works too.
When you kayak, you control your own boat. Sounds obvious, but this little fact gives you a freedom that’s often lacking in other activities.
And there’s less social pressure to conform to group norms. On outdoor trips, most people loosen their usual social expectations, which allows you the freedom to be by yourself. You can distance yourself from a group and be with your thoughts, or just feel the breeze and watch the sunset.
And when you’re ready to return to the group, just paddle over and join the crowd.
Reconnect with a Partner
We’ve noticed that many people are now choosing kayaking as their date night activity. Couples who are tired of having dining out be the centerpiece of every date prefer to adventure outside and try something new.
Kayaking offers physical activity and a memorable outdoor setting, which can heighten your experience. For instance, you and your partner could learn something new by attending a Flora & Fauna Paddle, or if you’re looking to add an element of romance, try a Sunset Paddle.
The key here is novelty, which is vital to keeping a spark alive in any relationship. If you’ve been dating or married for a while, then you know how easy it is to let mundane concerns become your norm. Everyone’s gone through it.
Paddling can help break a relationship out of a rut by giving you new material for conversation, both on and off the water. Who knows? It might be more than a date; it might be a new shared hobby.
Overcome Anxiety with Mindfulness
According to the Office of Women’s Health, “Women are more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder in their lifetime,” and they recommend meditation as a possible treatment. For many people, it’s hard to find time to meditate, and the prospect of just sitting there might even cause more anxiety over whether you’re doing it right.
Many kayakers find that time on the water puts them in a meditative state. Why?
Kayaking requires focus, and this focus can ease you into a state of mindfulness, which is not only proven to lessen anxiety, but will also help you sharpen your senses. Colors will appear brighter, subtle sounds become more apparent. It’s a calming form of moving meditation that you can practice and carry with you even when you’re off the water.
Overcome Stereotypes and Challenge Yourself
One thing that draws many people to the outdoors is the chance to simplify their concerns and focus on necessary actions.
Paddling your kayak gives you immediate feedback, something we rarely get in daily life. You can learn new skills, apply them, and adapt to an environment that’s always changing.
If you like, you can challenge yourself. Paula Patch, a kayaker who first got into the sport through a women’s paddling group, says that “knowing that you can launch a kayak or zip through the water can be incredibly empowering when other sources tell you that you should be or appear weak.”
Successfully completing a trip can feel like a huge accomplishment. You can step back and feel, as Patch notes, “strong, independent, and capable, which are traits usually reserved for men.”
Forget Your Responsibilities
If you’re used to planning everything for the people in your life, then you might consider a guided trip. Even if you don’t need a Guide with a capital G, a guided trip ensures that you can just show up and enjoy yourself. Once you book it, you don’t have to do any more planning or worrying. Put aside the responsibility and let the outfitter handle all the details.
Your job is simply to enjoy your time on the water.
If you’re in the North Carolina Triangle or Triad area, book a guided trip with us and let us do the heavy lifting.