For the love of kayaking: the best hobby to help you connect with nature

November 8, 2023 — by Sanjoli Gupta
Photo by Sanjoli Gupta
A picture of me kayaking with my family in Montecino during the summer before 10th grade!
Imagine moving through smooth water and feeling the wind in your face while looking at wildlife. There’s simply nothing else like it.

 Imagine the wind kissing your face as your hair flutters in the wind while you glide along bright blue waters on a kayak. Your grip on your paddle falters as you look around and enjoy the scenery; the horizon meets with the line of trees on the edge of the lake and birds flutter above you.

To me, the feeling of kayaking along the water and hearing the splash of oars is incredibly calming and satisfying. Since kayaking allows you to keep your legs straight in front of you, I also don’t have to worry about leg cramps, allowing me to kayak for hours in nature with my friends and family, laughing and racing together. 

Since my middle school years, I have gone to Shoreline park every once in a while, but I never kayaked there. I would see the boats floating out on water and always wanted to join the adventure. 

What specifically piqued my interest was that kayaking is a water sport that doesn’t get you completely drenched, while still letting me enjoy the lake and its ambiance.

My first time kayaking was at a camp when I was 14 years old, where there was a lake surrounded by trees, walking paths and cabins. The experience was exciting because it was new and thrilling, and my sister and I raced with each other on the lake. 

Since then, I’ve continued going kayaking at Shoreline park whenever I have free time. A double kayak, which fits two people, costs $35 for an hour at Shoreline. Soaking up the sunshine and paddling to my heart’s content is the perfect way to relax while also getting a good dose of Vitamin D.

There are many other places I can go kayaking, too. Moss Landing in Santa Cruz provides a wonderful view where I can see otters, seals, crabs and other beautiful animals. When my family and I when there for a guided tour, the tour guides helped us carve a path in the lake and pointed out greenery and animals as we kayaked by. Spotting animals was always exciting — one otter even came right next to our kayak as we paddled around it! 

Although your legs might get slightly wet, you generally stay dry unless you topple over, and you wear a life vest just in case your boat flips. This means kayaking is a usually very safe sport, letting you focus more on the scenery and beauty of nature rather than trying to stay afloat.

Kayaking is easy to learn, and brings generations together in nature. You are not required to be an expert at it. If you have free time, I highly recommend trying out kayaking for a fun weekend activity.