Kayaking: Slow Down and Enjoy the Glide

Hudson River Recreation’s 2021 kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing season is underway, with opportunities from now into November to get out on the water.

Kayaking lesson on the beach at Kingsland Point Park. (Photo: Hudson River Recreation)

The company offers lessons, rentals and tours, operating out of Sleepy Hollow, Croton Point Park, Croton River, Rye Beach, and Tarrytown Lakes.

Paddlesports are on the upswing locally and across the country, with kayaking the most popular choice.

Here’s a Q&A with Hudson River Recreation manager John Clark:

River Journal: What’s new for the company’s 2021 season?

John Clark: We’re adding pedal boarding {standup crafts propelled by foot pedals}, which is expected to be available starting in June. Locations and programs are in the process of being determined.

RJ: What are most of your customers signing up for?

Clark: First timers and beginners have always been deliberately our audience. So that is sort of where we’ve always been focused.

RJ: How long have you been paddling and what is your personal favorite spot to get out on the water?

Clark: I have been paddling all my life by canoe, row boat, and kayak. I more seriously began to pursue sea kayaking about 15-20 years ago. I most enjoy our Sleepy Hollow Sunset Kayak Tour.

RJ: What’s most enjoyable about kayaking in our region?

Clark: The Hudson Valley has a whole lot of really awesome opportunities to get out on the water for folks of all skill levels. Even though you can often see the New York City skyline in the distance, you really feel a long way away from that.

Based on your ability to go only as fast as you can paddle, the world tends to slow way down. It’s a great way to relax, to get some exercise in a low-impact way, and it’s very accessible to pretty much anyone. it’s not something that you have to be fitness oriented to enjoy.

RJ: What would you say to a beginner, perhaps someone who’s been thinking about kayaking but is hesitant to leave dry land?

Clark: It’s critical to wear a lifejacket at all times when you’re on the water. People look at folks not wearing them and think that they’re the experts, when in fact they are doing the opposite of what an expert would do.

A Sleepy Hollow kayak tour. (Photo: Hudson River Recreation)

You need to know the weather conditions and the type of body of water you’re heading out on, making sure that your ability and your equipment is appropriate for it. And, nothing can take the place of qualified instruction.

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About the Author: Robert Brum