10 May What is kayaking?
What is involved in a Kayaking Session?
There’s much more to kayaking than simply paddling in a straight line from start to finish. Your session can include any of the following. Learning advanced paddling techniques. Fun games and races. Exploring smugglers caves. Getting up close with wildlife in the natural environment, especially the local Seal population and possibly dolphins. Navigating narrow gullies and riding the natural rapids created by the ocean swell. Learning about local history and points of interest. Watching our coasteering groups as they jump off cliffs is also a great spectator sport!
What if it is raining?
What better activity to do in the rain than a water activity? Rain or shine our kayak sessions are the ultimate activity for the family.
What if I fall in?
As you will be undertaking your session in one of our sit on top kayaks, falling in is not a problem. You can just flip the kayak upright and climb back in. One of our qualified instructors will be on hand to make sure that you are ok and give you any assistance needed.
What do I need to bring?
We can provide a wetsuit so you only need to bring a towel and swimwear. You can wear your own wetsuit if you have one or if you have your own kayak specific waterproofs you may bring these too. Footwear will also be required so bring either a pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting wet or you can hire from us for £3 a go. Most importantly please bring a sense of adventure and fun.
What are the age limits?
Our kayaking sessions are open for anyone who is 8 and over but we can take out younger children as young as 5 who will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian and use one of our awesome double Kayaks.
How long will it last?
All of our sessions last for approximately 2 hours once you have got your kit on. Expect to be with us for around 2 and a half hours in total.
Can I bring a camera with me?
Of course you can bring a camera or GoPro on the session with you. This will be at your own risk so we recommend that you put a floatation device on it or tie it to yourself so that it doesn’t get lost.
Where will I go?
Your trip will take you on one of a couple of different routes that we use. The main route is along the Gazzel which is a large headland just a short paddle from our centre. Alternatively we will take you along a sheltered stretch of river located a short drive from the centre.
What will I learn?
Your instructor will cover everything you need to know to safely and effectively navigate your way along the route. Before hitting the water they will teach you about your kayak and its features, fitting and adjusting your backrest, the paddle and basic paddling technique, instructor and client signals, launching procedure, how to get in the kayak and what to do if you capsize. Once in the water you will be taught more advanced paddling techniques such as turning, spinning and reversing which will help you effectively navigate the intricate coastline.
Will I need to carry the kayak?
We have purpose built wheels that make moving the kayaks very easy over longer distances. The kayaks also have carry handles if they need to be lifted into and out of the water, normally just before launching and after landing. We are based at the beach so if conditions are right it is literally 30 metres to the sand!
What games can be played whilst kayaking?
Almost any game you can play on land, you can play in a kayak. Group numbers will dictate which games can be played. Playground games such as Bulldog and Tag are great for large groups. King of the kayak (dual balancing challenge) is great on an upturned double kayak. Simple sprint races or technical races around obstacles are a fun way to improve paddling skills. We also take a ball to play netball/basketball style games. Please feel free to suggest other creative games to your instructor!
What equipment will I be issued?
You will be kitted out with a full-length wetsuit, sit on top single or double kayak, a buoyancy aid, helmet, paddle and adjustable backrest.
What equipment does the instructor carry?
Your instructor will be carrying a first aid kit, mobile phone/ VHF radio and a Towline that can be used to assist weak or tired paddlers if needed. They can also carry water on hot days and client medication (e.g. Asthma Inhalers) in a waterproof bag.
What wildlife can I expect to see during the session?
Our ocean-based route along Towan headland is rich in wildlife. Common sightings include Grey Seals, and an array of birdlife. There is also the possibility to see Dolphins, Sun Fish, Lion’s mane jellyfish, and Basking Sharks have previously been spotted in the area (don’t worry, they are completely harmless and have no teeth). Our river based route in the Gannel estuary is very in rich in Birdlife including Herrings, Iceland and Franklin Gulls.
What stage of tide is suitable for kayaking?
Our ocean-based route can be navigated on any stage of tide. Our river route on the Gannel estuary is accessible between mid and high tide.
What if it is windy?
We do not run kayaking sessions in winds above force 3.
What if I get too tired to continue paddling?
Your instructor will continuously be monitoring your fatigue levels. There are several exit points along the route so you will not be forced to complete the full session. Your instructor is trained to assist weak paddlers and can tow you to the nearest exit or to the final landing point.
What happens If I leave the session early?
Your instructor will escort you to a safe exit route from where you can walk back to the centre or if needed they can phone the centre to arrange for you to be collected and driven back.
Can I bring my own Kayak?
Yes. If you have a suitable sit on top (open cockpit) kayak you are welcome to bring it. If you are new to kayaking we strongly advise that you take a coaching session before heading out on the water alone. Your instructor will need to check that is in a suitable condition first. We do not accommodate for sit in (closed cockpit) kayaks.
Will I get seasick?
In bumpy conditions, if you are prone to it, it is possible to get seasick whilst kayaking. If you are prone to seasickness we recommend you take whatever measures you normally would before going to sea.
How fit do I need to be to go kayaking?
Providing you have fulfilled the minimum requirement of 50 metres swimming capability and you have no current health issues or injuries preventing you from participating in adventurous activity you are welcome to come. Don’t worry, it’s not a race and you are not expected to be an Olympic level paddler! Your instructor will make sure the group moves at the pace of the slowest paddler and will assist weak paddlers when needed.
Can I bring my own wetsuit?
Yes. Feel free to bring to your own wetsuit but we recommend that you do not arrive at the centre wearing it. Your instructor will check that it is suitable for the activity first.
What if the weather changes during the session?
Your instructor will have checked the forecast before leaving to determine if conditions are suitable for the duration of the session. However, if the weather or sea state deteriorates there is several exit points along the route should the session need to be aborted early.
What is the difference between the single and double kayaks?
Single Kayaks can accommodate one person. They can be carried relatively easily by two people using the toggles at either end. Single Kayaks are slightly more manoeuvrable but also less stable than double kayaks. Double kayaks are wide and stable and will comfortably seat two adults and small children are able to sit in front of adults. When paddling, double kayaks are a little quicker than singles as they track through the water well.
Is it safe?
All our Instructors are fully qualified British Canoeing Paddlesport leaders as well as Beach and Surf Safety Lifeguards. Our instructors have years of personal experience in the water, and attend regular site-specific staff training. We also work in close partnership with the RNLI to ensure your safety in and out of the water.
Why should I go Kayaking with Newquay Activity Centre?
We have a purpose built centre on the beach with changing rooms and lockers. Many of our kayak sessions run straight off the beach on our doorstep. Other awesome locations only a short walk or 5 minute drive away. Great discounts for all customers in local shops, bars and restaurants. We are number 1 on Trip Advisor for activities in Newquay.
Can I go Kayaking in Winter?
Yes. We are open all year round to offer all of our activities including kayaking. Thanks to the gulf stream, Cornwall enjoys relatively mild winters with sea temperatures rarely dropping below 10 degrees even in coldest months. We provide you with a thick 5mm winter wetsuit and neoprene wetsuit socks to keep you warm. We also have heated changing rooms at the centre.
What time should I arrive for my session?
Please arrive at the centre at the start time of your session. This can be found on your booking confirmation email. There is no parking immediately outside the centre so please allow plenty of time to park and walk down to the centre on Fore Street. Once there your instructor will welcome you.
Will my valuables be safe?
Yes. We provide every group with a valuables box that will go into a locker during your session. However, your clothes, shoes and towels can be left in the changing rooms.
Can I wear my glasses in the water?
For water sports it is generally best not to wear glasses if possible. Talk to your instructor and explain what level of sight you have without glasses and they will advise. If the conditions are calm it should not be a problem, however we always suggest you fit a cord/lanyard or tie them securely onto your buoyancy aid. Using disposable contact lenses is advisable.
Should I wear sun cream?
Yes! We advise all our customers to apply factor 30 or 50 waterproof sun cream before sessions; even on cloudy days as UV levels can still be high. Applying cream 20 minutes before your session will ensure that it is absorbed and fully effective by the time you start and will be less likely to run once wet.
Can I watch if I am not taking part?
Yes. The instructor can explain where the session will be taking place and suggest areas where you may be able to safely observe. Whilst most sessions can be observed and photos taken, we strongly advise that you do not put yourself at any unnecessary risk. Kayaking along the coastline will normally take place relatively close to cliff face and you will not always be able to observe the group.
What if I need to cancel my session?
Our cancellation policy is outlined in our terms and conditions. If cancellation occurs 4 weeks or more from the activity’s start date then a full refund will be issued. If the session is cancelled 2-3 weeks before start date then a 50% refund will be given. Unfortunately if the cancellation occurs less than 2 weeks to activity’s start date then no refund can be issued. If the booking is changed more than 21 days prior to the Experience we will make every effort to change the requested booking. Less than 21 days prior to the start, no changes can be made.
Is my session likely to be cancelled for any reason?
If the weather or sea conditions are not suitable for kayaking we will cancel the session and offer you an alternative activity that is available on the same day. In the unlikely event that we cannot offer another activity we will issue you with a voucher for the value of the activity.
Am I insured?
Yes. All our sessions are fully insured up to £10million and are covered in the price of the activity.