Life is about the journey - some roads are not always what they seem but you sure learn a great deal from them!
Published May 22nd 2012
If you're tired of the gym, and who isn't, consider kayaking, an offbeat approach to exercise but one that might just keep you coming back.
Kayaking is a simple recreational activity that is equally great for experienced swimmers looking for a new thrill or first-timers seeking a unique view of Manhattan island. It's also a great workout that builds lean muscle while conditioning the upper body.
The New York Kayak Company, located at Pier 40 in Manhattan, is committed to teaching both beginners and experienced river enthusiasts. They offer a variety of biweekly workshops in several price levels.
In Fundamentals I, beginners are taught water safety skills as well as basic maneuvering techniques for guiding your kayak up and down the Hudson River. The majority of the three-hour class is taught in the water, so leave your No. 2 pencils at home. Class sizes are small; two licensed instructors spend plenty of time with each boater, demonstrating specific techniques and addressing things like quickly reversing a capsize. After one or two classes (Fundamentals II continues where the first class left off and also teaches athletes how to improve their strokes), instructors give the go ahead on who is eligible to reach for the brass ring—a guided trip by kayak down the Hudson and back.
Beginners needn't bring more than a swimsuit, sunscreen, bottled water, a towel, and if they desire, a padlock (lockers are provided for keeping personal belongings safe during your adventure). Separate men's and women's changing rooms are also on-site. Reservations are required 48-hours in advance for classes and all equipment is provided, including a life-vest.
Another popular sport gaining ground is stand-up paddle boarding, which is also offered by New York Kayak Company for both beginners and experienced boaters. This dynamic sport combines the thrills of kayaking with the agility one might see demonstrated in surfing or skateboarding. Enthusiasts are taught how to keep their balance while skillfully moving through the river in an upright position on a paddle board. Those gondoliers in Central Park have nothing on you.
Like kayaking instruction, weekly stand-up paddle boat classes are also held on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings (beginners in both disciplines are encouraged to take the Saturday classes when the river is calmer). Again, reservations are required at least 48-hours in advance, so make a plan to gear up and head out.