There's nothing quite like watching the landscape unfold as you turn the corners of a winding river, hearing the gentle splash of the water as it falls off your paddle. You're in a kayak, and the waterways of Oklahoma are yours to explore.
Whether you're a seasoned paddler or are looking to get out for the first time, OKC RIVERSPORT can help.
“We offer a variety of ways to learn about the sport,” said Aasim Saleh, who coaches OKC's nationally competitive junior sprint kayaking program. “Whether your goals are to learn to paddle before your next vacation, to take up the popular sport of kayak fishing, or to join a competitive team, we can get you there.
“And with OKC's whitewater center opening in a couple of years, we're already offering experiences that will get people ready to get on the rapids.”
Saleh suggests determining the type of kayaking you're interested in first — flatwater lake or river kayaking, whitewater moving river or surf kayaking, or kayak fishing.
“If a leisurely paddle of lakes and rivers is your speed, flatwater kayaking is your sport,” Saleh said. “Our coaches can teach you the basics in our Discover Kayaking class held Wednesday nights in the Boathouse District and at Lake Overholser.”
OKC RIVERSPORT also hosts group outings at its Lake Overholser location, including a kayak excursion into the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge and an evening excursion on Lake Overholser under the light of the full moon.
“The moonlight reflecting off the water lights up the whole lake. It's a great outing for couples or families,” Saleh said.
For those who want to get their heart pumping, Saleh recommends whitewater kayaking and the fast pace of flatwater sprint kayaking or dragon boating.
“Moving fast, whether it's the water causing you to respond quickly or your own strength carrying you rapidly across the water, is something that appeals to the inner thrill-seeker in us all,” Saleh said. “I see it come out in every athlete I coach, from the 8- year-olds to the seniors who join us for the Wise Dragons team in our dragon boat league.”
Many anglers across the country are swapping bass boats for kayaks, making kayak fishing one of the fastest-growing segments of the sport.
“Saving money on gas is just one of the perks of kayak fishing,” Saleh said. “If you're not sure this is something you're ready to get into, the best way to determine so is to bring your rod and tackle and give it a try. We've got the equipment to get you on the water and offer guided kayak fishing charters Thursday nights at Lake Overholser.”
Purchasing the equipment to go out on your own is an investment that shouldn't be taken lightly, Saleh said.
“If you're ready to take that step, it's worth your time to try before you buy, and that's a great reason to take a class or go on a group excursion,” Saleh said.
“You have the chance to try boats and paddles, learn about proper paddling technique, and can talk to our staff about what equipment will suit you and where to find some of the best places to kayak in Oklahoma.”