Kayaking is one of the most interesting ways to explore a river or the sea for an adventurous person. It is also one of the healthiest ways to unwind. Whether you are new to kayaking or have lots of experience, there are a few conditions that you will encounter in the sea that you need to be prepared for. Here is a list of those conditions and what to do while facing them.
The wind can be your enemy or your friend depending on its direction. When it blows in the direction you are heading, it helps you along. But when it is in the opposite direction, it can really test your endurance. If you are an experienced kayaker, you will be able to handle wind speeds up to 20mph. But higher wind speeds than that can really make things difficult. winds at sea can change suddenly without any warning.
There are three main concepts to keep in mind while kayaking in windy weather – physical fitness, correct paddling technique and vectoring. While the wind blows in a direction that is against you, it really tests your fitness and the only way to overcome it is to practice more. The correct technique while paddling can significantly reduce the effort it takes and ensures that you don’t get exhausted soon. When faced with broadside winds, the path you take to the destination doesn’t follow a straight line. It becomes curved instead. You can use a technique called vectoring which makes use of a compass to paddle to a point slightly upwind of your desired destination. The force of the wind will automatically make sure you reach your destination.
There are two types of current you will encounter while kayaking in the sea – rip currents and tidal currents. Each presents its own unique challenges. Currents that take you further out in the sea and move perpendicular to the shore are rip currents. Tidal currents are caused by the rise and fall of tides and have a much stronger effect. Just like in high-speed winds, navigating fast moving tidal currents requires you to be very fit physically. You can use the vectoring technique to reduce the effort required to kayak through fast currents and make the currents work to your advantage. If you plan well in advance, you can avoid the fast paced tidal currents.
One of the key differences between river and sea kayaking is the waves. Hence, sea kayaks are specially designed to handle waves. If you are new to sea kayaking, then waves upto a height of 3 ft will be manageable. However, if you are an exerience sea kayaker, then you would be able to handle waves of even 6 ft. However, keep in mind that as the height of the waves increases, the risks associated with breaking them also increses. This is why you should always wear helmets while kayaking in the sea. It is best if you practice kayaking in waves in frendly shore bays or protected bays before venturing out to the sea. You should also practice high and low bracing so that you don’t capsize even on a high wave.
As with anything else, the best way to improve your kayaking skills is by practicing more and more. You can always practice with an instructor or a friend who had more experience kayaking than you. This will ensure you learn new techniques and perfect the ones you already know.
Make sure to check all these before you hit the open waters with your kayaks. Safety in kayaking must be a priority.