Beginner Advice

I’m new to paddling this year. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it so far. I started on flatwater lakes in the area, and have moved up to slow moving rivers with just some minor riffles and ledges. My next camping trip is going to be at the Chesapeake Bay and I can’t fathom going near water without my kayak along. Any advice for a newbie when trying new types of water? I plan to stay pretty close to shore, but I would expect the tidal water will be a bit of a different paddle then I am used to. Thanks in advance.

New paddling places
That’s the magic. New places and different kinds of paddling experiences. Talk to local paddlers,they are usually a friendly lot and will be glad to give you all kinds of advice. Ask locals about tides and currents . Most marinas as well as kayak and canoe outfitters will have tide tables which are usually free. Good luck. Vaughn Fulton

Pay attention to the tides
Plan accordingly. I planned my first ever saltwater paddling trip based on MY schedule rather than Mama’s (that’d be Mother Nature). It was just an afternoon paddle in and around Chincoteague, but I figured the timing all wrong and wound up fighting tide both ways. If I had paid attention and gone the opposite directions, I’d have exerted less effort, been safer, seen more, and generally had a better time going WITH the tide instead of fighting it.

I don’t think the tide on most of the Chesapeake is as strong as in the barrier island channels, but I guess if you’re in one of the areas with strong tidal currents it doesn’t much matter what the rest of the Bay is like does it?

Have fun, be safe.

  • Big D

For most of the Bay - wind
Tide depends on where you will be camping. As a general rule, any area that narrows, like inlets, will have stronger tidal currents. Otherwise, watch wind, fetch, and direction. If on the eastern shore and the wind is from the east, the land will block it and you’ll be fine close to shore. But if from the west, you’ll have choppy conditions. Use a waterproof VHF radio on the Bay, a chart, compass & stay out of the shipping channel. Look out for late afternoon squalls. Have fun!

As someone who just went out on the Bay for the first time this year, a few tips.

Don’t plan on being out for long. The chop is exhausting. Especially if you aren’t used to constantly interacting with waves, you’ll feel it in your middle.

There is a lot of boating traffic, a lot of power boats and jet skis. They love to show off how much power they have, and they are not watching for you. Fortunately, you can hear them before you see them. Stick to the shallows and you’ll avoid their path, but the wake magnifies off of the bottom. It might be better near campgrounds, but don’t count on it.

If your boat weathervanes, you are not going to go straight ahead. You might go straight with your nose pointed to the side, though.

Sunscreen is a must. Especially waterproof.

SELL the Kayak
Is my advice. The paddling disease is already setting in and it is not cureable.

Happy paddling!


Relax and go with the flow …
“Don’t plan on being out for long. The chop is exhausting.” Not sure this is accurate for most or good advice.

The best thing to do in choppy waves is to relax, loosen up your hips and abs and let the boat do the work of staying upright, use your paddle to brace as needed and learn to use the FORCE, you will feel a connection between the water the boat and the blade that keeps you upright and moving forward… or back or sideways or whatever you want.

The best advice is to plan on getting as much water time as you can and it will come naturally like riding a bike or skiing through moguls. Time on moving water is what you want to get the most of.

Right, riding the waves and staying upright isn’t what is tiring. It is fighting the energy of the wave and wind going in a direction different than where you want to go.

Not to mention those sprints across the channels jet skis and power boats use.

post on the monocacy canoe club board…
…or the Balt canoe club.

Also check with Brad at Stark Moon Kayaks and

see if he knows someone else who might be going


What kind of a boat do you have?

First I wanted to thank everyone for all the advice.

For rroberts; I have a Dagger Blackwater, basic newbie boat. Will it be adequate for mild surf?