Biggest wave(s) you have ever kayaked

Last weekend I was playing in the wake of other boats in my Cape Horn 15. A couple of big yachts put off what I would say were 2 ft. waves…out in the open bay. I had a ball! Most importantly though…the kayak handled them with no problem.

I Was wondering how big of waves people have dared to go out and play in.

Taking the waves on …bow straight forward seemed to be the best approach. Also, letting them push me back in to shore…was soooo relaxing!


Check out this website… and enjoy the video of some good sized swells.


4-5 foot breakers and
6-8 foot swells off Ocean City, Md. It was WAY cool. I want to do it some more.

Last Summer…
when hurricane Ophelia hit North Carolina, I was in Myrtle Beach…played in the surf like crazy! It was great coming off the backside of the waves, like a coaster. I guess they were honestly about 4-5 foot swells. Loved it.

About 2 inches? I think I handled them well, though. I could almost feel them move the yak.


This was a pretty big day

– Last Updated: Jun-15-06 11:08 PM EST –

Ventura January 2004

Some of the set waves were 18'.

I was safely on the beach with a camera by then.

8 inches
"I Was wondering how big of waves people have dared to go out and play in."

8 inches, trough to crest. Windy day. Went belly up. Twice.

Try These Babies On For Size

Tough question
As you’ve already noticed, accounting for the wave ski folks gets into some big stuff. And there are people who check in on this board but less frequently post who I know have paddled out of Wales (as in Great Britain), where 12 and 15 ft swells and five plus foot standing waves in tidal races are pretty common.

To summarize what is out there that people have done - really damned big.

6-8 ft. breaking lake waves
Had about half an hour of 6 footers with the occasional 8 last fall on Lake Superior. Once we shot through a small oepning out of the main assault we were back to some smaller stuff. Lake waves are steep, fast, breaking and nothing like swell. When you head off the top of one it’s a long way down with a hell of a landing. They can be a lot of fun though.

Remember, three feet are going to be about as tall as you are. It’s easy to exagerate that wave height.

I tried to find the link to the video
Geoff Jennings has the clip of these pics from the oil platform in the 2005 surf contest video but the link I have does not show the video any more. Dave Johnston’s big wave in that video is pretty impressive cool.

I took my kayak down to Cardiff that morning, Big Wednesday, last December and did not even try to paddle out. It was huge.

Waves vs swell
breaking waves are an entirely different animal from swell.

Swell is pretty easy keep your hips loose and you’re 3/4 of the way home

Breaking waves put a lot of force on the kayak

Both have flipped me over.

White Nuckle Training Day
Ocean swell way, way, over my head. High enough that when on top of one you could not see the other paddlers in the trough over the next wave. And add a two or three foot wind blown cross-chop on top of the swells.

Paddling through that was bad enough, for me, but then the instructor took us to the beach for beach landings and launchings. The small breakers were shoulder high and the ones we tried to avoid were over head high.

Happy Paddling,


… Ocean swells are different … I gotta to get used to them.

Went of the other day near the mouth of Naragansett bay (RI) … very long swells … about a foot and half or so, but way spread out. I’m used to 1 - 2’ waves in the upper bay. Felt much more “twitchy” in the swells, especially taking them on the beam … feels like I’m moving side to side as well as up and down, vs. a basic wave that you just go up and over.

Gonna go out again this weekend …

They always look bigger…
…all I know is that the offshore bouy was saying 12’ swells. Big fun, very educational.:wink:

Swells and waves
Until this last weekend with the marine predictions off of Woods Hole I tended to listen for wind, wave height and period in that order in the marine forecast for offshore waters where we vacation in Maine.

Then I heard three feet and 4 second periods… hard pressed to figure out if that is officially a swell or a wave, but put it on top of a tidal race with 15-20 knot winds and it’s steep no matter how you name it. I left with a good bit more respect for that area.

You’ll get used to it. It is disconcerting when it feels like you’re being pushed around, but there’s no point in fighting it. Try to stay loose and feel what the water’s doing.

I like sitting just outside the break zone with my bow facing shore. It’s like being in a really big rocking chair with a great view.

in a long boat???short boat???
long boat been out in 8’ seas off of Sakonnet point…FUN!

short boat surfing- 10-12’ i got to realising that might be a little muchand the FIANCEE might kill me if the sea did not-then played int he 4’ tall soup…

NE Beginner-drop a line to my email if you know you are coming down this way-meet up…

Best thing for practice to get comfy is play at a beach (where the life watchers-i mean guards will leave you alone) in the breaking surf…get the bracing down pat…then got out further-plus you might find out you enjoy it!


Different Perspectives For Sure
betweem hardcore surf paddlers and paddlers who happen on surf occaisonally.