Difference between sea kayaking & wwk.it

and that reminds me of an instructor
I took a course from, but it was avalanche training for back country. When we did peeps training he told us he wanted to dispel the common notion that Peeps made it safe to ski in avalanche prone areas. “You wear a transmitter so your friends won’t get too cold looking for your body.” I don’t think I would want to be an instructor in adventure sports; people die from not learning to do things properly.

One of those long boat confusions
People call anything 14 ft and up a sea kayak, and the person paddling it a sea kayaker, whether or not they’d know what to do with breaking waves at their stern coming into a landing. And I have been out with WW folks who were astounded that everyone out of a pod of several people in a sea kayak could roll at all, let alone in any moving water. (There is a nice practice area just below a class 2 run locally that is great for getting your boat under you each spring.)

Personally I don’t call everyone in a long boat a sea kayaker, because there are many I would not want to actually be on the sea with. There is a category of flat water paddler that truly needs flat water, and even ocean bays on a cranky day aren’t flat.

But there is no way I have ever found to identify this. Lake paddler? Try Champlain on a day when the wind has been blowing hard out of the north or south over a long fetch… it is hardly flat.

Maybe we need to put some basic rating recomendations together for paddlers in general. Moving water paddlers rate themselves based on what rapids they feel meets their ability. ACA has some basic 1-5 levels for instruction purposes. Since conditions change so much for open water, maybe the industry needs to have a basic clasification. Maybe there is one and I’ve missed it?

For example Class I boater rates for slow rivers and windless/waveless inland lakes and bays. A Class V boater is comfortable most coastal or open water environments with conditions exceeding X. Is comfortable performing various self and assisted rescues in same conditions?

Maybe the ACA levls are the “recognized” skill levels for paddlers, but I’ve only seen them in reference to the type of instruction, potential instructors will be able to instruct.

Been suggested but…
Really, the only way to tell is to know who you paddle with.

Kayak doesn’t make kayaker
Celia, I completely agree that just because you own a kayak doesn’t make you a kayaker. Anytime I read about a rec boater who meets an untimely demise, we all get lumped together. Most of the time this person had zero knowledge, lack of understanding of the potential danger and a poorly outfitted boat for the situation. Zero knowledge of self rescue skills. No PFD. No immersion gear, etc. but we all get lumped together in the media.

I’m a sea kayaker
We have a club in our town that consists entirely of recreational boats and I bet 80% would consider themsleves sea kayakers. I attended one of their monthly meetings with a buddy who was asked to do a presenation on kayak sailing (I was there for moral support). As part of the discussion we talked about touring and all the things you needed to be on the water for a week or more. A portion of the presentation included our circumnavigation of Isle Royal in chilly Lake Superior (120 miles).

Afterwards one of the attendees came up to me all excited and said “I’m so glad you are here, I want to do what you guys do!” He started rattling off all his gear, “I have this tent, this sleeping bag,” etc. etc. He followed up with, “how do I get in with you on your trips?”

I didn’t know this guy from Adam, but after briefly talking about safety and having the conditioning to be on the water for a week or more, I got the sense that the guy had more spirit than ability. I asked “so what are you paddling, something in the 15-16ft range?” His response was, “I have this great 10ft sit on top kayak, its’ stable, I’ve never fallen out, I wear a wet suit, I have dry bags for my gear,” etc.

At that point in the conversation, I winced not wanting to go into all the reasons, he’d have a hard time joining on a true sea kayak touring trip. I also didn’t want to ding his enthusiasm for paddling but I wished him well, asked him if he’s paddled to a couple of neat places in the region and I mentioned he might want to give a sea kayak a try and gave him my email address. I haven’t heard from him, but nonethless, I guarantee that guy is a “sea kayaker.” If he reaches out I’ll gladly show him the ropes.

common mindset

– Last Updated: Mar-26-14 10:31 AM EST –

I know a few people who do truly tour in boats that are not cruising kayaks. I know them from a kayak fishing group I belong to. There are sometimes outings which include long paddles to barrier islands, paddling through surf and even some near shore excursions out to maybe 3 miles. They don't do outings in the sea unless it is warm and the forecast is good. They don't expect the group to move at high speed. Basic safety gear is required but there are definitely a few people that would need rescue help if they go in and there are people who are likely to have difficulty at some point. But that's the way those trips work and people know that going in.

"Didn’t want to ding his enthusiasm"
You’re wise not to tread too heavily on the dire predictions and other scare tactics, even while trying to break the news to him. It’s hard to find a balance. I’ve been on both sides of this equation.

What scares me is a common tendency for people to assume that because X started when/where/how the same way they did–or worse yet because they simply were acquainted with X–therefore they can do all the stuff that X now does. They conveniently overlook that X might have spend thousands of hours working on “boring” or “technique” building blocks that help get him or her from a wish to a reality. And that X always looked for more knowledge, never considering the status quo to be enough. Potential is not the same as making actual.

Another thing that scares me is the attempt to minimize real hazards that they have been warned about. A good example is the woman who approached me last fall after I returned from paddling in an area that novices are told in no uncertain terms to never go (strong currents, among other things). She asked hopefully, “You don’t need to know much about the tides here, do you?” I was astounded by this question and tried to hide my dismay when I told her that, on the contrary it was very important to know about “the tides”, especially the flow directions and speeds. I told her there was another area nearby where it was not critical, although helpful, but she wasn’t interested in that. Instead, she asked, “What about such-and-such place?” where such knowledge was every bit as important. I finally had to say, “If you don’t know the basics about tides and their flows, that is not the place to start.”

But what probably happened afterwards was that she went fishing for a different answer more to her liking, from someone else. Hopefully, she went on a guided tour. It’s hard to help someone who is trolling for approval rather than really trying to learn.

Head to Zoar or anywhere for WW 101-
104 (etc). Imho spending time in WW(ie moving water) is THE way to start, but it all starts with learning how to relax the hips and learn how to use upper/lower-body separation to one’s advantage…


Ferrying is ferrying, sea or ww, unless
you happen to have a kayak that is really brilliant at ferrying. Flattish bottom, some rocker, distinct chines. All of my boats that have those characteristics (two OC-1s, a slalom c-1, and a Noah Magma) are absolutely brilliant at ferrying, being able to “fly” across strong currents at amazingly acute angles.

Otherwise, my roundish kayaks, c-1s, and OC-1s ferry acceptably, as long as I don’t let the angle between the boat and the current get too large.

Specialized wave surfing kayaks would probably be brilliant at ferrying strong river currents. Might not be useful for much else on rivers, though.