need a wetsuit in Monterey in Oct?

My husband and I are beginner paddlers. We are going on a tour of Elkhorn Slough in early October. The kayak outfitter told us that we wouldn’t need wetsuits at that time of year, but another outfitter I spoke to in San Francisco said that we would. What do you guys think? I’ve been trying to find information on the water temperature out there at that time of year but I can’t find anything. Thanks in advance!

I’ve paddled in Elkhorn slough twice,
the only times I’ve been in a kayak. The rental company put me in a boat that I don’t think I could have turned over if I tried, and the estuary itself is not very wide, not very deep and pretty well protected from wind or wave action.

I expect that most places, even if you did tip over, that you could just stand up.

If I had a wetsuit, and it wasn’t an issue to take with me, I would probably take it along so I had a choice. But I don’t, I didn’t, and, even for a very cautious person, which I consider myself, it seemed safe enough.

Enjoy seeing the Sea Otters and other wildlife.

Thanks so much for the help! I’ll post pictures when I get back! :slight_smile:

Pretty much as SS said except…
The Wind. Sometimes it blows so hard that it’s difficult to return (assuming you start at the harbor where the rental store is).


water temp
Water temp in Monterey right now is 60.3 degrees. This is taken at the wharf, I think, so not totally representative of Elkhorn Slough.

Elkhorn may be a touch higher, being a slough out of the bay, but likely not a lot higher. But in October, temps will probably be slightly lower than right now. These two likely offset each other, so I would guess that you can expect water at about 60F.

Air temps should be decent in October. 70s and sunny.

I generally wear my wetsuit up until water temps get into the 60s, and then switch to a paddle shirt (usually one that is equal to 0.5 mm neoprene when temps are borderline).

I haven’t rented in a while, but when I last did, wetsuits were included as part of the price of rental, if you wanted one.

I disagree with the post above about the water being shallow, where you can stand. Parts are, of course. Like if you find the channels in Rubis Creek. But the main slough seems pretty deep to me. There is a lot of water that goes in and out with the tide and seasonal river flow, and this digs a deep channel.

Side note - there is a kayaking map of the slough online at

what goes on the bottom?
Thanks, Peter! That is very helpful. What do you wear for bottoms when you wear a paddle shirt?

bathing suit

– Last Updated: Sep-13-08 1:06 AM EST –

Actually, just running shorts (I started wearing them instead of bathing suits on trips, as they take up less space when packed). Usually water socks for shoes.

I use a sit inside kayak with a skirt, so the legs are somewhat insulated. If a sit on top, you may need to worry more about keeping legs warm from breeze, air temp, and splash.

Oh, what I said about air temp in Oct - it is very dependent on whether the fog is out. If the fog is in, expect temps more like 55-60F. I paddled today off of Point Reyes, and I don't think the air temp ever got above 60 there.

thanks again!
I don’t think I ever posted back here to thank you guys for the help. I wore a long-sleeved rash guard, shorts and paddle jacket that day and it was perfect. Thanks again!:slight_smile: