Sandy Hook, New Jersey

I’ve been kayaking for a few years and I’m thinking that I need to upgrade my gear. I have a plan with a friend for this summer to kayak from Sandy Hook to Coney Island. I’m basically just asking for advice as to what kind of kayak I should buy. I also would like to get a GPS

Lots of options but one course of action
Test Paddle

While I’m going to be biased towards the brands I carry (P&H, Valley, North Shore and Venture, along w used/consignment kayaks) there are a lot of model suggestions for which I’m sure others will chime in on. Putting boats on water will be the only way to determine which combination of features best click with you and your kayaking goals.

A 2 hour drive north of you brings you my Boathouse on the Hudson.

Let me know when you’d like to make a day trip.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

many could work
Many kayaks could work. The distance is not that great (looks like maybe 5 miles), but it is open water. Absolute no no to me would be a recreational class or white water class boat. I think most people would automatically lean toward a touring/sea kayak class kayak, but a reasonably efficient sit on top could likely also work.

If you are not sure about the different categories of kayaks, check out the article in the Spring 2013 issue (#10) of California Kayaker Magazine - can be read online at

I don’t know your experience level - the bigger concern for me is that crossing would be crossing the big ship channel. Lots of added risks to this. Also, very likely that stretch would be impacted (possibly heavily) by tidal currents.

sandy hook
I did a couple efforts out there recently–not all the way across to Coney Island. The boat I used was the Valley Aquanaut----17.4 by 22.

The rocker handled a lot of the changeable conditions very well. It’s a busy place and every time I went there it was an adventure. So it’s a pretty cool place. Personally I would thinktwice about crossing all the way. But then again I’m no expert paddler.

Sandy Hook
I have 2 Seda Vikings and they can’t be beat for stability, payload (450#), and strength. I paid extra for Kevlar but think its worth it. You’ll want the deployable rudder in crosswinds and currents.

what do you paddle right now?
Perhaps we should figure out where you right now before deciding where you should go.

sandy hook
Right now I have an 8’ Flex. It’s a starter kayak but I’ve been pushing the limits with it for about 4 years in the rougher parts of the Shrewsbury river. When I take it to Sandy Hook I can really feel that I need something more stable.

8ft rec boat is, usually, as stable as they get.

I am quite sure there will be oodles of folks throwing many kayaks at you.

My advice - perhaps you could invest in some formal training? - a typical ACA L3/BCU 3* class will put you in a more sea worthy kayak, teach you about wind, tide, waves surf - conditions you might encounter on you adventure.

Yes,you will want something bigger. Especially if you launch out at the nudist colony.

Sandy Hook to Coney Island
Takes you across some very busy and potentially rough water. Lots of tugs, ships, other commercial vessels making heavy wakes. Not a place for the inexperienced no matter what the kayak. And don’t do it alone.

More stable than an 8’ Flex?

– Last Updated: Jan-23-14 11:40 AM EST –

If that is what you think you need for this trip, you are not ready for it.

The only way to be safe on a trip like that, even in company with others, is to be prepared to capsize and recover. If you have companions that can handle problems you can get away with not having a reliable roll, though it would be a better idea. But at the least you need to be able to capsize and be back in your boat within a few minutes. Like 3 or 4 tops, 2 minutes should be the goal. As others have mentioned, you are messing with major ship traffic that cannot stop on a dime as well as tidal influences. You can't spend a lot of time out there recovering from a problem.

Get some training in a proper sea kayak, learn recoveries and at least start towards a roll, then think about what is needed for a trip like this.

sandy hook
I managed to find a video of someone using the same kayak I have. Just so we’re all clear as to what I have been using

rec boat
As the others have been saying, that is a rec boat.

Two points

– Last Updated: Jan-22-14 11:03 PM EST –

1) It is a rec boat, hence unlikely to have prepared you to feel comfortable in the about 22 inch wide boat that is the correct choice for a trip like this.
2) It doesn't matter what boat you are in - if you want something more stable than a rec boat, there are good reasons to suggest that you need some skills work to make a trip like this.

I don’t think so …
… you better listen to them !!

Marine radio
This trip will be kind of like paddling on a 80 degree spring day in 40 degree water. It is great fun and anyone can do it. But if anything goes wrong, you are in deep trouble.

I would suggest a few things:

  1. Learn the tides
  2. Learn the schedule of the Sea Streak, a very high speed ferry that you may encounter. You are invisible to the captain.
  3. Get a marine radio and learn how to use it. If you have to choose between a GPS and radio, get the radio.
  4. Only go on an ideal forecast.
  5. Sit under the Verazzano Bridge and watch the big ships as they come in to port. They are deceptively fast, and you are completely invisible to them.

    Also, of note, Saturdays are busier than Sundays in Ambrose Channel.


Can you make it across? Yes, but …
Can you also get in trouble and not make it across? Yes too! That’s the issue, not the kayak. From your answers so far, you are either a troll or completely unprepared and should NOT attempt this before taking a few lessons from good coaches.

“Which kayak?” should be the last question you need to ask…

Jersey Paddler
Before you do this, go down to Jersey Paddler in Brick Township, NJ (they are one of the largest dealers on the East Coast) and have a chat with them. Then sign up for their introductory sea kayaking class. As the others have said, what you are planning is potentially very dangerous.