Sea Kayaking Skills - Comments?

-- Last Updated: Oct-20-16 2:29 PM EST --

Below is a link to an article from Adventure Magazine where the writer lists 7 crucial sea kayaking skills. I admit to fails here. My fancy alternative to a bilge pump is a battery powered electric one, which is not as handy as a foot pump. And my re-enter and roll is only fully reliable if I have a paddle float on the end of the paddle.

I see one shortfall, navigation via a chart and compass. But that is a Maine thing, where you can get surrounded by pea soup fog with the damp sucking the life out of your GPS batteries.

Being able to get to land thru surf, and re-enter the kayak without having a perfect roll, are very pragmatic.

So it is grey and rainy and I thought it a good day to throw this out for comments. Here is the link -

picking nits
Learning a proper stroke

Low brace

These are both sort of implied.

How to make a tow line is good, but how to safely use one is part of it, no?

Meh… kind of a bs “article”

– Last Updated: Oct-20-16 3:58 PM EST –

Before long we'll have to click for each separate skill.
Missed number one, which is using your most important asset, your brain, to make good judgment and decisions before you even get on the water. Having a good plan, knowing your route and potential hazards, and being aware of conditions and weather are more important than having the latest gear, or 5 star skills. I believe it used to be known as seamanship.
Using a chart and compass and being able to read it well and stay found would be my number two skill...
But that's just my 2 cents...

look on the bright side
at least it wasn’t one of those annoying “slideshow” online articles you have to leaf through.

I agree… not a lot of thought in this
I guess I do too much paddling alone, but a bilge pump and a tow line are pretty useless unless you have someone else paddling with you.

What’s the point of choosing a point for a surf landing or launch if you can’t execute reliably in surf and roll or self rescue when things go bad. Seems like a lot of skills about keeping out of trouble are more important than VHF radio skills.

not so big on the “making” skills
You can buy a hand bilge pump or tow rope off the shelf that do just fine, so the skill of learning how to make these don’t seem that useful to me. I can see some value in modifying a tow rope, as many people do modify off the shelf versions, but can’t see any real benefit to the skill of knowing how to make a bilge pump.

I didn’t look at the article, but…
My sea kayaking skills consist of :

  1. Don’t go out unless you have a good weather report
  2. Don’t go out unless you are with another partner that you have practiced assisted rescue with.
  3. When you come to washing machine conditions that scare you, don’t be a jackass and continue- turn back

    That criteria has kept me safe for the past twenty years with many many long off shore paddles, so I’ll just stick with that.

    From all the reports that I have read over the years, it seems to me there are two groups that get into trouble.
  4. The pros that know it all and push their luck!
  5. the newbies that are too stupid and end up in trouble.

    Jack L

I see multiple shortfalls
That would help keep you out of trouble in the first place

Nothing said about navigation and following rules of the road

Nothing said about winds and tides and the interaction between the two. Nothing said about estimating your position in the fog using last known position time elapsed and tidal current vector

I won’t call the article fluff but it’s incomplete

cut gallon water jug

– Last Updated: Oct-20-16 9:02 PM EST –

on a 1/8th shock cord. careful with that.

learning to roll is actually learning the hip snap.

buy Ford's rolling video poss from padnet herein.

my method is the 2 float method

paddle gets 2 floats one either end.

lean over ear into water. RELAX RELAX

then practice the hip snap

see Ford's animation.

for surfing call the club or seminar n practice under supervision in a group. buy a helmet, write a will.

On West Coast Paddler there's an Irishman in video's who demos surfing skills.

USK from Wayne Horodowich has an excellent surfing video instructional...Wayne was a US Surfing team member. Also a terrific bracing video.


read: Burch, Kayak Navigation.

I’m off the hook because

– Last Updated: Oct-20-16 10:43 PM EST –

while the Great Lakes are sometimes called inland seas, they're not salty. But I'll play anyway.

Those are "key" skills to stay safe and have a fulfilling experience? Really?

If learning to make a bilge pump is a key skill, then I flunk. I carry one that works quite nicely. And a paddle float, which can also work as an ama if needed.

Bright colors for visibility and shiny sparkly markings on a carbon paddle, yes.

Surf? If it's big enough for a "devastating beat-down," I'll be watching from shore because I know better. On the plus side, mostly sandy beaches here (although this summer I did wind up on the only rocks within 25 miles)

That's a nice tow-line. Paddle solo, but it might come in handy someday and doesn't take up any space.

Maybe my inexperience is showing, but I think how you get back in your boat isn't as important as getting back in.

VHF requires a line of sight. ACR ResQlink PLB doesn't.

The "Deep Trouble" books contain much better advice. They made a lasting impression. The article won't.

Here, here!

– Last Updated: Oct-21-16 1:21 AM EST –

I wanted to give a "hear-hear" to just about all the previous posters who responded before me. Good points!

It's easy to find issues with all such lists.

And, I am a fan or electric bilge pumps. Made my own. Looking to put one in my new kayak, so I clicked on the link and took a look at their instructions. BS. The devil is in the details, and those instructions are not without gaps. Check with to gnarlydog if you really want to do an install. But, just because you know how to install a pump, well, that's about mechanical aptitude, and little to do with being safe on the water.


have to change your moniker.

I suspect though you come from the viewpoint that we all in some way are rookies in kayaking.

There is always something to relearn…or sand off cause it got rusty and escaped( roll)

I’m a bad boy.
I used to carry some of the gear with me that I’m supposed to, but I don’t and haven’t for many years. My list of stuff is my pfd, a skirt, my cell phone and a bottle of water. Oh yeah and a bit of rope in case I find a kayak to tow back to the launch site. This has happened more than once.

I know this is not prudent, but I don’t worry at all about ending up in the water; I’m a very good swimmer and absolutely trust my boats to get me back. They always have.

Most of all, I trust myself to not get in a bad situation. I always have a worst case alternative if it all goes in the dumper.

No, you are not a "bad boy"
You are a common sense boy !

Jack L

Definition of
a rookie is an untrained or inexperienced person. Still fits pretty well.

It’s certainly not a word I’d apply to the great mentors who offer help (of which you’re one) simply because of lack of practice opportunity of a previously well developed skill.

There are paddlers here who have really serious skills and extraordinary experience. That shines through when they post. I’m in awe and grateful.

True ? Mention of swimming ability is rare if ever read.

Tho recommends for cold showers exist.

Several Wal yak drownings were no swim no pfd

On navigation, I was lost several times and. Water, land, water is often featureless

New rules
Lots of new rules to learn with kayak touring. 20 years of whitewater rafting was easier…2 rules.

  1. Rig to flip, dress to swim.

    2…There are two kinds of rafters, those who have flipped and those who will flip.

    I suppose those two rules work for all types of boating. Be prepared for the poo to hit the fan, because it can and will happen.

The roll
If you can roll under ANY situation white water or sea kayaking 10 foot waves then most of this other stuff goes away. I just don’t understand the resistance to learning to roll. First class I took was a roll class. I won’t go surfing big waves with people that cant roll. Too much of a headache if I do.

Making your own bilge pump is ridiculous as a requirement even though I make my own electric bilge pumps in all my boats. Certainly not typical or required.

magnet ?
where’s the magnet held ?

Magnet is inside plastic cap filled with epoxy and slides along deck bungee: picture here