wavesport siren; waves and kids

-- Last Updated: Jul-03-07 10:39 PM EST --

My kids (12 and 10) have just started to Kayak this summer. They took a week long class and have done a 5 mile trip with small rapids and done some weekend flatwater stuff. Long story short they want to take their kayak to Myrtle Beach and play with it in the waves or at least in the ocean beyond the waves.

Something tells me this isn't a good idea but i'm not an expert - should I let em?

This is tricky. I have done a bit of it
myself, in canoes, but when a canoe gets whomped in the surf, the boat and paddler just get a normal thrashing. When a kayak gets trashed in the surf (I kayak, but only WW rivers), the paddler is hanging upside down and there is the risk that the head may be forced forward or back, with possible disastrous consequences for the spine.

When I was body surfing near Ocracoke, the guards were very unhappy with my prone position. They told me to either get a boogy board, or body surf on my back. The latter wasn’t entirely logical, because my head still could have been pushed down hard against my chest.

Kids’ small size may help them fall out fast and spare injury. After that the worst problem may be getting boat, paddler, and kid back out of the surf.

You didn’t say whether the kayak(s) have flotation bags, properly tied in.

Recently there have been strong rip tides all up and down the Atlantic coast. I think the surf has been heavy at times. So getting out beyond the surf to paddle around may not be feasible. Maybe you can take the boats, but look for a quiet place behind a barrier island for them to use.

How Well Do Your Kids Stay Within

– Last Updated: Jul-04-07 5:39 AM EST –

parameters set by you? Or do they push back a little?

If they have done a week long ww course, paddled a bit, know and can show how to wet exit, and follow your directions, then their request may be something doable. Pick at gradual sandy beach break, i.e gently sloping for spilling waves, as opposed to a dumping beach where waves get steep and curl almost right near the shore line and collapse all at once (indication of a steep dropping beach). Pick a day when waves are no more than waist high (2-2.5'). Stay away from where there swimmers, especially little kids. Make them purposedly flip in front of you and wet exit several times. They need to hold on to both paddle and boat (the boat can take off and hit someone) and then get to shore. If they can do this, then let them surf in front of you. (You will be watching and ready the whole time.) No paddling off. One person ride per wave. If they need help you can get out and do so in waist high waves. PFD and helmet are MANDATORY!

I used to do class II runs with my younger son when he was 9-10 years old. But he decided that he did not really like paddling. Okay. More recently, he started to surf with me on surf boards and is really liking it. He is now 14. We are surfing gradual sandy beach breaks. Both my sons are good at following my direction and cautions when it comes to sports related activities (but forgetabout it with other stuff!).


I would let them
Set strict rules and you be the judge each day as to the conditions and if they can use them.

If you don’t bring the boats you will probably be kicking your butt.

Even if they don’t get used at least you have them.

There are various tides and wind conditions that will allow them to use them and others that they absolutely should not.

One important thing is to tell them is the waves almost always come in at a slight angle, and to make sure when they wipe out to stay on the opposite side of the boat from the way the waves push them. Even then, they will probably come home with black and blue battle scars.




– Last Updated: Jul-04-07 7:51 AM EST –

Are they comfortable staying in the boat after it flips? From my limited experience in surf I think it's better to tuck hard and wait until the wave passes to roll or get out. Bailing immediately and getting thrashed in the breaking wave with your boat is no fun.

Sounds do able
Well they listen well; aren’t daredevils (per se) and understand they can’t play around other people. I’m going to tie it on the car and see what happens.

Thanks for the input y’all

Very GOOD Point…
they should NEVER let the boat get between them and oncoming waves. In a wet exit the boat should always be maneuvered to the shore side of them.