What keeps you sea kayaking?

Nothing. I quit and went back to canoes.
Hard to load, can’t take dogs.

1 Like

Being a 3 time cancer survivor is kind of my motivation to keep paddling. Join me if near NW CT

I have a dog as well but he hates water! We’ve tried many times to take him to dog beaches or bodies of water of any size, he just doesn’t want to be in it whatsoever. Although he is dressed for immersion with plenty of hair, he has a strong aversion to it.

When I was living in the CA bay area I just didn’t think the waterways were all that special and I never thought about boating, so I hiked, played golf and biked occasionally. I lived in Honolulu for 3.5 years and got in the water more, such as with SUP and snorkeling and sometimes a kayak.

In the Seattle area the water is really to die for (OK not literally), but it makes me want to spend more time on the water in some way or form and kayaking I’ve found is a good way to do it. My balance is iffy and I have a significant leg length imbalance, so SUP would mean plenty more immersion than average which was fun in Hawaii but doesn’t seem as great in this area. Also it doesn’t seem like SUP can get around the Puget Sound effectively, but correct me if I’m wrong on that.

Overstreet yes you got it, I just started raising kids last year :slight_smile: I’ll probably have a cheap kayak like a Sea Eagle 370 eventually to take on an inland lake with the kid.

I have paddled sea kayaks around Seattle and the San Juan Islands.
It is a good place for sea kayaks.

Because each trip is different.

The pursuit of waves and downwind.

Although the SoCal pacific has been so flat and stormless the last 2 years its been pretty boring. The best waves I have had lately are sailboats a full throttle (just rode one 3 miles this weekend and hardly paddled. That’s a good time). Its been so windless even a racing sailboat under sail power is rarely getting to 6+kt, the speed needed to throw a surfable stern wave.

I think, maybe, you have two questions here. First is, “How do you get past all the warnings and fear mongering that paddling is dangerous and only made safe with lots of expensive gear and training?” and a more general “Why do you do it?”

There is risk in every aspect of life and outdoor pursuits are no different. If you climb you risk falling to your death. If you bike, you risk being purposely run over by someone who hates bicycles. If you go in the water your may drown. In my short time I have noticed that whenever a new person posts a question the answers emphasize the risk of drowning or hypothermia unless you have a dry suit and appropriate training. It’s good to be safety conscious and promote safety when you don’t know who the audience is; for example on a message board. Sometimes the message is so forceful and delivered with such repetition that the cumulative effect is to discourage readers from paddling.

The Drysuit question is what I call a “Ford vs Chevy” question on a message board. You’ll get zealous advocacy on both sides of the question with the same people insisting you Must have a dry suit, and others offering alternative positions being called “reckless.” That’s one reason why using the Search function on any message board can help you avoid walking into this pissing match; it’s been argued many times in this past year alone. Similar threads exist on boat length and paddling alone. Taken as a whole, you’d be crazy to set foot outside.

Take any advice from a message board with a healthy grain of salt. It’s a starting point to get information that you then confirm/ validate by talking to real people, taking a lesson and going outside to test your hypothesis with experience. Any response that begins with “ you must” or “you’ll die unless” should make you question the source of information.

More specifically to your Drysuit question, they are not made of satin. You can get a lot of mileage out of one with reasonable attention to it, as in don’t purposely drag it across rocks, cut your sandwich on top of it or allow it to lay around wet and grow mildew. It’s a piece of life safety equipment so treat it with respect.

All the gear management issues you mention get better with practice and repetition. Make checklists. Develop a process for storing, moving and caring for your stuff just like you would for your kid or work. Most of the stuff can fit in a medium sized Tupperware tote. Boats can be stored outside under a tarp if the room in the garage is too tight. Thousands of people kayak. You can too.

I paddle to have fun, get exercise and see my environment from a different perspective. It’s meant to be fun, enjoyable and if you’re into it challenging in rough conditions. Lots to learn. Learn at your own pace. Having a coach often facilitates learning, particularly with regard to things like wet exiting and rolling.


A small note on Dry Suits…Here on Lake Superior, {up until a few years ago} only people from out of town had dry suits. The rest of us wore wet suits {Like many scuba divers did and still do} Our wet suits were lighter weight etc. but not by much. {some of my earlier ones were scuba wet suits}

Dry Suits just are more comfortable when dealing with cold and they have a way to vary the amount of insulation. They offer more for the person that fly to distant shores to kayak} But they are not for everyone, depending on the venue {some surf etc} you boat. I wouldn’t hesitate to kayak if I had a proper wet suit and no drysuit…did it for many years.

Just remember…Keep it simple and keep it fun.

1 Like

Bobonli, I feel fortunate paddling the Upper Chesapeake. For much of the season, the Bay is like bathwater and will hit 86° during peak season. I do winter things when it’s cold. Too much like work dressing in cold weather gear. Besidess, most of the widelife leaves and the plants go dormant.


This seems obvious but it’s easy to go down rabbit holes and forget why we are kayaking in the first place, which is usually to have fun and have new experiences. Good to have a regular reminder!

1 Like

I can’t imagine how pleasant it must be to paddle in warm water. Last year Lake Washington got above 70 degrees for a short time and that seemed comfortable but 86 degrees? That would blow me away. In ~45 years of paddling I have never experienced anything like that.

I recommend taking a trip to the Philippines too! The place is breathtaking and the water is generally 80+F year round (sometimes dips slightly below). People speak decent English there and the exchange rate is favorable to Westerners. There are literally thousands of islands to hop to and from in various parts of it and in some places the water is crystal clear too, for example El Nido, Palawan which I highly recommend. It has these rock formations that jut out of the water all over the place too which is really cool, with many lagoons to explore.


3meterswell, it is nice, but that matches up with high heat and humidity. When coupled with an East or Southeast wind. It gets stagnant unless it’s at least 20 mph. Those trip are like being drenched. No complaints, just not as pleasant as 76° water. Land of Pleasant Living. No doubt worse in places like the Carolinas or the Gulf region.

I will second that. while the Mid-Atlantic has nice warm temperatures and you can kayak with little worry about cold water much of the year, that comes with high humidity and air temperatures that can give one pause about going outdoors. One good thing about kayaking in particular is you can cool off in the water very easily.

1 Like

Lake Superior is my favorite place to kayak. We are paddling from Copper Harbor on Superior to Gladwin off from the Saginaw Bay. We’re doing short trips at a time and have been at for 11 years. We only go when the weather is good and we wear wer suits and pfds. 150 miles to go this summer and we are done. At 76 my shoulders can’t take too many more years of this.

1 Like

I’ve noticed that feeling.

Come south young man!

And expensive to outfit for cold weather. No desire for me, because its to restrictive. I look at the pictures and listen to the stories. Winter is time for a fireplace, reading and stong Whiskey.

1 Like

What keeps me sea kayaking? It’s water, especially open water.

I’m going to swim, fish, snorkel (or scuba), or exercise along it to hear the waves, watch the wildlife & sunrises/sunsets, and venture into the semi-unknown.

Salt or fresh water, it makes little difference to me, though I really prefer salt (except for equipment clean up). Since the water seldom freezes where I live, paddling is a year round adventure though I will admit I do not like paddling/camping on gray, windy winter days…give me some sunlight and I’ll happily put on a drysuit to paddle solo here along the northern Gulf of Mexico where our salt waters are often 48F (such as now). Come summer when the waters hit 85F or more and the sun is debilitating, it is easy to paddle early in the day or soon before sunset , or even adventure into night paddling. Lots of reasons to sea kayak.

1 Like

Check out the boat section and sporting goods section of Seattle, Bellingham, and Skagit Craigslist. There are always kayaks, paddles, roof racks, and accessories for sale. With proper care, there is no reason why a well-built fiberglass kayak can’t last for 30+ years. If you buy a good used kayak and discover that this sport isn’t for you, most likely you will be able sell it for the same price that you paid. Once you have made your initial investment with your boat and gear, it’s your choice on how to upgrade. After using a Werner fiberglass Camano paddle for over 20 years, I have recently upgraded to a carbon-fiber Werner Paddle. You might also want to consider a good inflatable kayak as an alternative to a hard shell. This would save you the expense of a roof rack and you would avoid the limitation of your garage length. Inflatables are lighter, and potentially easier to carry to your launching spot.