Where to kayak? Knowing the answer to this question is as important as having great kayaking equipment. In fact, it may be even more important.
Paddling in a great spot in a mediocre kayak, you probably wouldn’t even notice the downsides of your vessel and would have a great time.
However, in a bad spot, even the best kayak in the world wouldn’t be able to compensate for a terrible kayaking experience.
With that being said, let’s now examine the 5 main attributes that should be present in a great kayaking spot.
Protection from wind and waves
The first feature of a great kayaking spot is protection from wind and dangerous waves and currents. Unless you are whitewater kayaking, you should stay away from areas that are wavy and windy.
In the case of whitewater kayaking, things are a bit different, so our tips may or may not apply to it depending on what your tasks are.
In wavy water, the risk of capsizing is significantly increased. While you should always be ready to deal with it, you better try to reduce its probability as much as possible, especially if you have kids or pets with you.
As a general rule, you should look to kayak in water bodies that are calmer. However, in most cases, you probably won’t be able to find a water body that is always tranquil.
Weather conditions – wind in particular – may significantly impact the calmness of the water. So you would also need to be aware of the weather to avoid windy and rainy days.
If you need to kayak in oceanic and sea waters, be very cautious of water currents. They can be very strong, and even the most seasoned kayakers may be unable to keep their vessels stable in them. Know where currents are and stay away from them.
Minimal boat traffic
Heavy boat traffic is undesirable due to two reasons.
First off, it is distracting. If you aren’t a very experienced kayaker, then you would need to dedicate more mental resources to both paddling and keeping a safe distance from other paddlers.
In case you are going fishing, then you would definitely want to do so in an area that isn’t filled with other paddlers. If there are plenty of paddlers around, the chances are that you won’t catch any fish since it may become scared away by others.
The second reason why heavy traffic is undesirable is that boats generate waves on the water, especially motorboats. Those waves may seem negligible, but you may get caught off guard by their mere presence if you are a beginner. And you may even capsize!
Presence of other people
While excessive boat traffic isn’t a thing that you’d want to be next to when kayaking, having absolutely no one nearby is bad either.
Even if you are experienced, you may find yourself in a situation when some outside help would save your life. If you are knocked unconscious in an accident and there is no one nearby to help you, things could end very badly.
When picking a spot for kayaking, make sure that it isn’t some secluded area with no one around. And even if you choose an area with some good traffic, make sure to stay close to others: paddle near the shore, be visible to others, and generally ensure that there is someone nearby who could help you if things go bad.
Alternatively, you could go kayaking with someone else, preferably someone who is experienced. This will not only be safer but also more fun!
Good launching and exit points
A good launching point would allow you to drive closer to the water body so you don’t have to carry your heavy kayaking equipment for hundreds of feet. When you think about it, being able to park closer to the water is just a matter of convenience.
In most cases. Because if you need something from your car in an emergency, then it would be better if it was parked closer.
Speaking of which, you should really keep everything necessary with you when kayaking. But unpredictable things may happen: you may lose your first aid kit to the water. And you’d have to go and get a spare one from the car.
The position of the exit points should also be considered in some cases. You don’t really need this if you will be coming back to your car. But if you say need to cross a lake to reach some destination, then the exit point should be close to it.
Plenty of areas to go ashore
Many things could go wrong when paddling: your paddle could break, or you may suddenly feel bad. And if there aren’t any places close by where you could go ashore, getting out of the sticky situation could be very challenging.
To minimize the risk of being stranded, pick a water body with plenty of places to leave the water through. And, obviously, you would then need to make sure that you are close to those spots while kayaking.
Try to pick a kayaking spot that has as many of the attributes we listed as possible. If even one of them is missing, then you’ll have to be more cautious to compensate for that.
And regardless of how great the kayaking spot is, make sure to take as many precautions as possible. We have described a couple of safety tips on our website before, so you could check out that.
Besides, you may want to check out the list of essential items that you need to have when kayaking.
Stay safe when kayaking!