The following is an account of a kayaker in Washington State who in January found himself in conditions above his skill level, and after a capsize didn’t have the skills to get out of the 48 degree water. Read More…
Lessons Learned and Tips for Paddling in Rough Water:
– While he dressed for immersion with a drysuit, it leaked. Make sure your gear is 100%. Your booties should not come off easily!
– Stay within your skill level. Looks sketchy? Turn around or don’t get on the water.
– Have a backup for your backup. For kayakers – learn 2 types of rolls, several re-entry techniques, and practice often in flat was well as rough water.
– Study marine charts and get local knowledge before going out. Find experienced local paddlers to join you before you go solo.
– If paddling in coastal waters, consider taking hand held flares and a VHF radio. Use the radio to call in help and flares to mark your position. Make sure both are in waterproof containers.
– If you want to paddle in rough water, learn to surf (kayakers too!), learn whitewater (take a class!), and paddle with clubs or experienced paddlers that can take you in rough water but provide support to you if needed.
– Make a Float Plan prior to going out. This is telling others where you’re going, when & how long.
– Check the weather prior to your departure. NOAA has great info for coastal areas. Local webcams are useful in giving you an idea in real time of what is going on.
– For SUPS, wear a leash, PFD (really!), and full wet or drysuit in areas of heavy wind, strong current, and or extreme cold temperatures.
Need more info on gear choices (both sup and kayak), rough water paddling, etc? Give me a holler, I’m glad to help.