Sea kayaking beginner

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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Jel
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Sea kayaking beginner

Post by Jel »

Hi All,
I would like to get into sea kayaking. I live near Bude Cornwall.
What would be the safest kayak for the sea launching from the beach ?
I would like to do some touring and the odd bit of fishing.
I know I can't kayak in the lockdown but I need something to look forward to.

simon64
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Re: Sea kayaking beginner

Post by simon64 »

Have a look at the Venture Islay 14, they do two volumes in the sit in version, so will be easy to get the right fit, they also do a sit on version but that will be slower and heavier, all versions can be ordered with fishing rod holders.
The sit in version is a nice touring kayak with good stability and performance, if you get more into the sport at a later date you can have a look at so called “real sea kayaks” and thats another can of worms, you will get plenty of people advising you to get one of these straight off and “grow into it”, but I would wait until you have more experience and know what you want before going down that route, the 14ft tourers are great starter kayaks and nice and forgiving for beginners, other options are Perception Expression 14, Dagger Stratos, Dagger Alchemy, Wavesport Hydra, P&H Virgo.
It’s important to get something that fits and is comfortable, so ideally try different sizes of any kayak you fancy, the Venture, Perception and Daggers all come in more than one size.
Heres hoping the lockdown rules are relaxed soon before we all go insane.
Last edited by simon64 on Mon May 04, 2020 4:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
P&H Virgo

Jel
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Re: Sea kayaking beginner

Post by Jel »

Hi,
Thanks for the reply,
Would you advise to buy a kayak new or second hand ?

simon64
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Re: Sea kayaking beginner

Post by simon64 »

Depends on you budget, secondhand makes a lot if sense as you won’t lose much if you re sell, but probably more important to get the right kayak rather than something which isn’t ideal but cheap ! The Kayaks I mentioned apart from the Virgo are all quite affordable
P&H Virgo

simon64
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Re: Sea kayaking beginner

Post by simon64 »

Another one to look at is the Islander Bolero, which used to be the Dagger Charleston, a great budget kayak and should be a few secondhand, the S is quite big as its US designed.
P&H Virgo

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Jim
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Re: Sea kayaking beginner

Post by Jim »

Safest for a beginner is almost certainly going to be a sit on top type. Also most kayak fishing is done from sit on tops, so might be worth checking the kayak fishing forum for advice.
Although you can climb back onto a sit up top if you fall off, you will need to be reasonable fit/strong to do that and it will be well worth practising in the shallows and then deeper water before setting off on a trip.

charleston14
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Re: Sea kayaking beginner

Post by charleston14 »

Before buying anything I’d recommend joining a local club and getting some sea kayaking skills. You will gain not only vital sea kayak handling skills, rescue skills etc, but also be able to try boats out and gain contacts; lovely people experienced in sea kayaking that may take you under their wing planning and leading paddles that are within your ability to handle.

Sea kayaking is not something one does lightly: in addition to the kayak, Sea kayakers generally have a spare paddle, dry suit, vhf radio, plb, flares, a hand bilge pump, Etc.

Inexperienced paddlers with insufficient knowledge and equipment can and often do get into difficulty on the sea. Its a wonderful hobby but get the training; stack the odds in your favour.

So what can you do right now:
Get in touch with someone like Biddeford canoe club. Find out about what courses and training they do.

Right now for free Nick cunliffe “kayak essentials” are offering sea kayak navigation training starting with the basics and building up See Facebook. The book sea kayak navigation by Franco Ferrero is good too.

Take a look at the channel training “summer sigh” event in September (who knows if that’ll happen!) they do run guided paddles for people who’ve kayaked but never done sea kayaking.

pathbrae
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Re: Sea kayaking beginner

Post by pathbrae »

Adding to the list above - spend a bit of lockdown time looking at weather forecasting, particularly wind and at the way the tide flows around the bit of coast you will be paddling from. A stiff breeze on a flat sea can be manageable but if the tide turns and is flowing in the opposite direction to the wind then conditions can very quickly become a bit too challenging.
Remember the tide flows around the UK - it doesn't just rise and fall evenly - and shallows, headlands and narrows can concentrate that flow with, in some places, tides flowing faster than you can paddle against.
Yachting guides often have information on tidal streams, tide tables will give you low / high tide times and tidal ranges - from these you can work out which days to avoid being in certain areas and when it should (never say it will...) be safe to paddle.

Dont let any of this put you off. Back in the day, we had a boat and a paddle, a spray-deck and a buoyancy aid was the extent of our safety kit and we went out and (most of us) came back again. We passed skills on from paddler to paddler, shared ideas, taught each other to self rescu and to rescue each other. Equipment has evolved, the available tecnology has both improved, become smaller and has come down in price. People will now gladly take some money from you and "teach you to roll" or "take you through BC star tests" or whatever they are called these days.

Respect the sea - know your own limits and how to stay within them if you are on your own and how to extend them in company of other experienced paddlers.

Above all - enjoy it. Enjoy the process of getting a new boat, a new paddle and so on. Enjoy getting out and being the master of your own craft. Be patient - becoming a sea kayaker doesn't happen over a few weeks or even a few years - it's a life long learning thing. We all learn something new every time we go out. We'll all have to try to remember what we did know when we get out again! So maybe it's a good time to start paddling - we'll all be wondering why it's so hard after weeks away from our boats!!
So much sea - so little time to see it.

onlysme69
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Re: Sea kayaking beginner

Post by onlysme69 »

i will ask what should of been asked and that is what kayaking experience do you have ?
what size are you ? tall/short, slim/chunky monkey etc ...
as above go along to a club try some boats they have.. club boats will also feel different to a boat that is outfitted to you but it will give you a guide..
second hand is best but if in dought take someone that knows what they are looking at..
i was lucky because i am slim build and bought a second hand shoreline fuego for £400 and suit it it is a great boat..

Jel
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Re: Sea kayaking beginner

Post by Jel »

I have had a go a couple of times in the sea and paddled down the river wye.
I'm 6 foot and weigh 15 stone fairly muscular build.

onlysme69
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Re: Sea kayaking beginner

Post by onlysme69 »

Jel wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 4:26 pm
I have had a go a couple of times in the sea and paddled down the river wye.
I'm 6 foot and weigh 15 stone fairly muscular build.
at least now people have a better idea of the sort of vessel ;) no point in a low volume ;) :)

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Ceegee
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Re: Sea kayaking beginner

Post by Ceegee »

Hmmm, at BMI 28, (similar to me btw), that's verging on the chunky monkey, so self rescues get a bit harder (just joking)!

One thing not mentioned yet, why not spend the 1st £100 on a bit of decent introductory coaching? Some excellent coaches down there, Rick Cooper in Devon and Jeff Allen in Cornwall come to mind, plus lots of other outfits, so lots of good boat advice, try it and see opps. plus an opportunity to get to know fellow peer paddlers for the future.
Cheers,
Steve C. G.

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