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Kayaking is Not About Swimming UNLESS You Capsize

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Inflatable Master
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Never Saw It...

It's been said and I'm sure many have experienced a sudden turn-of-events. Without getting graphic, these changing events happen and obviously with great abruptness. But are things really unforeseen? If you're visiting a Caribbean Island, is it unusual to have a sudden weather change. Or living in Florida, unexpected lighting strikes happen often. The topic of the day is not to focus on the truly sudden events that no one wants but to expect them...

If you put your hand near a fire and don't get burned, will it ever happen? May a door opens allowing a gust of air to fuel the flame thus igniting your sleeve... Na, I'm not going to talk about fire. My concern today is water and being in or on a kayak.

Trip Planning

Preparation is the key to any successful outing be it business, camping, boating and per this article, kayaking. Wind, sun, water and land all play critical roles in any kayaking outing... even if it's going across a small lake. Physical kayaking skills also play a role in the success of the trip. What can happen as you cross a lake?

Wind

First, if it's windy, it will make paddling more challenging to navigate. With high winds are waves, especially with a bigger body of water. Bigger the body of water, the bigger the waves. Ideally, going with the wind is preferable to dead into the wind. When running with the wind, I'm more comfortable bearing off 15 to 30 degrees to accommodate wave action and swells. Heading into the wind, I find utilizing sailing techniques of tacking or bearing off 45 degrees from the wind may help but again with wind is waves. And regarding wind, there is your point of destination which could be to get off the body of water OR to ride the waves.

Water... or Surf

While not being a successful board surfer, I consider myself quite good at body surfing. Catching a wave to surf is the first step in a successful run to the beach... Duh! That's not easy. With body surfing, I can duck under a wave to wait for a better one. With kayaking, waiting for the best wave is not as simple. But catching the wave and going the right way is still critical. Again, I like going at a slight angle to the wave... like the board surfers. It's my effort to extend the ride. With a kayak, it can be less likely for the wave lifting your kayak straight up and over and putting you in big trouble with the bottom.

Sun

Sun can be present with clouds and without. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses with head straps and a hat. You may lose your hat but hopefully the strap will save your glasses.

Kayak Landings

As the water and waves reach shore, know the lay of the land can greatly help your landing. If it's shallow for a long ways out, beaching can be relatively easy. If it's fairly deep say 3 to 5 feet deep and then gets shallow fast, beware. Your goal is to make it to the shallows Best Inflatable Kayaks. Then there are the shore lines that have sand bars off shore, then deep and then shallow. The goal is like an airplane pilot... any landing is a safe landing. Flipping upside down or pitchpoling can be exhilarating while you're in the air but not when the surf is churning your around...

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