Ocean waves are a fascinating view to enjoy. But, won’t it be more fascinating if you could ride with the waves? To make that dream come true, ocean surf kayaking is a great choice to opt for.
But what are the things you need before starting the ocean surf kayaking journey? Well, no worries if you don’t know them. Because, here in this guide, we’ll show you the essential things you need to start kayaking.
What Is Surf Kayaking?
Surf kayaking is a sport where kayaks are used to ride the ocean waves. It is very much similar to surfboard surfing.
But the main difference lies in the equipment used for riding the waves. In this case, it is a boat and a paddle specifically designed to cope with the ocean’s giant waves.
Ocean Surf Kayaking Essential Gear
It is important to have sound knowledge about the essential kayaking gears before jumping into the water.
Safety is a very big issue when it comes to sea kayaking. So, being well equipped with the appropriate gears is a necessity.
Here is a list of the most fundamental kayaking gears that you have to start surf kayaking.
Surf kayaking without a surf kayak is ridiculous, right? A surf kayak is simply a boat that is used for kayaking. A variety of surf kayaks are available in the market.
But all of them have two common features, such as a flat bottom and handrails. The material used for making the boats are glass composites or rotomolded plastic.
Usually, a surf kayak is equipped with a three-fin thruster. That is what makes the mechanism similar to that of surfboards.
Paddles are what helps the surfer control the kayak. Naturally, ocean surf kayakers use double-sided kayak paddles.
But, sometimes, people might use single-sided “canoe” paddles too. The paddles may range from 160 to 230 cm.
3.PFD (Personal Floatation Device)
A PFD or personal floatation device is must-have gear for kayaking. No matter what the type of kayaking might be, recreational, fishing, white water, or surfing, it is mandatory that all kayakers put on the PFD.
Here, swimming isn’t the main issue. You might be an Olympic-level swimmer. But you don’t want to mess with the ocean waves.
A comfortable PFD should be chosen so that the arm and neck movement is not hindered in any way.
PFDs are specifically designed for various types of kayaking. So, if you want to go surf kayaking, don’t bother getting a fishing kayaking PFD.
Helmets are a shield of safety when it comes to kayaking. We often find ocean surf kayakers neglecting the helmet. But, it is essential for kayakers of all levels of expertise.
Before choosing the helmet, it is important to ensure that it provides sufficient protection to the back, temple, and forehead. It should also have a solid strap to keep the helmet firm and prevent it from slipping.
The weather has a direct impact on the water temperature. If the water temperature is too cold, then falling in it might cause hypothermia. So, keeping the weather in mind, you should choose a wetsuit/drysuit.
A wetsuit confines the warm water in a thin layer and helps the body temperature to stay neutral. On the other hand, a dry suit traps all the water instead of a thin layer.
However, this gear is not mandatory if you are kayaking in hot weather. A normal comfortable outfit is fine to serve the purpose in that case.
Although these are the primary gears you need to have before riding the waves, keep in mind that many other equipment pieces can also be very beneficial for you.
Some of the most notable ones are- spray skirt, wet shoes, rope bag, kayaking knife, and dry bag.
Now that you know what ocean surf kayaking is and what the essential kayaking gears are, you might be wondering, is ocean kayaking dangerous?
Well, you are not the first person to ask that question. And, to be honest, everything comes with a price. So yes, ocean kayaking is risky and dangerous. So, let’s take a look at the risks associated with this sport.
You are looking to kayak in an ocean. So, sharks are your probable neighbors. Shark encounters are the most dangerous threats that you need to be scared of when kayaking.
But hey, that doesn’t mean that you have to stand on the beach and keep licking your icecream.
There are shark zones that you can do a pre-research on before getting into the water. This way, you can stay safe and secure.
Oceans and seas are not only made for kayakers. So, it’s best to watch out for ships too. Especially the big cargo ships that might not be able to see you and unconsciously run over you.
To avoid this danger, it is advisable to stay in groups and wear bright colored outfits that are easily noticeable from a distance.
Hypothermia is a problem caused in the body due to prolonged exposure to cold temperature. In unfavorable weather conditions, the water temperature also reduces drastically.
In such circumstances, if, by any chance, the kayaker loses control and falls into the water and takes time to recover, things can turn out to be very bad.
However, if you have read the full article till now, you might have realized that we already provided the solution to tackle hypothermia. And that is, to use a wetsuit or a drysuit.
The waves that are giving you enjoyment might end up being your worst nightmare. Normally, kayakers don’t have a problem surfing in waves that are about 3 feet high or so.
But, when it gets mightier than that, they start to realize that surf kayaking isn’t a child’s play.
A well-designed boat for sea kayaking is a must to avoid any problems with the wave. In addition to that, a helmet can also be a lifesaver. Besides, with more experience, kayakers eventually gain more control.
10.No Nearby Land
Ocean kayakers often face the problem of getting carried away due to strong waves and currents.
It might so happen that they reach a stage where they don’t find any land nearby. This can be a very deadly situation to handle.
Panic is the last thing that you would want to do in these circumstances. Stay calm and keep paddling perpendicular to the current. It might take a lot of energy and skills to escape this horrible scenario.
All these dangers and threats related to kayaking are true, and they happen very often. But, it is not our intention to demotivate you from getting the flavor of this exciting sport.
In fact, we felt that you needed to know about this before getting all hyped up about surf kayaking.
You might have known by now that all the dangers associated with kayaking can be avoided if you paid attention to the “Essential Kayaking Gear” section of this guide.
Different equipment and gadgets can help you out in different dangerous scenarios. So, why not take them all and feel completely safe before kayaking?