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All About Kayak Diving Here is a place to discuss the growing travel mode of kayak diving.

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Old 11-03-2015, 09:30 AM   #1
Chuuken
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Rough weather kayaking

Hey everyone

Anybody have any tips for kayaking in rough weather? I'm trying to increase my knowledge base. Obviously, there's no substitute for experience, but how does one best deal with rough weather in a kayak?

Or, to come at the question from a different angle; If you are in a self-bailing SOT with a full wetsuit, you're like a big cork bobbing around in the waves. What conditions would make you refuse to get on the water in your yak?

In my experience, the kayak is generally more capable than I am. Before my SOT, I had a sea kayak that would only dump me if I lost my head and leaned into or away from a wave. If I just trusted the boat, it'd handle quite a bit. I generally will shy away from waves I can't see over in my kayak (3'+), but the waves in Lake St Clair tend to have short wavelengths, so they really toss you around or wash the deck more than they would if they were 3' swells on one of the bigger lakes.

I know that paddling with the seas on my quarter, fore or aft, was the most comfortable ride. I know that trying to surf a long kayak is an invitation to slew beam on to the wave. (for me anyway).

In our little great lake, I stay within a mile of shore, so I can expect short, sharp, confused chop to show up if the wind is on-shore.
I will not go out if the wind is howling off-shore. I'll fight the wind to get out, not to come back.

And, of course, everything that isn't strapped down is a gift to the lake.

Any pointers from the more experienced crowd? Is my ignorance glaring through in anything I've written? Anybody have a general story about seamanship they want to share?

Last edited by Chuuken; 11-03-2015 at 09:30 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:48 AM   #2
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

This may sound counter intuitive, but I have found that hanging my legs over the side increases my stability as the chop increases.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:52 PM   #3
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xp100 View Post
This may sound counter intuitive, but I have found that hanging my legs over the side increases my stability as the chop increases.
For sure...legs over the side decreases the center of gravity so makes you less likely to tip...

If the wind comes up strong, take a second to take your fins off and stow them...they can act like sails...

Having a VHF and a compass/GPS can really be important for emergencies and if the fog comes up...

To me, it sounds like you are thinking about the right things in regards to your local conditions (direction of wind, swell period etc).

One of the most important things I think is knowing your limits ,and not being afraid to either totally skip the dive if it looks too rough, or to pack up and hightail it back to shore if conditions get too nasty while you are out there.

Having a Plan B for a landing spot can be important as well if wind switches and you end up not being able to make it back to where you launched from...

Anyway, stay safe and good luck!



Sincerely,

Jim
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Old 11-03-2015, 05:59 PM   #4
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

What kind of kayak are you paddling now?
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:30 AM   #5
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuuken View Post
I now have a OK Trident 13. It's a much more comfortable ride (initial stability wise), than my old P&H Scorpio 170, but it's about as wet a ride as I had expected a SOT to be after getting used to a sit-in with a spray skirt.

Thanks for the advice so far, guys.

mike


The Trident series are great yaks, and when I paddled them I really liked being able to shove all my gear (fins, guns, weightbelt, fish etc) into the RodPod center hatch...especially for surf launch/landings.



Sincerely,

Jim
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:50 AM   #6
Chuuken
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

I now have a OK Trident 13. It's a much more comfortable ride (initial stability wise), than my old P&H Scorpio 170, but it's about as wet a ride as I had expected a SOT to be after getting used to a sit-in with a spray skirt.

Thanks for the advice so far, guys.

mike
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:28 AM   #7
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

Here's a few pics from kayaking in some less than ideal conditions...often pics/vids don't do the conditions justice, but sometimes you can still get a feel for it...

Sincerely,

Jim
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Old 11-05-2015, 08:03 AM   #8
Chuuken
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

Ha! Nice pics. Looks fun!

It reminds me of the first time I got into breaking surf abt 3' tall. I thought I had heard someone say you should lean into the rollers. Worked great until the roller... rolled under me. Then I was the roller, rolling down the back of the wave!

I really did get some good experience with the old sea kayak, but much of it does not transfer to the SOT. I know paddling it around is the only thing that will actually increase my seaworthiness in that boat, but I'm always optimistic about asking for advice.
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:57 PM   #9
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

Came across this thread again and figured I would share some pics/footage of a recent dive.

Still not sure how my yak stayed upright and clipped to the kelp...

https://youtu.be/vnWA1FUSdNg



Sincerely,

Jim
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Old 04-02-2016, 05:44 PM   #10
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

Nice 2-fer!
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Old 04-04-2016, 04:46 PM   #11
Chuuken
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

Nice pictures Jim!

I got out in November in some wind and found that the Trident really paddled well in some waves. Certainly not as "exhilarating" as the sea kayak. That being a good thing.

What I noticed was much more of a potential problem was finding the boat again once I got in the water. We were trying to dive an artificial reef in a bay and the waves started to pile up right around where we were anchored. We had floats with flags but nothing on the boat. I noticed, while trying to keep track of the dive buddy, that if we were more than about 20ft away from each other, there was a real good chance we'd lose track of each other behind the waves. The float flags helped, but they're so low to the water, it's just a matter of distance before those are hard to see too... And of course, the butt-pucker when you wonder, now just where ARE the boats?

So I'm working some fluorescent driveway marker poles into the kit for the boat. At least having a 3 or 4 foot marker sticking off the boat should make it easier to find.
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Old 04-04-2016, 04:52 PM   #12
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjim View Post
Came across this thread again and figured I would share some pics/footage of a recent dive.

Still not sure how my yak stayed upright and clipped to the kelp...

https://youtu.be/vnWA1FUSdNg



Sincerely,

Jim
That was awesome. I've got to dive California one day! THanks for posting up your video. Keep em' coming!
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:11 PM   #13
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

Thanks guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuuken View Post
Nice pictures Jim!

I got out in November in some wind and found that the Trident really paddled well in some waves. Certainly not as "exhilarating" as the sea kayak. That being a good thing.

What I noticed was much more of a potential problem was finding the boat again once I got in the water. We were trying to dive an artificial reef in a bay and the waves started to pile up right around where we were anchored. We had floats with flags but nothing on the boat. I noticed, while trying to keep track of the dive buddy, that if we were more than about 20ft away from each other, there was a real good chance we'd lose track of each other behind the waves. The float flags helped, but they're so low to the water, it's just a matter of distance before those are hard to see too... And of course, the butt-pucker when you wonder, now just where ARE the boats?

So I'm working some fluorescent driveway marker poles into the kit for the boat. At least having a 3 or 4 foot marker sticking off the boat should make it easier to find.
Yeah I love having a dive flag on the yak so can look up and see it right away...I have one mounted on a track on the side of my tankwell...

Can kinda see the set up in the attached pics...a longer "pole" may make it more visible but I usually can see it pretty good as is...and can easily take off/on and store inside yak to keep safe for rough launches and landings...



Sincerely,

Jim
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:30 PM   #14
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

I was out in KW in 5'-6' seas and when I was on the boat and standing about 8' above the surface, I would still periodically lose sight of the other divers in the water when I was only 100 yards away.
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:32 PM   #15
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Re: Rough weather kayaking

I think every diver should have a whistle on them. That's about the only way of communicating / keeping track of ppl in rough seas
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