Noyo Pacific Kayaking

A Resources for Beginers to Experts

Kayak Safety
Kayaking - Begining Kayaking

Be prepared for anything that you can think of that might create a problem for you. Carry a loud whistle, basic first aid kit, a VHF radio or a cell phone is also a good idea if you are paddling within range of a signal. A brightly colored paddle will not only help other boaters to see you; you can use it to attract attention if needed. Smoke signals, flares, dye marker, a flag tied to your paddle or a long wide strip of orange ribbon can also help rescuers locate you. You might consider carrying an emergency blanket, dry clothing, waterproof matches, and extra water. If you encounter rocks, surf, caves or heavy brush, wear a helmet. I cut charts in to 8 ½ X 11" sections and have them laminated so they are waterproof. Some people use clear plastic chart cases but I've heard some of them gripe about soggy charts.

Wind, Waves and Fog:
Wind and waves may be the greatest threat. When the wind pipes up, you might not be able to make headway against it. Waves are usually less of a problem except that ocean swells could build up to the point that breaking waves develop over offshore reefs and beach landings become difficult. Be alert to the conditions and particularly if wind and/or winds appear to be increasing. They can increase rapidly but there is usually some warning if you are alert and understand the local weather patterns.

Fog is disorienting and can cause you to become lost but usually occurs only with light winds. Stay out of fog. Carry a compass and/or GPS if there is any risk of fog. By watching the direction of waves and swells, you may be able to maintain some sense of direction. Listen for breaking waves, buoy sounds, motors, barking dogs and voices. Above all, don't panic, study your situation before deciding on a course of action and do not just dig in and paddle blindly until you reach something (you may be paddling in circles or headed for the wrong continent.)

Breaking Surf:
If you are going paddling out through the surf, you should first take some time to practice surf launches and landings through small waves (and away from any board surfers, so you don't accidentally run them over.) Watch a kayak surfing video, study a book and then strap on your helmet, PFD and wetsuit and give it a shot. Better leave the rods and tackle box in the car at first or its going to look like you are setting up for a yard sale on the beach after you get dumped. Study the waves for about fifteen minutes to get a sense of how big the waves can get and how to anticipate the windows of smaller waves where you might make a dash for it. Start out with one or two-foot breaking waves; paddle around in the soup zone and then work your way up as you become comfortable. Be prepared to do some swimming; you will!

Caution! Kayak surfing can be extremely addicting!  If you allow yourself to become seduced by the waves, you could end up becoming a SURFER! So please maintain your focus and keep a clear head!