Timing is Everything

If you're a seakayaker, there's a time to paddle and a time to stay home; a time to head out the gate, and a time to stick to a quiet backwater.

I believe that choosing the right time and place to paddle is one of the first skills a sea kayaker should learn.

All the rescues I have heard of have a common theme; it was the wrong time or the wrong place for that paddler to be. The timing of the activity was flawed. Conditions dictate where and when you can paddle safely.

Not long ago, not so much was known about weather and ocean conditions. With the availiability of information today--thanks to the internet--this has changed. Amazing amounts of infomation can be obtained and used to determine where and when to paddle.

Weather and Conditions Guide

I use a guide that works for my experience and skill level. I call it 10-30-3.

10 stands for 10 foot waves

30 stands for 30 knot winds

3 stands for a 3 knot current

Any time these conditions are reported or forecasted, I know that my skills could be overwhelmed. I know I can't fight these conditions for long; but with careful planning, I can still go kayaking--instead of paddling against a 4-knot current, I'll paddle with it, and return when the tide changes; I can also plan my paddle in an area that is less affected by wind or swells.

I have never needed rescuing (knock on water). I would encourage every kayaker to develop their own weather/condition guide tailored to their skill and experience levels.

Related pages 

Conditions Guide

Kayak Surfing Tips

Weather Tips

Put-in of the Month Club

Weather & Kayak Links



Surf Timing

copyright Storm Steiger 2001

kayakers have visited this page since it was created June 15, 2001