Sit-on-top sea kayaking

Go Get Adventure recently asked me to write a short article for their what is sit-on-top sea kayaking section. Here’s the result.

Imagine slipping away from a busy beach and within a few hundred metres you are in another world. A place where the squawk of people is replaced by the sound of sea birds and seals are gently calling their young from within caves.

Sea kayaking enables you to discover and explore. You don’t need to sign up for a multi day expedition in a far off location to get a sense of adventure. Around the UK the ocean is a wilderness sitting on our doorstep.

Just how much “adventure” you want while sea kayaking is up to you. From a family outing exploring the coast to a more challenging tide race or offshore kayak journey, sea kayaking offers a range of adventure experiences.

Sea kayaking is a social activity. Even if you do not want to go exploring among rocks, you can share the experience as others slip down gullies and channels and be part of the adventure.

Sit-on-tops and sea kayaking

The arrival of the sit-on-top sea kayak transformed sea kayaking by offering rapid progression and the ability to get out exploring. Though not as fast or high performance as traditional closed cockpit sea kayaks the sit-on-top is an excellent craft to start sea kayaking- and it is user friendly.

The worry of dealing with a capsize is reduced with a sit-on-top kayak. Instead paddlers can focus on developing skills and exploring. Just try not to get over confident and steer clear of any outfitter or retailer that tells you that you can’t fall off a sit-on-top because it is so stable.

If you fancy a spot of kayak fishing the sit-on-top is the craft to choose for this popular activity.

Where to sea kayak

When it comes to deciding where to sea kayak, the UK is a great place to start. There are lots of sea kayaking spots around the coast. Scotland, Wales, the South West and Ireland have amazing scenery and top class centres. Sea kayaking is an activity, where the UK is a top destination.

Venture further south to the Channel Islands and the water gets warmer.

Sea kayaking in Jersey and Guernsey has plenty of options for courses and shorter trips. For the more adventurous there are offshore trips to Sark and Les Ecrehous plus boat supported kayak tours where you travel across by charter boat and then kayak.

The Channel Islands have an added advantage of a wide range of hotels, restaurants and other facilities, so there is more to do than just sea kayaking, when the paddle is over.

Training  and courses

If you are thinking of sea kayaking overseas, get some training in the UK. British sea kayak training is highly rated and you may find yourself paddling in more interesting places once they know you have some experience. A bit of knowledge will also help you spot the “cowboy” operators.

Centres offer sea kayak tours or half day and day long courses and trips. Select a quality outfitter because they’ll be used to working with a range of different abilities and interests. Good outfitters will operate with small groups and experienced staff, who know the best spots around the coast.

Paddle with companies that employ qualified staff. In the UK look for British Canoe Union (BCU), AALA and Adventuremark approval as indicators that providers have the correct safety and staffing in place.

There’s a wilderness on our doorstep waiting to be explored by sea kayak.