Do you know how to read the waters like a pro while you are kayaking? When you are kayaking it’s essential to learn how to tell the difference between still waters, moving waters and water with underwater currents that can affect your direction, safety and mobility on the waters.
You need to bear all the conditions in mind including the direction of the water travel, sinkholes, eddies and currents.
Moving water can occur due to winds and other weather conditions but even in areas such as lakes, known as still waters, powerful currents can be operating beneath the surface.
Knowing whether water is moving is critical for your safety
If you see twigs of other items moving on the surface of the water you can be sure that it is moving. However, as well as the overt, outwards signs of water movement some of the most powerful currents show no indications on the surface!
Things to look out for:
- White Water-On fast moving rivers where you can clearly see white water on the surface you can be sure that the water is moving and that you need to kayak with the utmost care.
- Eddies –Are naturally occurring phenomena in rivers and should be traversed with caution. They can easily get your kayak out of control and cause you to sway from your selected route.
- Anytime- that you encounter a corner there are likely to be strong currents beneath the surface, even if you can’t see them.
- Waves-are an unavoidable part of sea kayaking but they can also occur on lakes, rivers and even swimming pools! Make sure that if you are in wavy water that you keep your wits about you and maneuver with safety in mind.
Read the water while kayaking
Reading the water is essential for your safety and your ability to successfully choose your course. At narrow points in rivers, near corners and over eddies you will find strong currents. The focusing of the water into a smaller space will always lead to moving currents that lead to moving waters.
Even if the water that you are kayaking on appears to be motionless on the surface it can often be moving. This is a very serious consideration that you constantly need to take into account, particularly if you are navigating new water ways.
Boulders, rocks and other obstacles will cause eddies and strong currents to be created in the water that is flowing past them or moving in the vicinity. Don’t be fooled by appearances and always take care when kayaking past these kinds of features.
Downstream waters – are they favorable?
As you move downstream it’s vital that you can understand the water so you can establish and follow the most favorable downstream paths. Kayaking is a difficult art to master but once you become experienced in reading the water you will have a smoother ride while remaining safe at all times.
When you are kayaking upstream you need to consider the effect that moving water will have on your kayak and the direction that you take. While kayaking upstream you should try to stay central in the waters to avoid the strongest currents that could pull you back downstream. If you see waves ahead of you with bright tops you are safe to continue however, darker waves are better to be avoided.
How do you Navigate upstream?
When traveling upstream you should not only avoid the banks where the currents will be the strongest, but you should also steer towards the outer curves at all times. In this part of the water you will find that you have to use far less energy to achieve the same results. Maintaining and conserving your strength is vital to maximizing your longevity and keeping yourself safe on the water.
While you are traveling upstream you can actually use smooth and round waves to gain momentum, giving you that extra boost that you need while going against the flow!
No matter your level of skill you need to know how to read the water while kayaking
Whether you’ve been kayaking for a decade or a week, studying the patterns that water flows in will help you immensely. You are never too old, or young, to learn more about the water that you love to kayak on.
So while you are kayaking be sure that you are constantly vigilant and aware of the conditions that you are in. Pay attention to the weather, currents and naturally occurring objects in the water ways.
Wrap-up on read the water while kayaking
Kayaking is a safe, fun and good form of exercise but without proper knowledge of the way that the water moves you could find yourself in trouble. Don’t be put off by the uncertainty of navigating the water and instead try to embrace the challenges that it presents.
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