Suwannee Adventures

The 2-Piece Mast can have you riding the wind, you'll have a 2-Piece Paddle when you want to get in a good workout and then there's the MirageDrive System which allows you the opportunity to maneuver like you were paddling but by using your legs. This hands-free design gives you the ease of walking which powers the kayak so you can do anything from fishing, eat lunch or send out a tweet without missing a beat. 

Recommended

      For You

                               The Low Brace
The low brace uses the back side of the paddle pushed down into the water to prevent a capsize. Your forearm should remain in line with the paddle's resistance. Again, head motion and opposite rotation of the hips to return the kayak hull to a stable position aids in a successful brace. The sweeping low brace is a low brace starting from the stern or bow and moving toward the other end of the kayak. The stern sweeping low brace is the most natural and quickest to deploy when the paddle blade on the side toward which you are capsizing is behind you. When the blade is in front of you, most find that the quickest natural brace is the high brace. A stern sweeping brace can be transitioned to a sweeping high brace, and vice versa, if bracing is still required at the end of a sweeping brace.

                              The High Brace

The high brace is the same motion as a draw that is employed while you are in the process of capsizing. As you are going over, extend your paddle out to place the face of the paddle flat on the water surface. Actually smacking the surface of the water will help arrest your capsize motion. Attempt to pull the blade down through the water. Keep your elbow bent at about 90 degrees. Do not reach out too far from the side of the kayak. Doing so will increase the risk of a shoulder separation, particularly in surf. Your arm and elbow should be in line with the paddle. As you pull down on the paddle, toss your head toward the paddle and rotate your hips to rotate the kayak hull back to its stable position. Use the rest of the paddle stroke to return your body to the center line of the kayak. Leaning your body back over the rear deck of the kayak will help this recovery.

kayak from capsizing

How to keep your  

          Capsized in Fast-Moving Water
In fast-moving water or rapids, get upstream (behind) away from your boat until you reach slower moving water. Float on your back, feet downstream. Remember, the surface water moves slower and for God’s sake, don't try to stand in fast-moving water. Rocks or other objects can trap your feet and the force of the water can hold you under. 

Ok, so why do I get away upstream from my canoe (behind the canoe)? Moving canoes filled with water and with the force of the river pushing them, can pin or crush paddlers against rocks or trees. I witnessed this happen and thank God a power boat was nearby or the rescue would have been a lot different.

        Capsized in Slow Moving Water
On slow moving water, stay with your boat and swim it to shore or shallow water where you can dump the water and right your vessel. It floats even when full with water and can support you if you become tired. Make sure your belongings are secured to your boat to keep from losing them in the event you capsize.


It helps to tuck your paddles under the seats and/or thwarts so they stay with the boat and you have your hands free. This could be challenging if the current is very strong. Try to work with the current as much as possible, float down stream awhile if you have to until the current slows up a bit.

 

If your sense of balance is pretty good, you will probably be able to stay upright most of the time you are canoeing. Give it enough time though and everybody will end up flipping their canoe eventually. In fact, every time you get in a canoe, you should plan as if you are going to flip (tie gear to the boat, wear clothes you don’t mind swimming in, etc.). When you do happen to flip your canoe, the way you handle it will depend on the water conditions you find yourself swimming in. At times like this it is great to have air bags in the bow and stern of your kayak. The bow ones are good to have but can be awkward to work with depending on your foot rest system. 

What do I do if I Capsize?

If you are planning on going on a kayak tour with a friend or family member, there are several things that you should consider. One of these is the difference between solo versus tandem kayaks. After all, you can go on the kayak tour with both people riding in their own solo kayak, or you can buy one tandem kayak to share.

The first thing you should consider is that tandem kayaks are best if one of the people going on the trip is less experienced than the other. This way, if the kayak tour is going to last for a long period of time, neither person is going to end up feeling left behind. If both people have similar skills, then you may want to put the larger person in the back of the kayak. However, if this is not the case, then the person in the back seat of a tandem kayak should be whoever has the most experience kayaking since this is the person who will be steering the kayak.

Another thing you should look at regarding solo versus tandem kayaks is that there is a high degree of communication required in order to make a tandem kayak work. This is due to the fact that even though the person in the back of a tandem kayak is the most important part of steering the kayak, a little help will still be needed from the person in front of the kayak.

Tandem kayaks are also best if you are planning on kayaking with a child. This is especially the case if you're looking to go for a relatively long trip. After all, there's always a case that your child could grow tired before you reach your destination. If that happens, then you'll want to have your child in the same kayak that you are. Therefore, for kayaking with children, the question of solo versus tandem kayaks is fairly easy to answer. Tandem kayaks are better.

However, if you're planning on kayaking with another person who is just as experienced at it as you are, then you'll probably want to go in your own kayaks. After all when considering solo versus tandem kayaks, it's important to remember that in a tandem kayak, neither of the two people has complete control over the kayak. Therefore, if you are going on a long kayak tour, or if you are going to be in somewhat rough water, then you should probably go with solo kayaks.

 

Tandem Kayak

 Versus Solo  

out of your kayak

Early whitewater kayaks were constructed from fiberglass or kevlar, and some competitive paddlers prefer these hull materials due to the lighter weight. But today the majority of whitewater boats are made out of rotomoulded plastic, a type of plastic that's nearly indestructible (although easily scratched).

Whitewater kayaks are much shorter than their flat water cousins, and don't have many of the features of sea kayaks such as rudders, storage compartments, compasses, sails, etc. Typical whitewater boats range in size from 5 feet on the short end, to 10 feet or more on the long end.

Whitewater Kayaks 
As you might magine, whitewater kayaks are designed to be used in the whitewater of mountain streams and rivers. There are a variety of sub-types of whitewater boats, from freestyle playboats, hybrids, slalom boats, squirt boats, steep-creekers, river runners and more. 

There are a few benefits to inflatable kayaks that should probably be mentioned first, however. These benefits probably seem relatively straight-forward, but they are all reasons to get an inflatable kayak on their own. First of all, inflatable kayaks are probably the most buoyant of any type of kayak. This makes sense, since the kayak essentially consists of blown up inner compartments. If you're looking for a kayak that will more than likely stay upright, then this is probably the best option for you.

You should also consider just how easy it is to move around with inflatable kayaks in contrast to some of the other kayak types. First of all, most of the available kayaks that are made out of other materials are actually fairly heavy. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, kayaks are at least a little bit heavy and you have to have the right rack on your car in order to travel with them.

One major advantage to the inflatable kayaks, however, is that they can easily be broken down and stored. All you have to do is deflate, fold, and pack your kayak up before you go anywhere. One disadvantage is that you'll have to inflate your kayak before you're ready to actually start paddling, but this is definitely a minor concern when you consider that you'll be able to bring your kayak on an airplane if you need to.

The last thing you should consider about inflatable kayaks is that it is much easier to store them - which may mean that they will last longer than a lot of the other kayak designs. After all, in order to store an inflatable kayak, you only need enough room to store the deflated kayak. For a regular type of kayak, you'd need to have enough room for the entire boat.

In short, if you're looking for a convenient, light, and easy to use kayak design, then inflatable kayaks are definitely the type for you.

Inflatable Kayak
Inflatable kayaks: easy to use and light.
Inflatable kayaks are generally a lot sturdier than most people would imagine. Generally the mental image that comes to mind when "inflatable kayak" is said is one that looks like an inflatable toy. However, this is far from the case and in fact, some of these inflatable kayaks can even be used for whitewater touring.


Different kinds of kayak

Sit-on-top Kayak
Sit-on-top kayaks are ideal for beginners. If you're looking for kayaks that are easy to use, then you should probably look into getting sit-on-top kayaks. These kayaks are designed so that you don't have to worry about spray skirts, instead you just sit on top of the kayak seat and you're ready to go. These kayaks are ideal for beginners, children, or for people who just want a recreational kayak that's easy to use.

Paddling a Kayak

Outfitters

The real way to enjoy nature!

Kayaking

Just like paddling a canoe the power in paddling does not come from the arms. It comes from trunk (torso) rotation matched with leg drive (or leg pressure), with the arms little more than linkage between the power source and the paddle. Control of the kayak does not come from brute force. It comes from the right stroke being applied in the right direction at the right time - it’s all done with coordination and balance. To the right are two videos that I feel will help you more than all the words I could write. These two videos were put together by paddling.net and sponsored  by Johnson Kayaks. 


Special Note:​

​One of the most common reasons for people being uncomfortable while kayaking, is because of tight hamstrings. It makes sitting upright with the legs in front very tricky, so sit up straight. If you're having a problem, it's worth taking the time to do some stretching.

Recreational Kayaks
Best for easy days on calm waters.
Recreational           are affordable and easy to use, and offer initial stability that’s reassuring for novices, photographers, anglers or casual paddlers on placid rivers, ponds or lakes. They are not so good for open water or use in heavy wind or currents.


Another benefit of sit-on-top kayaks is that they are very easy to keep upright. Usually these kayaks are designed to be a bit broader than regular kayaks. The result of this is that there is more base to the kayak - which means that it's much harder for them to tip over. The other benefit of the sit-on-top kayaks is that even if they do flip over, it is not nearly such a big deal as it might be if you had that problem in a regular kayak.

This is due to the fact that if your sit-on-top kayak flips, all you have to do is flip it back over and climb back on top. This is not a very big deal, and anybody can do it. On the other hand, in kayaks that have spray skirts and that you sit inside of, it is possible that flipping over can be very serious. In any case, you have to spend a lot of time learning to right yourself. Since children often have trouble with this, you can see why sit-on-top kayaks are preferred.

The other benefit is that there is a lot of tandem sit-on-top kayaks sold. This is because while it is harder to control a kayak that has two people in it, sit-on-top kayaks do not have that problem - even if the kayak does tip, it's no big deal!
Sit-on-top kayaks are generally made out of either plastic or fiberglass so they are also low maintenance, light, and will last a long time.

You can even get sit-on-top kayaks with bulkheads inside of the kayak just in case you would like to take the boat on a kayak tour. These kayaks are great for beginners, and make very good recreational or touring boats.

Recreational kayaks usually have a small storage area for short day trips, though some have a larger storage area for day touring. Most are 10 to 12 feet long and have a large cockpit for easy access and a wide beam for stability.

They don’t track (hold a straight course) as well as a touring kayak. If flipped, they can be a challenge to bail out. Often made of polyethylene plastic, recreational boats can be heavy to transport and carry.

   Getting in and           

Get in and out of your kayak with grace and safety.
Before you are all the way in or out of a kayak, there is that time when most of you are well up above the kayak. In this position, kayaks have very little stability. Use your paddle to stabilize your kayak while you perform this maneuver. You will encounter many different situations where you need to get in and out of your kayak. We will cover some of them here.

The most common condition is a launch or ramp where the water shoals slowly and you can stand easily on the bottom with the kayak floating in about one foot or less of water. Some of the kayak may even be resting on the bottom, either the bow or stern. The key to a stable boat is to use the paddle as a support to prevent the kayak from capsizing while you get into the kayak.

If you enjoy the river but do not enjoy hauling canoes and kayaks on the top of your car, there are many outfitters along the Suwannee River who are willing to help - for a price. Whether you seek a few hours on the river or an overnight trip, outfitters will work to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip. From equipment, paddling lessons or guided tours, Outfitters will work with you to design a package that suits your needs. See our Outfitter page..


​Kayaking is an activity that can be learned quickly and enjoyed by all ages. It’s less strenuous than paddling a jon boat or canoe. With the double-bladed paddle your motion is more fluid and efficient. You’re sitting closer to the water, and you only dip the paddle blade just below the surface in order to take a stroke. You’ll make less noise in a kayak, which can get you a closer view of wildlife. Let's start with some basics. This page is basic kayaking, see my whitewater page for advanced kayaking.