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From sea kayaking to river kayaking it’s only one step away

Discover the beautiful complementarity and the differences between sea kayaking and river kayaking. Salt or fresh water: it doesn't matter!

sea river kayaking

Itiwit Riddle: What do sea kayaking and river kayaking have in common? The boat, right, but still? Anything else? Discover the wonderful complementarity, as well as the differences, of these two activities and worlds. Sea water or fresh water: who cares as long as we’re gliding!    

Sea kayaking and river kayaking: different considerations

There is at least one fundamental difference between sea kayaking and river kayaking:     
- In a river, you always move in the direction of the current.     
- At sea, you launch from a beach and come back to it. So half the time you have the wind, currents, choppy waters, etc. working against you!

This distinction has a direct impact on your choice of craft.

river kayak

#1 Sea kayak: long and tapered to cleave the waves

A sea kayak has a longer hull in order to pierce the waves and slide at good speed while holding the course. It may be equipped with a keel and a rudder.  

The length of a certified 'sea' kayak is at least 3.5 m: this comes in handy when tracing your route but also for carrying your bivouac in the hull and watertight compartments!~ 

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#2 River kayak: short and swift-turning

A river kayak responds to other navigating aspects. Shorter than a sea kayak, it is more responsive to quick turns when stopping and resuming as well as being more sensitive to heeling over.  

Its width depends on your level of practice and the way you feel on board. Keep in mind that the broader a kayak is, the more stable... but also know that what it gains in stability, it loses in speed! ~ 

river kayak

#3 From sea to river: the equipment becomes more specialised

You guessed it: If you want to go from sea kayaking to river kayaking, your equipment will have to transition. 

In order to help you make your choice, why not start by trying them both out at a club or by hiring your kayaking equipment? This provides a simple and safe way to test out different disciplines before investing in a dedicated kayak. 

You’re an uncompromising kayaker who doesn’t like having to choose? Find out about "leisure" kayaks that can be used in either river or sea! This type of kayak usually measures between 2.4 m and 3.9 m allowing you to-and-fro trips without going to far from the beach as well as to glide along on a quiet river.  

But beware: with paddling practice comes the craving! And if once you’ve fallen for the sport you wish to go farther in either of the two modalities, you will need to invest some money.  ~ 

river kayaking
sea kayak

#4 Paddling on sea and river: complementary practices

From a sports perspective, you might want to alternate between the two practices. 

In addition to being entertaining, going from one discipline to the other represents a technical challenge: heeling, rolling... you go over your techniques using different crafts and varying the sensations, spots, manoeuvres and even your kayaking companions. 

Definitely a good way to advance smoothly and boost your motivation during slow periods.~ 

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