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Experience | Kayaking

Before you take to the water you first need to decide what kind of canoeing or kayaking you intend to do and Devon provides a wide range of options, from the rugged coastline to white water river rapids.

Today’s open canoes are similar in style to those which were used by the American Indians; hence they are often referred to as ‘Canadian’.

An open canoe can be paddled from one to four people, either sitting down or kneeling. The single bladed paddle is usually made of wood or has an aluminium shaft and a plastic blade.

Modern kayaks are related to those which were originally used by Eskimos for hunting. There is a huge range available, depending on where the majority of your intended use is going to be (ocean, river or lake) and the type of use it will then have. This may include touring, surfing, freestyle, white water, fishing or just general exploring and recreational use.

A closed cockpit kayak has a spray deck which fits around your waist and the edges of the cockpit itself. It prevents the ingress of water.

Recreational kayaks are generally large and stable and have an open cockpit. They are best suited to calm water and are excellent for novices and families.

Sit-on-Tops have become very popular over recent years. They are the type often selected by paddlers who just want to have some fun on a variety of water, without committing to a closed cockpit style. As their name suggests, these kayaks do not have a cockpit and are

Devon Outdoors
Devon Outdoors
Devon Outdoors

stable, wide and versatile. They have self-draining holes (which can be closed if required with scupper plugs) and have a variety of uses. They are best used on relatively calm open water, from exploring the coastline to paddling rivers and lakes. Many can also be used in gentle surf conditions and they are excellent for all round family use and ideal for taking to the beach.

A touring kayak is longer and provides storage hatches for equipment. They are usually fast and they track well. They are ideally suited for calm paddling along the coast and lakes.

True sea kayaks are usually longer, have a smaller cockpit area and are fast. They include storage compartments, track well and are excellent for touring on open sea.

Surf and white water kayaks are short and designed for experienced paddlers only and for use in extreme conditions.

When ocean kayaking in particular, it’s extremely important to remember that weather and conditions can change quickly and tides can dramatically affect your trip. Before setting off it’s very important to check weather forecasts and tide charts and follow the relevant safety precautions. You should have navigational skills, tell someone where you are going and have measures in place in case of emergency. It’s also recommended you wear clothing that will keep you warm and dry and many people choose to wear a wetsuit. For white water river kayaking a helmet, boots and gloves are also recommended.

The rugged Devon coastline is fantastic for ocean kayaking, with its wide variety of coves and beaches to be discovered. many of which are not accessible by land. You’ll also get to experience an assortment of marine wildlife in its natural habitat: seals, sea birds and, if you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a basking shark, dolphin or porpoise.

Whatever style of kayaking you choose to do in Devon, it’s highly recommended you obtain instruction from a suitably qualified instructor before taking to the water for the first time.

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