Kayaking Technique Forum

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Re: Lake Paddling Conditions
In Response To: Re: Lake Paddling Conditions ()

: Fresh water chop is not fun. It is very hard to paddle in, it is also very
: hard to sail in if your boat is not over 30ft. Lake Michigan has a weather
: buoy system, as do the other great lakes. It is internet accessiable. It
: will give you a great deal of information on the type of waves that are
: out on the Lake. It also give a wave pattern history for a number of
: hours. I look at this information and to be honest try to avoid going out
: in kayaks on days when the lake's wave pattern is very unstable.

: Sometimes, you get caught out in the chop and cann't do much about it. This
: is when I have found sponsons to be very useful. But you have to put them
: on before the chop gets very bad or you simply will not be able to stop
: bracing long enough to be able to do it. They greatly reduce the amount of
: bracing that is required. Since in a good chop you are not going to be
: going very fast the sponsons really do not make much difference in terms
: of slowing you down. I think the most important thing is to stay calm if a
: big cross wind comes up and you are out several miles. If you try to race
: in you putting yourself more at risk than it is worth.

: The more time you spend on large lakes like Michigan the more you understand
: the wave changes that take place with wind changes. You become aware of
: how long it takes for patterns to change as direction and force changes.
: The old saying goes the man who does not fear the lake will surely drown
: one day. Those that fear it will drown only now and again.

: Rod

: Looking out my office window at 10ft breakers on Lake Michigan


Thanks for the tips on your experience. I am finding that lake patterns are somewhat different from seas, in that there is sometimes a shorter fetch, no tides (that actually simplifies things) and strong winds, although the oceans have strong winds also. I find the boat quite stable actually, but I do more chop dancing than I am used to. None of it really destabilizes the boat much, but it can harder to read the water, as you say. I feel quite comfortable paddling in it, but I wanted feedback on any other experiences with lake chaos. It seems the same is ocean chaos. Happy paddling. Hey, where are you in Michigan? I used to spend alot of time in Michigan, Ann Arbor and such. Anyway thanks for the tips. I think there are a couple of important differences in lake paddling, especially for beginners who don't feel all that good in a boat anyhow.