Sea kayaking travel guide

2 Minute Summary - sea kayaking in a nutshell

The first time you sit in a kayak and waddle your backside enough so that you, and your kayak, can catch the first wave to carry you out to sea, you know this is something special. Sea kayaking is very different from river or lake kayaking, because this is the sea. It is unpredictable. And it opens up a whole new world to anyone who loves salty seascapes. And nearly anyone can do it too. You just need to sit in the kayak, paddle a bit and within minutes you are doing it.
Most people in life like to look out to sea, but sea kayaking guides take in the landscape and all its complexities from the water. They are the keepers of secrets: secret beaches, secret islands, secret caves and they welcome people of all ages and skill levels. It is always worth the extra money to take a guided trip. Not just for safety, but for the secrets.
Sea kayaking takes place in all climates, in calm and choppy waters and all year round. Because you don’t need sun and silky waters to go with the flow in a kayak. You just need a sense of adventure.

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If you'd like to chat about sea kayaking or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team.
01273 823 700

Is sea kayaking for you?

Responsible Travel Recommends

Go if…
  • You're a water baby and enjoy marine ecology.
  • Tranquility and just ‘being’ are your thing.
  • You like to see things from a different perspective. Purveying the coastline from out at sea is a whole other experience.
  • You enjoy the company of an expert guide. Sea kayaking guides enjoy a bit of banter as they paddle.

Don’t go if…
  • You don’t want to get wet.
  • Adrenaline sports are the only thing you are after. You can find this sea kayaking, but it depends on the conditions. Try white water river kayaking instead for guaranteed rush.
  • Rubber isn’t your thing. In colder waters, you will layer up with a lot of Neoprene to allow plenty of time on the water, and to make for a pleasant kayak. Even in the depths of winter.
  • You want to conquer a skill in a day. It takes practice if you want to really perfect your paddling.

Sea kayaking travel guide


The minute you get in a kayak it’s as if you are on your own little island. Sea kayaking holidays usually come in two sizes: day trips and longer expeditions. Day trips are short and sweet but a fantastic way of testing the water, so to speak. However, longer sea kayaking trips, which might stretch over a few days not only allow you to explore a coast in depth and see more wildlife, but also improve your skills. Both are – and if not, we highly recommend that they should be – with the support of professional instructors and guides.
First step on any trip is to choose a kayak. Sea kayaks are designed to cope with ocean conditions. Compared with open canoes, they are flush with the water, enclosing the paddler in a little nest.
The hole in which you sit might also be covered with a spray deck to keep you splash free. In fact, being free of everything is what sea kayaking is all about. Free of people, free of stress, free of constraints.
Sea kayaks vary according to your experience and comfort zones. You can either go for a sit in or a sit on, the latter being less enclosed and favoured by families, and they come in singles or doubles.
You will be given wetsuits and shoes depending on the climate, and always a buoyancy aid (plus helmet for choppier conditions). For those new to kayaking, or paddling as it is often called, you will be given some basic instructions, and no matter how experienced you are, you should always be reminded of safety procedures.

On day trips, you might spend a little time doing a warm up, with a few water games to get the paddle power in your muscles warmed up. At this point, sea kayaking becomes what you want it to be. In places like Wales and Ireland, you can seek the adrenaline of white water and orienteering through ‘rock gardens’ if you wish, or you just chill and let the rhythm of the paddle transport you in tranquil bays. In calmer climes sea kayaking will usually be more about exploration than adrenaline. But this is where good guiding and instruction come into play. Longer trips might also involve kayaking to a remote spot and wild camping, which is the ultimate outdoor experience.
Photo credits: [Kayak nose: Outdoor Albania] [Colourful kayaks: John Picken Photography] [Camping: Sergio Aguirre]
Written by Catherine Mack
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Photo credits: [Page banner: Aaron Burden]
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