Paddling a siton kayak is one of the most popular forms of recreation in the world today. Not only that – your sit-on kayak is also a famtastic means of transportation and foraging for food. In fact, if it was not for the use of the humble kayak then some indigenous populations of the world would cease to exist.
Take for instance the Inuit people who inhabit the cold, frozen waste lands of the Arctic. These hardy people regularly jump in their paddle craft, made from whalebone, skin and blubber, and head out across the frozen icy waters to hunt and scavenge for food. The kayak, for the Inuit population, is the very backbone of their survival. The fact that they invented this form of transportation only helps to enhance their reputation as canny and astute marine engineers.
For most though, paddling a kayak is something reserved for recreation. Exploring new areas, playing in waves or idly floating along in the current – siton kayaking is a form of escapism from our bustling modern lives.
Across the world there are various spots that have become synonymous with the sport. Where you choose to paddle is your choice. If you are struggling for inspiration here are some suggestions.
As a land mass surrounded by water, an island is the perfect spot for tidal paddling or sea kayaking. Islands offer the chance to seek shelter from any given wind or swell conditions and give the chance to seek out those inaccessible-from-land spots. Spots such as the Shetlands and the Western Isles of Scotland, Anglesey in Wales, the Isle of Man and the Scilly Isles are all fantastic options for paddlers with enough open sea experience.
Further afield you have the Hawaiian Islands, where paddling is a way of life. These Polynesian people can regularly be seen out on the water paddling outrigger canoes, which are a form of kayak. The Polynesian people in general are noted as particularly experienced water men and women, with paddle sports playing a massive role in day to day life. There is a huge selection of wave and flat water spots on offer in Maui as well as the option to indulge in a bit of downwind action – paddling away from the direction of the wind and using the breeze and open ocean rolling swell to propel you along the coast.
And let’s not forget the Caribbean for a suitably tropical sit-n kayak experience. Sitons team member Tez has spent a considerable amount of time paddling in this neck of the woods and highly recommends it. (You can read his write Grenada travel article here – www.sitons.com/articles/spice-island-kayaking-grenadian-paddling-vibes/ and mini Grenada location guide here – www.sitons.com/kayaklocation/grenada-caribbean-west-indies/).
If you are looking for waves to play on with a back drop of stunning scenery, then New Zealand will tick all the boxes. With its impressive mountain ranges and array of surf spots to choose from you will be spoilt for choice as to where to paddle. With a sit on craft you would be wise to choose your spots carefully, as some breaks are for advanced riders only. New Zealand is where you will find a big population of surf ski users too. Surf skis are a hybrid of surfing and kayaking. Some of the world’s best paddlers show amazing skill in some seriously heavy waves.
US – Colorado
If you are searching for some of the most challenging white water river paddling then look no further: the Colorado River has been the playground for many a ‘yaker for years. During the paddling season, which starts in May, it is possible to see some mind-boggling tricks performed in the fearsome stoppers and eddies that form when the river is in full flow. The town of Buena Vista, which used to be a mining town, is where a lot pro riders live and train and the heights that some of the athletes are pushing the sport to are astounding. All of these paddlers ride closed cockpit ‘yaks as a sit on just wouldn’t be suitable for the kind of freestyle riding that they exhibit.
There are many other noted spots in the world where you will be able to get your adrenaline fix too. Whatever your chosen discipline, there’s plenty of choice when selecting a destination that is close to water; be it inland or open sea.