Paddling in Moving Water


Paddling in Moving Water - Deception Pass

Current clinic.

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  • Sea Kayak IV
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 4.0 nm
  • Maximum Currents: 6 kts

Meet at Cornet Bay 9:00 AM

At Deception pass  the moving water gives us a perfect school room to practice handling our boats in more challenging conditions.  Plus it is a beautiful place to paddle.  This outing will introduce  you to paddling in Deception pass and paddling in moving water.  
Who is this for?
Participants should have familiarity with edging their boat and bracing.  You might have taken a class, received some informal instruction, or watched a Youtube video and felt you understood it.  You have also practiced on flat water but may not have been sure you were actually doing anything effective.  I'll review edging and bracing but won't give primary instruction in it.  
Paddling in dynamic water, water that is actively trying to tip you over is where you learn to actually use edging and bracing.  You'll likely get it wrong a few times so comfort with capsize, wet exit, and buddy rescue are essential.  
You should be comfortable getting in and out of your boat in flat water.  Rescues should be fairly routine.  A little fear about doing them in Deception Pass is fine but you should be up for the adventure.  
We will start with a discussion about the environment we will be paddling in.  The main feature at Deception pass are eddy lines - lines that demark water moving at different speeds.  The main skill we will practice is paddling across these.
So we will start on shore and I'll describe what an eddy line is, where they hang out, how to recognize them, and what they want to do to your boat.  From that will naturally flow a discussion about how to paddle across them:  on edge with a gliding brace.  
We will get in the water and practice these skills close to shore.  Maybe do a few rescues to get comfortable getting in and out of the water.  
Then we will paddle to the pass.  In the light currents we will paddle around the area to enjoy it's beauty.  We might practice a little eddy hopping as a way to make progress against a current.  
When we arrive at the pass, we'll start paddling across the eddy lines, ferrying and peeling out in progressively a decreasing ebb current. We will have lunch around slack and do the same in the flood current after lunch. Before you know it you will be crossing moving eddy lines with confidence. 
Usually people are getting tired after 3 to 4 hours playing in the current and it is time to call it a day. There is always a place to get out of moving water and some shore to get out on for a short break.  

Deception Pass

  • Sea Trails Deception Pass and Skagit Bay WA101

    NOAA Bellingham to Everett No. 18423

    NOAA Anacortes to Skagit Bay No. 18427
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Standard Kayak Equipment Plus:

  • Helmet
  • Neoprene gloves
  • Spare Clothing
  • Tow rope (if you have one)
Trip Reports