Sea Kayaking

Sea kayaking is picking up speed. Here's how to do it right

In the July/August 2010 issue of explore, Conor Mihell reported about the Hurricane Riders, a group of extreme sea kayakers in B.C. Using full-length sea kayaks, these guys rip up ocean waves and rapids that most boaters avoid like scurvy, and film the whole thing.

Justine Curgenven popularized this sporty niche of usually sedate sea kayaking with her movie series This is the Sea. (She also made This is Canoeing, featuring explore blogger Kevin Callan and a couple of members of the famed Mason canoeing family.) The water tackled in her videos is solid. The Hurricane Riders are upping the ante.

I just stumbled upon one of their videos where they're surfing some good-size waves near Tofino. I've surfed sea kayaks before. These guys make it look easy. It's not, especially going backwards. Staying on the green of the wave and not getting tossed sideways takes a lot of skill and a kayak you can put on edge.

In this video, the boat of choice is a carbon-fibre Grand Illusion from Sterling's Kayaks. This is a high-performance kayak for bigger paddlers, so there is enough buoyancy  for getting worked on ocean waves. Based in Washington, the company definitely likes their water rough and their speeds fast.