The Surf Zone article is right on and I had an experience with this issue this past weekend. I went out with some surfer friends to a very crowded beginner beach with throngs of people in the water at all times. I avoided the crowds and only launched from distant areas and avoided the surf area completely because I do not think that kayaks and surf boards mix well, unless you are a really good surf kayaker who has some sort of leash on their boat to keep it from rocketing toward the shore in the event of a fall (but even still, I am very hesitant about boats and other recreationists). Anyways, later in the day I popped over to chat with my friend who was surfing briefly because she seemed far enough out of the active surf zone. Well, a huge wave started breaking way far out where we were and as I went to paddle over it some surfer came up next me, paddled out in front of me, then immediately turned to catch the wave! I was forced to angle myself slightly off perpendicular to the breaking wave to avoid him and the skewed angle opened up enough side surface area to allow the wave to thrust my boat completely around and suddenly I was riding that wave. Luckily I have a surf yak and I know how to control it so I was able to hard turn, avoid others, and get off the wave very quickly (and very luckily).
But at any rate, it really taught me that even if you are trying to be careful and not catch any waves, you never know what mother nature and other people around you will do. My lesson? Just completely avoid the crowded areas and never, ever put your kayak anywhere close. Just better safe than sorry!
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Posted by: Quickfire on Aug-20-12 3:56 PM (EST)
This article and your others about launching, landing and side surfing were very helpful during my week in ocean city nj. We pay an exorbitant fee to keep a hobie catamaran at a designated boat beach with signs posted to keep a small corridor clear through waters edge. However, people invariably sit and swim there so a constant process of nicely asking them to allow us through passage and educating them on the danger of swimming in the path of incoming and outgoing sailboats and kayaks. Not always easy to see them over swells and breakers when you must land in a confined 100 foot wide area. Use of air horn is recommended but you would be surprised at the number of people who put themselves at risk. We are required to carry a large insurance policy for liability.