Kayaking Lake Superior
Posted by: old_user on Sep-25-12 4:35 PM (EST) Category: Kayaks
1. What kayak should I buy?
I am looking to buy a kayak to use next summer, mostly in the shoreline of northern lake Superior - specifically in Pukaskwa National Park and in the Silver Islet cove area of the Sibley Peninsula. I don't plan on doing anything more open water than that and I would like to be able to use the kayak on small rivers and inland lakes as well. I am 5 foot 2 and ~125lb with a beginner to intermediate skill level. I am looking for something in the lower end of the touring kayak price range, but don't want to compromise too much.
2. Should I be concerned?
I've done open-water kayaking in the Adriatic Sea before and it did not seem too different from the inland lakes I had kayaked before, but I'm hearing concern from ppl that I don't know what I am doing. Is this a real concern if I just want to paddle some shorelines in good weather? I know it's cold and I have a wet suit, but I've never seen anyone kayak there in one.
I'm looking for a recommendation for either a specific kayak or brand, and/or a recommendation for specifications I should look for.
3. Advice / Experience with Kayaking Northern Superior?
If there is anyone out there that actually has experience kayaking in these places or similar places in northern Superior can you let me know what you think, and any good spots I should check out. Please and thanks!
Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!
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I have no specific brand recommendations|
Posted by: kayamedic on Sep-25-12 4:45 PM (EST)
but have paddled the Puk coast twice and also the length of Lake Superior Provincial Park.
Posted by: jcbikeski on Sep-25-12 6:56 PM (EST)
It does. Environment Canada always|
Posted by: kayamedic on Sep-25-12 9:01 PM (EST)
has a disclaimer in their wind reports that the wind forecast is for open waters.
So mainly the NNE coast?|
Posted by: jcbikeski on Sep-25-12 9:20 PM (EST)
I knew tour operators and clubs paddled Superior but couldn't if the nicest day of the nicest week could kick up to 35 with almost no notice -- they'd lose too many each year and lose insurance and customers.
Great Lakes are indeed unpredictable|
Posted by: willowleaf on Sep-26-12 2:18 AM (EST)
Even Lake Michigan, which is on average milder than Superior, can change from placid to deadly in a heartbeat, with no warning, official or otherwise. We lost two family members back in 1993 who were swimming at their hometown beach along the central east shoreline of Michigan when a lovely summer day suddenly turned to black skies and raging wind and waves. Both father and teenaged son were good swimmers but they were swept out and then battered against the breakwater.
how do tour operators manage|
Posted by: jcbikeski on Sep-26-12 9:49 AM (EST)
If the forecast says four days of clear skies and calm winds, you check for updates and you scan the sky and still it can change in a heartbeat then it would be unethical and uninsurable to run a kayak business. Even most experienced paddlers would do poorly with sustained 35mph winds if out of a protective cove or harbor. Those conditions, especially if blowing out to open water would be over the head of many paid trip leaders.
Watching the lake for months|
Posted by: kayamedic on Sep-26-12 10:21 AM (EST)
They are there. They sense the patterns of weather.
good to know there are clues|
Posted by: jcbikeski on Sep-26-12 10:55 AM (EST)
I've been a long fan of watching the little patterns and combining that with larger forecasts. Knowing that certain conditions upped the chances of bad things and knowing the amount of error in forecasts (how much quicker a storm may arrive compared to the forecast). So basically there are ways to know even if not nearly 100% perfect. Generally in a new area my normal plan is to talk to locals and ideally do a trip with locals to learn more about what to watch for then I'm a bit safer doing things on my own the other days especially if I add a goodly margin for error.
that's a very good idea.|
Posted by: kayamedic on Sep-26-12 12:18 PM (EST)
Granted the Rossport area is a good bit more sheltered.
Even on Lake Erie|
Posted by: Celia on Sep-26-12 12:11 PM (EST)
Pop-up summer storm, which by their nature are hard to predict, from dark clouds to wind and waves that were challenging good-sized motor boats in under 12 minutes. Saw it at a niece's wedding in Dunkirk some years ago.
Posted by: Peter-CA on Sep-25-12 6:23 PM (EST)
Contact Bryan Hansel|
Posted by: willi_h2o on Sep-25-12 8:22 PM (EST)
Posted by: Peter-CA on Sep-25-12 8:41 PM (EST)
Here is a sobering example from Lake Superior this year which will explain why people seem to be coming down hard on skills and gear needed:
If you haven't see people in wet suits|
Posted by: Celia on Sep-25-12 9:02 PM (EST)
Either you aren't seeing the serious paddlers or you don't recognize a dry suit. I personally agree with dry at those temps, but I paddle with one person who can tolerate a brief swim in a thick wetsuit down into the 40's. (With a good cag on board.)
Here is a link to an outfitter in the|
Posted by: kayamedic on Sep-25-12 9:40 PM (EST)
Rossport-Silver Islet area.
Agree with prior posts -|
Posted by: rpg51 on Sep-26-12 7:05 AM (EST)
Also, are you planning to paddle alone?
Posted by: rusty125 on Sep-26-12 9:23 PM (EST)
I have spent some time on Lake Superior, including the Sleeping Giant/Silver Islet area, Rossport Islands, Slate Islands, Apostles, Isle Royale, etc.
Posted by: Chatam on Sep-26-12 11:48 PM (EST)
Superior: Nastiest of the Great Lakes?|
Posted by: old_user on Sep-27-12 8:06 AM (EST)
Seems like whenever ppl talk about the Great Lakes, it usually comes out that, while all the GLs can have their moods, Lake Superior is the one most prone to having hazardous/deadly conditions.
Posted by: Jeffrey_Lee on Sep-30-12 9:02 PM (EST)
Here's a piece I recently wrote comparing and contrasting the Great Lakes, and Superior in particular, to an ocean environment:
Great article, thanks!|
Posted by: old_user on Oct-01-12 2:50 AM (EST)
Posted by: glendorado on Sep-27-12 8:10 AM (EST)
check this link out. Wind speeds for the U.S. Just put your pointer on the area you want & it will tell you the current wind speed
The map is neat|
Posted by: kayamedic on Sep-27-12 9:57 AM (EST)
but hardly accurate to the scale needed.
Primarily Wind flows [ West - East ]|
Posted by: willi_h2o on Sep-27-12 10:39 AM (EST)
she'll be back|
Posted by: willowleaf on Sep-27-12 10:40 AM (EST)
Be patient, the OP is new here. I directed her to the P.net site and forums last weekend after she initially posted her question on another general sports "answers" forum that has few experienced paddlers on it.