W Kayaking in Strong Wind

W kayakers usually report excellent performance of their boats under wind, mainly because it tracks well and offers various means for power-paddling and counter-affecting the wind.

Here are some tips that can improve your W kayak’s performance when you’re paddling in strong wind:

1. Paddle only in the Riding Position, and lean a bit forward, with your knees lower than your hips – That would give you extra power.

2. Paddle from the middle of the cockpit, as much as possible –

  • If you paddle from its rear it would raise your W kayak’s bow and expose it to the wind, and the boat will turn away from the wind.
  • If you paddle from the front of the cockpit, the stern will go up, and the kayak will turn into the wind.

3. Lean your W kayak into the wind – That would make it harder for it to affect the course of your W kayak.

4. Cover the front of the cockpit – That would improve the cockpit’s aerodynamics. Any waterproof fabric or plastic sheet would do for that matter. Every W kayak comes with a preparation for a cockpit cover that’s easy to use, and you can cover the cockpit in seconds.

5. Apply short J strokes on the side from which the wind is blowing, and more powerful strokes on the lee side (the sheltered side) – That would help you track.  You may even hold the paddle not from its middle, so that you can apply longer strokes on the lee side.

6. Any object protruding from the deck is exposed to the wind, and therefore generates additional drag – Dismount deck mounted rod holders, and store your fishing rods inside the hulls whenever possible. A milk crate would act as a small sail that’s controlled by the wind, so you’d better avoid using one.

7. Keep paddling in a steady pace and a straight course – This is not about one-time corrections, but about minimizing your effort and getting there. Precision and efficiency are as important as power.

8. Again: Remember you can move fore and aft along the saddle, and by that control the angle in which your W kayak will point relatively to the direction from which the wind blows: Paddling from a forward position will tend to point the bow into the wind, and paddling from a backward position would tend to point the bow sideways and away from the wind (not a desirable thing).

Here is a video on the subject.