We asked some of our Ambassador team members to share their favorite local kayaking or packrafting spot with us. Maybe you live near these places, too, or are looking for a great travel destination.
Dr. Lars Klüser: Wadden Sea, Germany
The Wadden Sea is a large area of inter-tidal sand and mudflats along the shore of the German North Sea coast. It reaches as far out as 15 nautical miles from shore and is a zone where the sandbars and banks become submerged and dry during the course of the day.
The Wadden Sea World Nature Heritage Site includes coastline of Germany, Netherlands and Denmark (iMaps)
At ebb tide (at low water levels), the sand islands rise from the sea. In-between are a lot of "rivers" which transport North Sea water (and kayakers) out towards the open sea. At flood levels (high water) all this beauty is flooded and the whole area is but a vast open water area. As all this happens twice a day, there is constant changing in the area we are kayaking.
Neuwerk is a small island inside this Wadden area which can be reached by ship, by kayak and, at low water, even by foot. Seagulls and seals are very common sights while paddling here. Even small whales can frequently be observed. The entire area is a PSSA (particularly sensitive sea area), a National Park and a UNESCO World Nature Heritage Site.
The Wadden Sea is wide and there are few places where sea kayakers gather frequently. The area between Cuxhaven and Neuwerk is not frequented much by kayakers because the outflows of the two big rivers—the Elbe and the Weser—make navigating through the sandbars and priels (as the Wadden rivers are called) quite challenging.
Tidal planning is a must when kayaking here. But as one often needs to wait for the tidal streams to change direction, this also gives plenty of time to enjoy nature and wildlife in this sandy environment.
Lars’ kayak rests near open water at the Wadden Sea (photo courtesy of Lars Klüser)
I have known these waters since my childhood. First, I navigated them by sailing boat. I started to explore the Wadden Sea by kayak about seven years ago and since then come back often—every other week or so.
During the warm season, I take our clients from SeaKayak Kehdingen there as well and teach them to find their way throughout the mudflats, sandbars and open water spaces.
Lars’ Gear Choices
I choose the kayak depending on the nature of the trip. If I go on an overnighter or on a multi-day trip, my choice is the Norwegian Norse Bylgja. It has a very good load capacity, but still is an agile kayak in a traditional style.
If I want to collect miles or just travel almost effortlessly, I take the Sea Hunter by the Danish brand Struer Kajak. Recently I added the Melker of Sweden Rödlöga to my collection of Scandinavian kayaks. It’s a true “sea playboat" and offers a lot of fun on a very stable ride.
My paddle of choice is the Aqua Bound Tango Carbon with all three boats. I like to vary the paddling angle depending on the conditions. I like the extremely light weight of the paddle as well as its stiffness. If I want to go play-boating with the Rödlöga, the Whiskey has proven its worth.
Charles Bauer: Stony Brook Harbor, New York
I love Stony Brook Harbor because of its location, but more importantly, the numerous photo opportunities—especially the waterfall and Grist Mill. Additionally, it’s great for all levels since many of the family and friends I bring along are inexperienced kayakers.
Stony Brook Harbor is on the north shore of Long Island, New York (Mapcarta)
You can launch from two different locations. The most popular launch point is next to the Marina, where you can also rent kayaks and paddle boards from Stony Brook Harbor Rentals. They are very friendly and accommodating to all levels and ages. This launch spot also gives you quick access to the waterfall and Grist Mill for some great photo opportunities.
Kayaking Stony Brook Harbor (photo courtesy of Charles Bauer)
The second launch point is from Stony Brook Beach. This gives you access to West Meadow Creek which is a bit more protected than the open harbor.
If you have your own kayak, you can explore the entire harbor area and paddle into West Meadow Creek for several hours. If you paddle West Meadow Creek on its own, it would take 1.5-2 hours.
If you paddle only Stony Brook Harbor, you might paddle anywhere from 2-5 hours depending on your speed and route. When you rent boats you have 2 hours to explore the Stony Brook Harbor side. I always suggest you turn left first to see the waterfall and Grist Mill.
The waterfall at Stony Brook’s Grist Mill (photo courtesy of Charles Bauer)
Jessica Kelley: Methow River, Washington
I live in Washington’s Methow Valley, so the Methow River is the backdrop of almost everything I do. Not just paddling, but hiking, biking and even driving my kid to school (the main road through the valley runs parallel to the river).
Methow River in Washington, US
The Methow River has a section for everyone—from the wilderness feel of the upper stretches, to tubing through town, to big waves down-valley.
Beginning paddlers should contact Methow Rafting to rent tubes or go on a guided rafting or kayak trip. Intermediate and advanced paddlers can check American Whitewater for good data on recommended water levels and current flows for each stretch.
Methow River (photo courtesy of Jessica Kelley @jessi_goes)
Our family has a few different packrafts, and any of them would work well on the Methow, depending on the segment.
I've got an Alpacka Raft Classic I paddle with my Aqua Bound Shred Carbon. This set-up serves me well in the Class III+ Black Canyon section. We've also got an Alpacka Forager that we paddle with an AB Shred Apart. This set-up is perfect for family floats and can also safely navigate whitewater. Lastly, I have an old-school Alpacka Fjord Explorer I paddle with a Manta Ray. This is great for the tubing stretch!
Jessica on the Methow River (photo courtesy of Jessica Kelley @jessi_goes)
Follow Jessica on Instagram.
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Thanks to our Ambassadors Lars, Charles and Jessica for sharing their favorite local kayaking and packrafting spots with us!
Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]
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