Whitewater versus sea kayaking: Determine your kayaking preference

Megan Smith
 min read

There are numerous yet similarly pleasurable differences when choosing between sea kayaking and whitewater kayaking.

Choosing between whitewater versus sea kayaking is a matter of personal preference and depends on your personality.

Your choice also depends on what is easily accessible in your region and the kind of kayaker you aspire to be.

It's usually a case of being influenced by the people who start you off and the social group you become part of.

Whitewater versus sea kayaking: Introduction

Are you looking for an unforgettable adrenaline rush or a peaceful and relaxing paddle?

Do you crave the thrill of navigating through churning whitewater rapids or do you prefer the serene scenery of calm lakes (or seas)?

As a plus-size kayaker, it's important to discover and know your kayaking preference to ensure you have the best possible experience on the water...

In this blog post, we'll explore the differences between whitewater and sea kayaking. My personal goal is to help you determine which style of kayaking is right for you.

Whether you're an experienced or beginning kayaker, below I will provide you with several valuable insights and handy tips to make your next kayaking adventure unforgettable!!

Whitewater versus sea kayaking: What do you prefer?

Whitewater kayaking and video

Whitewater kayaking usually brings to mind adventurers plunging down steep waterfalls and navigating through extremely rocky, tough water while wearing safety gear. In reality this is only one aspect of the truth.

Many amateur paddlers seek quieter waters that allow them to experiment and explore some remote locations.

Sea kayaking and video

Sea kayaking is similar. There is a broad spectrum of kayakers... Some take extended trips in rugged and fairly remote waters while others opt for easier excursions.

The luckier ones manage to get out on the water almost every day in summer, and some use the water to commute.

Kayaking is usually done solo, but a good 20 percent of the kayaks are doubles in the sea kayaking niche.

Comparison between the two options

Whitewater kayaking is a more specific sport. There are tandem whitewater kayaks, but these are rather exceptions.

Kayaking offers many different choices for you to peruse. You can have a leisurely, short trip or opt for a more adventurous expedition. Tip: Check out the following beautiful kayaking sites in the US and get inspired (videos included)!

Its main virtue definitely lies in the fact that kayaking is suitable for individuals of any age, size, weight and capability.

Identify your kayaking preference

What's your choice?

Some sea kayakers live closer to rivers than the sea, and some whitewater paddlers take pleasure in the wilderness vacation potential of the sport.

Sea kayaking is for you if:

  • You're looking to be with a small group or just seeking to have some time to yourself
  • Access to nature and unspoiled locations is your goal
  • You want the simple option of self-sufficient, outdoor camping
  • You live near an ocean, flatwater river, or lake

Go for whitewater kayaking if:

  • You're seeking an exhilarating, outdoor sport
  • You don't mind going underwater once in a while
  • Sport and physical exercise is your primary goal
  • You are patient enough and comfortable with a longer learning curve
  • You happen to live near whitewater streams

Best heavy-duty kayaks for tall and heavy people

Do you want to know which kayak is the best choice for you?

Then you should definitely check our article on the best high weight capacity kayak for big guys.

Kayaking skills needed for whitewater and sea kayaking

The strokes for both sea and whitewater kayaking are practically the same.

If you live near the water, you could choose one kayaking type during the week and aim for the other during your vacations.

Learning the standard kayaking maneuvers will help you enjoy a range of basic leisure activities.

Examples are fishing (and the associated health benefits), bird watching, photographing, outdoor camping and anything you may encounter on a more extended tour.

Tip: Pay attention to how much weight a kayak can hold before investing your money as it needs to support both your body weight and all your gear.

If you like point-to-point travel, you might want to combine your kayaking skills with outdoor camping using the appropriate camping gear.

These independent journeys are extremely satisfying. In fact, they're a great way to plan overnight kayak trips without carrying a backpack.

The kayak will carry your equipment and all you need to do is choose a suitable spot and pull it up on shore.

Play paddling is the most popular type of whitewater paddling. Kayakers use the river's currents, bends and waves to navigate and explore the waterways.

It is a very safe choice for the whitewater kayaker. It allows you to pick rivers and rapids that are commensurate with your capability and risk appetite.

Whitewater versus sea kayaking: Conclusion

Whether you prefer the thrill of the rapids or the serenity of the sea, kayaking is an incredible activity that can be enjoyed by everyone (your size and weight do not matter!).

By understanding the huge differences between whitewater and sea kayaking, you can easily determine which kayaking style suits your personal preferences and skill level.

Regardless of your choice: Kayaking offers a unique opportunity to connect with the wonderful nature in the United States, to really challenge yourself, and to experience the thrill of adventure.

The next time you're out on the water, focus on enjoying the journey and embracing the unique and relaxing experience that kayaking offers.

Whether you choose to paddle through whitewater or along the coast, the world of kayaking is waiting for you, and the possibilities in the United States are endless.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and explore, push your limits, and create unforgettable memories on the water!

Tip: Although we just covered the basics in this article, you can easily seek further guidelines and experience to adapt fundamental techniques to suit your wants and needs.

And don't forget to read our buying guide covering the best kayaks for big guys if you are looking for a solid and stable heavy-duty kayak.

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More