Tips For Kayaking In Windy Conditions

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

Are you astounded by how much fun you can have in a kayak while fishing in some of the most beautiful spots on the planet? While being emotionally caught up in the moment is wonderful, you never want to be physically at the whim of the wind.

The finest kayakers are continuously aware of the weather. 

In addition to understanding the air and water temperatures, you need also to be mindful of the wind speed in the area where you intend to kayak.

Knowing when it is too windy to go kayaking might keep you out of potentially dangerous conditions.

Why Is Wind a Concern for Kayakers?

Paddling into a strong wind leads kayakers to exhaust faster, which may cause you to run out of energy before you can return to shore. 

Strong tailwinds might also be an issue, depending on the direction they come from.

If the wind is at your back at the start of your journey, it may drive you out on larger bodies of water than you wish to travel. 

High winds also produce larger waves, which can lead you to roll your kayak if they become too large for you to control. 

Even experienced kayakers can get seasick when there are a lot of waves.

Strong gusts on colder days can often cut through your layers of clothing, causing you to become chilled faster than if the conditions were calm.

If the wind is strong enough, the paddle may be blown out of your hands.

Trying to retrieve it can be dangerous, but you can paddle to it or back to the shoreline with your hands.

Tips For Kayaking In Windy Conditions

Here are a few extra strategies to prepare for windy kayaking conditions, in addition to checking the latest wind forecast before go fishing in your kayak.

Paddle Against The Wind

If you know the wind is going to blow while you’re out on the lake, you should always start paddling in the direction the wind is expected to blow.

This will help you have the wind at your back as you try to return to your starting point.

Understand Your Local Waterways

Understand Your Local Waterways

Most kayak anglers return to the same spots time and time again. While some kayakers may find this tedious, it provides kayak fishermen with a distinct advantage when dealing with high winds or unforeseen weather conditions.

Knowing your local waterways will help you identify the ideal beach sites and boat ramps.

This advanced understanding will not only make you a better kayak angler, but it will also provide you with more options for your escape strategy when unexpected winds cut your fishing day short.

Fish Near The Shore

Fish Near The Shore

Regardless of the weather conditions during the day, fishing near the shore is one of the pieces of advice for becoming a more successful kayak angler in general.

However, fishing near the beach makes it simple to pull your kayak onto land if wind gusts make it impossible to navigate back to your original launching spot.

Prepare an Exit Strategy

The majority of kayakers begin and end in the same area, although wind might derail that strategy.

If you have even the slightest idea that strong gusts may blow up while you’re paddling, make a note of one or two alternate shoreline places where you can land your fishing kayak if you can’t make it back to your starting point.

Pack more layers

Kayakers should always keep a couple of additional clothing layers on board in one of the best kayak deck bags.

If the winds cause you to capsize and you have to make it ashore sooner than intended, you’ll be glad to have a warm and dry set of clothes to wear while you wait for rescue.

Is it possible to go kayaking while it’s windy?

As you gain kayaking expertise, you’ll learn what your preferences are for wind speed. You can paddle in windy conditions, but some kayakers enjoy more wind than others. Kayaking on a nearly windless day gives beginners more control over their boat, allowing them to focus on refining their paddling skills. Intermediate kayakers may desire stronger waves and wind resistance to make paddling across the water more difficult. In some circumstances, having the wind at their back might help kayakers race along a river faster.

Wind Limits for Sea Kayaking: What Is Safe and Dangerous?

Paddling in the open ocean is one of the most dangerous types of kayaking. Not only are you at the mercy of heavy winds and enormous waves, but you’ll also have to fight powerful ocean currents, which can lead your kayak to veer off course.

So, what are the wind restrictions for sea kayaking that are both safe and dangerous?

Kayaking Safe Wind Limits

Because of the numerous additional environmental considerations to consider when sea kayaking, the acceptable wind limitations for this type of kayaking are slightly lower than those for recreational kayaking.

High winds will certainly amplify the force of the waves, as well as produce additional spray, which will get you wet and expose you to a variety of temperature-related health risks.

Having stated that, when sea kayaking, you should start paying attention to steady winds of 7 to 10 miles per hour. 

While gusts of 4 to 7 miles per hour make sea kayaking more difficult, you should still be able to navigate your kayak properly.

Kayaking Dangerous Wind Limits

Winds are much more intimidating for sea kayakers due to the vastness of the ocean.

Not only may they be inconvenient when you’re just trying to get back to your starting point, but strong winds on the ocean can pose major health and safety risks.

Even if the storm system is modest, it will produce higher waves and, at times, powerful currents, making it much more difficult to maintain your kayak tracking in the right direction.

Because there are a lot of extra factors that might affect your safety when paddling on the ocean in windy circumstances, the absolute upper limit for wind limitations when sea kayaking is somewhere between 10 and 15 miles per hour.

Whether you’re paddling on absolutely flat water or in slightly windy conditions, you should always be prepared with the necessary kayaking safety equipment.


The wind is undoubtedly the most significant environmental component that can turn an otherwise beautiful kayak day into a tremendous challenge, regardless of where you spend the majority of your time in a kayak.

While the wind might be unpredictable, examining wind patterns can show some regional stability on which you can rely.

This will take some practice and attentiveness, but it will eventually lead to you using the wind to your advantage on the water!

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