An Expert's Guide to Sea Kayaking

Mark Tozer is a Researcher, Sea Kayak Coach, Mountain Instructor and Expedition Leader, and this is his guide to Sea Kayaking and why you should try it.

Mark was quizzed on his experiences for WR by Sarah Perkins.

SP:  WR first came across you and your kayaking tales on your blog.  How long have you been kayaking?  Can you remember the first time you went kayaking?  What was it like?

MT:  I have been sea kayaking now man for 25 years. The first time I went kayaking was with the Army Cadets on a very cold lake in south Wales. The memories that I have of that experience was that it was quite challenging to control my boat, but great fun, as I was with my friends.

SP:  You seem very passionate about the sport, what kinds of things made you start? Why do you think you are so passionate about it?

Sea kayaking has always brought out a sense of adventure in me and the idea that there are so many sea and oceans to explore. Kayaking brings out a sense of freedom and exploration in me.

Just some of our sea kayaking recommendations:

SP:  How did you decide to kayak as a profession?

MT:  Whilst working at a small outdoor centre in Scotland as a climbing tutor I was asked to help out with a kayaking session and I realized that kayaking helped people develop a sense of personal achievement as well as bring about team spirit in the group, so that began my interest in teaching it as an activity.

SP:  Has kayaking allowed you to travel to places you might not have been able to otherwise?

MT:  Yes, sea kayaking in particular has given me several opportunities to travel the world both on teaching assignments and on expeditions.

SP:  What sort of experiences can people hope to have if they go on a kayaking trip?  What sort of experiences would you want them to have?

MT:  They are likely to experience personal challenge, as kayaking is not always easy, but can be very rewarding once the skills are mastered. It also gives people an appreciation of the wildlife around them and the ocean environment.

SP:  What are some of the best kayaking stories that you have?  What are some of the best places you have ever gone kayaking?

MT:  The best expedition destination that I have been to is Greenland because of its remoteness, wild beauty and cultural heritage. Two places which are equal favorites to paddle are Trinidad in northern California and the Isle of Anglesey in north Wales. As for stories, buy me a beer and we can chat about them!  ed: Good suggestion, Sarah?

SP:  What made you want to start writing your blog?

MT:  I wanted to share the experience that I’d been having as a means of helping people learn about kayaking and the places where it’s possible to sea kayak.Is there anywhere you’d love to explore that you haven’t yet?There are many places in the world I’d still like to go, including going back to Greenland, but also Alaska and areas within Europe.

SP:  Where are you planning your next trip?

MT:  My intention is to go back to Greenland with my partner Helen.

SP:  What are the key things you look for in a place when planning a kayaking trip there?

MT:  The key things that I look for include accessibility, potential wildlife interactions, interesting coastlines and how the area may be effected by the prevailing weather.

SP:  If a friend-of-a-friend asked you about going on a kayaking trip, where would you recommend and what tips would you give them to have fun and stay safe?

MT: If the friend of a friend lived in the U.S. I would recommend a coastal trip launching from Crescent City in northern California as it provides a good introduction to the rocky coastline that is there as well as the chance to see varied bird and marine life.  If the friend of a friend lived in the U.K. I would recommend a coastal trip on the southwest side of Anglesey. In all cases I would advise them to get a weather report and seek local knowledge, perhaps even hiring a guide if they were unsure as to the type of trip that they wanted to do. I would always strongly recommend that they take the appropriate equipment and choose a suitable kayak for the conditions.

SP:  What is the absolute best thing about kayaking that you would want others to feel and know?

MT: The sense of connection with nature that is achieved when being on the water but above all sharing in those experiences with my partner Helen.

SP: On behalf of WR, I'd like to thank you for your time and sharing your tips with us.  I'll be in touch regarding that beer I think.

If you have any questions for Mark here's your chance:

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Just some of the world's great sea kayaking destinations:

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