For the diehard paddler there are two kinds of weather: weather that is good for paddling and weather that’s good for reading about paddling. The recent cold weather makes this a good time to expand your knowledge and to catch up on the latest controversies, innovations, and new developments in the world of paddling. Here are a few of our favorite kayaking resources:
Paddling.net The Advice, Suggestions, & General Help Forum on this site is a great place to get answers on paddling related questions. Other parts of P-Net (as frequent users have come to call it) also includes kayak reviews, trip reports, articles, photos, and links to manufacturers and outfitters. A great all-around paddling resource. Probably the best place to go if you are one-stop shopping for information on boats or paddling.
Kayakpaddling.net Got a technique question? You can read about it all you want. You can watch all the videos you want. But likely neither will be as helpful as the animations on this site. Holding the paddle, the forward stroke, the eskimo roll, and many other techniques are featured.
Sea Kayaker Magazine America’s top sea kayaking magazine has a useful website as well. Not all magazine content is available here, but featured articles and the ever-popular kayak reviews are included. Also included are links to kayak clubs, water trails, and an event calendar. Some good reading here.
Atlantic Kayak Tours The online “Expert Center” of this Saugerties, New York outfitter features an extensive set of articles on everything from gear selection to kayak repair to safety, navigation, and technique. The well-written articles are accompanied by photos, diagrams, and animations. A great resource — as useful and as in-depth as most kayak books.
The resources below are of interest to Maine and New England paddlers:
MaCKRO.org The website of the Maine Canoe and Kayak Racing Organization. You don’t have to be a racer to visit the site, join the club, or participate in one of the races. Canoe and kayak racing isn’t so much about racing as it is about developing a cameraderie with other paddlers and appreciating rivers, anyway. A current focus of the club is on promoting youth paddling and encouraging more people to try this sport. Included is a forum where you can get ask questions about paddling, get information on races, find a boat — or sell one.
Maine Island Trail The Maine Island trail association website provides information about this spectacular 375-mile water trail (America’s first) as well as about the organization. Included are articles about Leave No Trace techniques and boating safety. To travel the trail, you will need to join the club (and thereby receive the island guidebook). The website is your key on how to get information to do just that. Highly recommended for ocean paddlers.
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands This site includes a searchable database of Maine State Parks and Maine State Public Reserved Lands. A great resource for those wanting to paddle wilderness lakes and ponds. Some of the reserved lands offer free camping.
GoMoos The Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System provides real-time data of ocean conditions from buoys off the Maine coast. This site is a great compliment to NOAA forecasts and land-centric weather stations.