Recently, we sat down with YakGear Brand Ambassador Glenn Madden to discuss how kayak fishing has changed since he got started. And, it turns out we barely scraped the ice. We were flooded with questions for the south Texas kayak angler known as Professor Salt. Our most questioned topic: surf launching and landing.
As told by Brand Ambassador Glenn Madden
Having the ability to negotiate beach launching and landing is critical. Before you load up all the gear and head offshore for the first time, consider taking your empty kayak to the surf to practice heading out and back in a few times. The feel of what should and should not happen in the surf is different than any other setting where we paddle. The East and West coasts have surf that is spread out and the process is simpler (but maybe not any easier). The Texas coast tends to have a surf zone 400 yards deep with waves 4-6 seconds apart, and this requires multiple times that you'll have to negotiate the waves.
On the way out, keep the kayak perpendicular to (the nose striking directly into) the incoming waves and keep paddling forward. Waves can swamp your 'yak and make it very sluggish, but don't lose focus. Continue to fight through the crash zone until you get well into the smooth water, and then you can take stock of your gear and rest if needed.
Coming back in you have several options, but for beginners, you'll want to take it relatively slowly. Surfing a kayak is an advanced move that takes a lot of practice, so new folks should proceed slowly. Attempting to surf a kayak usually results in new people suffering a "yard sale" and scurrying to collect whatever gear the ocean doesn't steal. When a wave is approaching from behind put your paddle in the water and push yourself backwards so the wave moves on past you, and then paddle hard and try to keep up with the wave. Before the next wave catches you, slow down and repeat this process. It's not as sexy as surfing at high speed back to the sand but it can help you keep all your hard-earned gear.
For more information on Glenn, his techniques, and his offshore expeditions, follow him on his YouTube Channel and check out his recent highlight reel below!