Calling all paddlers of sea kayaks, recreation kayaks, sit-on-tops (SOTs), fishing kayaks, and racers! (Canoeists/paddle-boarders too.)
Our mission is to form a community of people who enjoy paddling safely , meeting other kayakers, and discovering new places to paddle in the South Mississippi area.
There are many waterways to explore along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, and for hearty adventurers even the barrier islands for those who complete specialized sea kayak training and develop rescue skills. Plus, we are 4 hours or less drive to outstanding paddling and kayak surfing in Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana.
It is FREE to join our paddling group. You will get emails and email updates on kayak trips we plan.
Some paddling things you can choose to do:
• Group paddles. An event organizer coordinates each group paddle. Meet up paddles may be conducted at various levels of required paddling skill necessary to safely enjoy the event. Each paddler is responsible for his/her own safety. These are not guided paddles - the event organizer is not a paddling guide, merely a paddling enthusiast just as each of us !! The paddle trips may range from easy to very challenging (and only for trained & experienced paddlers). Almost all kayak trips sound interesting for one reason or another regardless of the difficulty, however if you do not have the skill, paddling experience, and/or equipment required for a particular paddle, the event organizer may ask you to sit out that specific scheduled paddle. Please be understanding and recognize the event organizer is doing this for your safety and the safety of the group based on their personal experience.
• Safe paddling! This covers many areas of concern, some we cannot control, however the two most important items we can control are: 1) wear a properly fitting life jacket (PFD) that is buckled/zipped up at all times when on the water in your kayak, and 2) abstain from alcohol and/or drugs before and while paddling on kayak trips. Another lesson learned about safe paddling is to never wear cotton clothing when paddling - when it gets wet, it stays wet and promotes the onset of hypothermia even in our disgustingly HOT summers.
• Paddling friends. Kayaking is a team sport. It is much safer to paddle with others rather than paddling solo.
• Kayak skill development. A few meetup members are certified instructors who offer American Canoe Association (ACA) sanctioned kayaking lessons which are ideal for our coastal area. Learning to paddle efficiently and being introduced to and/or practicing with kayaking safety equipment will give you the confidence to paddle more and in more challenging conditions. Completing some classes followed by additional individual practice should make you a safer paddler. NOTE: Instructors usually charge a fee for these highly recommended ACA classes.
NOTE as of 7/12/2020: Lessons are still on hold for this season due to Covid-19/Chinese virus/Wuhan flu or whatever you prefer to call it. Lessons will be scheduled again at the earliest opportunity it is deemed safe to conduct instruction which includes close personal contact during assisted rescues.
• Paddling advocacy. Though we have no political agenda, many of us enjoy nature and would like to see wild areas remain friendly for people to enjoy the outdoors and viewing wildlife. Sometimes we choose individually to make our voices heard.
There is also no obligation to be a part of our paddling community. We ask that you simply have a love for the outdoors and a desire for safe paddling adventure.
As our group grows we hope to create group discounts at other events, races, kayak instruction, and with local outfitters.
Basic paddling safety: 1) wear a properly fitting PFD when on the water, and 2) no alcohol prior to or while paddling a kayak. Save any alcohol for a post-paddling celebration on land!