November 2007

Paddlers’ Notebook

Weather’s Perfect For Kayaking

By Kayak Jay

The weather has been perfect for paddling, even though the lakes are low.  For anyone who hasn’t tried it, the City of Peoria classes are the best deal in town for anyone who wants to give kayaking a try with a minimum of investment.

All through November, Peoria will be offering parent-child classes in tandem kayaks, discovery or “quick-start” classes, and the full American Canoe Association Introduction to Kayaking class. Although residents of Peoria receive a reduced rate, the regular prices are often less than the cost of a rental.

In addition to the scheduled classes, special classes can be arranged for groups by calling Kevin Naughton at (623) 773-7513. Check the City of Peoria Web site, or call Naughton for more information.

Kayak Jay

A PLEASANT DAY – Shown here is a pair of pretty Peoria paddlers, enjoying a day on the lake at Pleasant.

Kayak Jay

PRIZE PUPIL – One weekend’s prize pupil shows kayaking skill while paddling at Lake Pleasant.

The Lake Pleasant Paddlers are also active now, with combination hikes and even a full-moon paddle up the Castle Creek arm of the lake. Now that Lake Pleasant is at its low point for the year, you can paddle into areas never seen before, and get a good idea of the lake-bottom topography.

Check for paddling programs on the Lake Pleasant Web site\parks\lake_pleasant. Lake Pleasant paddles are usually on week days, and often involve a history or biology lesson along with the paddle. I expect another IHOP paddle soon for a progressive breakfast on Lake Pleasant islands.

The full-moon paddle reminded me that it has been a while since I discussed night kayaking. Unlike other night activities, kayaking is best when you don’t use a flashlight or head lamp.

For the safest paddle, use light sticks to illuminate your paddle, your boat and your PFD. I find the best source for light sticks is Home Depot, where they are usually kept by the checkout lines.

Use duct tape to put a light stick on the shaft of your paddle just above the blade on each side. Put one on each of the shoulder straps of your PFD, and put a light stick on the carry handles at the bow and stern of your boat.

It doesn’t hurt to carry a waterproof flashlight for emergencies and signaling, but you shouldn’t use any light that can shine directly into the eyes of your paddling companions, or passing boaters.

Never kayak alone at night! You will always need the assistance of another paddler if you encounter any difficulties.

Kayaks can provide a beautiful Parade of Lights when decked out in lights. Hopefully, Lake Pleasant will host a watercraft parade this year, so keep checking the Web site for the date.

We are extremely fortunate to have the weather conditions that we do. We can kayak through the holiday season and into the new year while other paddlers are high and dry.

How about giving kayaking a try? For more information, answers to questions or buying advice, you can reach Kayak Jay at, or (602) 359-1354. I hope to see you on the water.