Kayaking: Ocean versus River

There’s always been a rivalry between the sea and rivers. Of course I’m not actually referring to rivers and seas themselves, but rather the sailors—both amateur and professional—who take to their waters on a regular basis. In books, for example, from times before steam power or internal combustion engines there are regular references to river sailors disliking ocean sailors and vice versa. While the subtleties of those rivalries are perhaps now lost on us, the rivalry itself is still alive and well.

For kayakers there’s a similar dichotomy: those who like river kayaking and those who feel more at home when out on the sea. Perhaps some hard-core river kayakers might think this heresy, or some avid ocean kayakers might think I’m crazy, but I really don’t have a preference; both types of kayaking have provided and continue to provide me with amazing experiences and remain a wonderful way for me to spend my time on the water.

I do have to say that since I live in the mountains, I do far more river and stream kayaking and there’s something to be said about the joy of kayaking in small valleys and with snow and ice on the tips of the mountains. I do feel safe and this might sound a little bit strange, but even cosy, when I’m in the mountains kayaking. It’s a though I’m closed-off from the world and nothing cause me any harm.

On the other hand, when I manage to get away for holiday and I’m in the ocean kayaking, I can’t describe how much joy it brings me to be attached to that seemingly endless body of water, the ocean. Contrary to how I feel when I’m in the mountains, I feel as though via the water beneath me I’m somehow connected to the entire planet and everyone on it by virtue of hypothetically being able to travel anywhere in the world following its waterways.

Others probably just enjoy the beauty of wherever they chose to kayak, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but for me it’s something almost spiritual and no one place is better than the other since they all have something unique to offer.

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