What should I bring?
Always bring sunscreen and a water bottle with drinking water. For trips and classes lasting longer than two hours you should also bring a snack or lunch. Waterproof cameras and binoculars are always handy! Don’t bring anything you can’t afford to lose or get wet. Electronic ignition keys, pagers, cell phones, and other electronic devices must be kept in a dry bag or waterproof container. Sadly—a zip-lock bag is not waterproof. We can provide dry bags for small objects on trips and classes. Be aware that even dry bags will get moisture condensation (especially if left in the sun) and it is always possible for them to tear. You should also have a change of clothing to wear after your kayak trip.
What should I wear?
You will have a lot more fun on the water if you plan to get wet! Always dress for the water and not for the weather. Our coastal waterways tend to be around 55° Fahrenheit or colder. During summer months the lagoon waters can warm up to around 70°but our coastal summer weather rarely gets as high as 70°. You should wear synthetic layers. The first layer wicks moisture away from your body. The next layer should keep you warm. The top layer should protect you from wind. A windbreaker jacket is fine. You want to wear synthetic water-wicking fabrics. Polyester is best. Cotton is never a good idea on our coastal waters. Cotton stays wet and cold and gets very heavy when wet.
For any Kayak Zak’s service you should wear your bathing suit, and a light-weight, close-fitting polyester or polypropylene undershirt such as a rash guard or wicking underwear you would wear for skiing. Bring a warmer layer such as polyester fleece.
For Trinidad guided trips and classes we will provide farmer John wetsuits, booties and splash jackets.
For rentals and other events we can rent these items to you. If you are providing your own clothing and you don’t have a wet suit or a dry suit you can wear polypropylene long johns and fleece tops and pants with a light nylon jacket to block wind. Wear shoes you can swim in and that you are willing to get wet. Warm synthetic socks are nice, even with neoprene booties. Whatever you wear, remember that it is okay to be too warm because luckily in water sports we can always cool off!
Tell me about Stone Lagoon.
Stone Lagoon nests in the heart of Humboldt Lagoons State Park and borders Redwood National Park. Most of the time Stone Lagoon is an enclosed body of brackish water fed by Mac Donald Creek. There were six primitive campsites that can only be reached by boating or hiking 3.5 miles from Dry Lagoon. These sites are currently managed as day-use picnic sites and are a lovely place for a picnic. Ryan's Cove is generally out of the wind which may explain why belted kingfishers like to nest here. On this hill you will find some enormous old-growth Sitka Spruce. This lagoon shares a 1-½ mile sand spit with the ocean and is 4-1/2 miles to circumnavigate. Shore birds and river otters are abundant. Roosevelt Elk are often grazing in the south portion of Stone Lagoon. This is a great lagoon for paddlers, as it has a five-mile-per hour speed limit. Always check the wind predictions from NOAA weather before going paddling. The ocean surf on the other side of the sand spit is steep and dangerous. Do not swim or kayak in the ocean here. It is a great spot to picnic, whale watch, and look for beach agates. Families enjoy swimming the relatively warm waters of Stone Lagoon. The Visitor Center building has a brand new ADA accessible viewing deck, picnic tables and public restrooms in a separate building. There is also a nice viewing area inside with a picture window looking out at the lagoon. Learn More!
How do we get to Stone Lagoon?
Kayak Zak's moved into the Stone Lagoon Visitor Center in late June of 2013. 115336 Highway 101 North, Trinidad, CA 95570. Google Maps Stone Lagoon is just north of Patrick's Point State Park and Big Lagoon in Trinidad and south of Freshwater Lagoon and Orick. If you drive from the south it is on the left just north of the red school house at Elk Country RV Campground. At mile marker 115.3 on Hwy 101 there is a Visitor Center, parking area, boat launch and Kayak Zak's! Driving from the north you will find Stone Lagoon on the right just past Orick and Freshwater Lagoon. There is also a day-use site with beach access at the north end of Stone Lagoon at mile marker 117.5. The north site has no restrooms or amenities.
Tell Me About Big Lagoon.
The Kayak Zak's rental trailer will be at Big Lagoon County Park weather permitting, as much as possible through the Summer. We are also there most weekends and many weekdays before that. Please call to be sure we are on site then come on down and rent a kayak! Rental price includes sit-on-top kayak, life jacket, paddle, sales tax, and mini-lesson. Your butt and feet will be wet. Although this is Humboldt County’s warmest body of water, it is still quite cool. Wear water-wicking (synthetic) clothing and a windbreaker, and bring a change of clothes. Do not bring any electronics unless they are waterproof! Drinking water, waterproof binoculars, and disposable waterproof cameras are recommended. Big Lagoon is an enclosed body of water. It shares a 3-½ mile sand spit with the ocean and is over 9 miles to circumnavigate. Shore birds and river otters are abundant. You can also paddle up Maple Creek from Big Lagoon and often see Roosevelt Elk from your kayak! This trip is appropriate for all ages. We have life jackets size infant to Adult XXL. Adverse water or weather conditions will cancel. The ocean surf on the other side of the sand spit is steep and dangerous. Do not swim or kayak in the ocean here. Kayak rentals are limited to the lagoon waters only. It is a great spot to picnic, whale watch, and look for beach agates. Families enjoy swimming the relatively warm waters of Big Lagoon and playing in the sand. Learn More!
How do we get to Big Lagoon?
Big Lagoon County Park is just north of Patrick's Point State Park in Trinidad and south of Orick. At mile marker 108.3 on Hwy 101 you take Big Lagoon County Park Road. From the south (Trinidad) this is a weird left turn from the fast lane of the highway. From the north (Orick) it is an easy right turn just past the four lane bridge. Follow signs to the day-use area. There is a $2 day use fee at the park. Street address is: Big Lagoon County Park 718-722 Big Lagoon Park Rd, Trinidad, CA 95570. 41.163165, 124.131563 (Google Maps) 41° 9.813 N, 124° 7.858 W (GPS)
Tell me about Trinidad Cove.
Explore the rock gardens and view shorebirds, and marine mammals from the water at Trinidad Cove using single and tandem sit-on-top kayaks. This trip is appropriate for beginners and will include a brief kayaking lesson. Wetsuits, helmets (yes, helmets!), lifejackets, windbreakers, booties, kayaks, and paddles will be provided by Kayak Zak’s. Participants should wear a bathing suit, a rash guard (capelene, polypropelene, or other synthetic long-sleeved shirt) to wear under the farmer-John wetsuit, and a heavy fleece or wool shirt or jacket for warmth. Do not bring any electronics unless they are waterproof! Drinking water, waterproof binoculars, and disposable waterproof cameras are recommended. By reservation only. We will need to know your height, weight, gender,and shoe size. This trip is not appropriate for small children. Adverse water or weather conditions will cancel the trip. Trips launch early to avoid potential strong afternoon winds.
How do we get to Trinidad Cove?
Trinidad is a half hour to 45 minutes south of Orick and north of Eureka. To get to Trinidad Cove drive north on Hwy 101 from Eureka/Arcata/Mckinleyville or south from Oregon/Crescent City/Orick. Take the Trinidad exit at Hwy 101 (mile marker 101 and freeway exit # 728). If you are driving from the north you will turn right when you get off the freeway (or turn left from the southern exit). Go through the town of Trinidad, turn right past the lighthouse and go down the hill. At the bottom of the hill there is a beach on your left and a beach on your right. We will be launching from the beach on the left. Take a sharp left turn and go through the Seascape parking lot to the beach at the south end. You may park on the beach if you have 4-wheel drive, otherwise go back to the State Beach parking area (at the bottom of the hill before you turned left into the Seascape parking area) and park in the gravel lot. We will meet on the beach at the far south end of the parking lot to the left of the boat launch.
What is a PFD??
A “Personal Flotation Device” is also called a “Life Jacket!" We have size infant through XXL that fit a wide variety of body types. We also have CFDs: Canine Floatation Devices for your best friends!
Will a Wet Suit Really Fit MY Body??
Most likely it will. Kayak Zak's is proud of the fact that we have both men's and women's farmer "John/Jane style wetsuits. Womens's are size XS to XXL. Men's are XS to XXL. We also have a few youth "shorties" and a couple of "Grizley XXXX" suits but at some point a person can weigh too much for the kayak (sorry but it's true).
Why do I need a Helmet at Trinidad Cove??
We paddle very close to the sea stacks and rock gardens in moving water. Kayak Zak's owner, Marna Powell says that in twelve years of guiding trips on this body of water no guest has ever needed a helmet, but it is moving water and it does up and down and back and forth. She has been an advocate of water safety and did a helmet campaign ("Heros Wear Helmets!") for Making Headway a Traumatic Brain Injury support center. We have comfortable, stylish WRSI helmets in a variety of colors so not only will you be safe and comfortable but you will look cool too!
What is meant by “Adaptive” Paddling?
Adaptive Paddling means we can adapt kayaks, paddles, gear, and techniques for persons with disabilities, sports injuries, preexisting conditions, and joint pain. Our mission says it all “…to persons of all abilities…” What that really means is that we have the skills, training, and experience to take almost anyone kayaking pretty much anywhere there is water.
Will the kayak be tippy?
Some kayaks are tippier than others. You can lean forward or back but If you lean over to the side in any canoe or kayak then you will most likely tip over. We use fairly stable, less tippy kayaks and we will give you some guidelines to prevent capsize.
If I capsize can I get back in?
There is always the possibility of a capsize. It is more likely to happen in breaking surf than a guided trip but it is always possible on any type of water. There are many methods to get back into a kayak. The kayaks we rent out are sit-on-tops, with open cockpits designed to dive from. They are very stable and in the event of capsize it is possible to climb back up onto the top of the kayak and continue paddling. In the closed cockpit “hard-shell” kayaks there are numerous reentry methods. Our guides and instructors all have extensive training and experience in getting people back into kayaks. We even teach entire classes in capsize recovery and reentry!
Do I need to know how to swim?
Certain kayak activities require strong swimming ability. Other activities merely require that you (1) be able to seal your airway (hold your breath with no gag reflex) in the event of an initial capsize and (2) turn yourself face-side-up while floating on water in a properly fitted PFD (life jacket). A properly fitted life jacket will make you float whether you want to or not! Please call or email if you have any concerns.
Don’t I need strong arms to paddle?
Yes and no. Begining paddlers tend to “bicycle” with their arms. Good paddling technique uses the major muscles such as your quadriceps and gluteus maximus muscles. Using your legs for leverage and exercising good torso rotation allows for efficient paddle strokes and less stress on the arms and shoulders. Having strong arms does makes it easier to carry and load your kayak.
Are there sharks?
Truthfully, there might be sharks in our coastal waters but not on the rivers and lagoons. While it is possible for a shark to attack a kayak, luckily for us we don't look like food and they tend to prefer sea lions and surfers to kayakers.
How safe is it?
Kayaking is a water sport and like all outdoor activities there are a variety of factors influencing safety. If initial environmental conditions are deemed to be unsafe for the skill level of the participants we will cancel the activity or move to another location rather than “go for the summit.” Whitewater and open coastal kayaking inherently have more risks than closed flatwater paddling activities (such as our lagoons). Be aware that even the lagoons can get waves due to fetch from wind. Our best insurance is safety equipment, training, skills, and experience. Always wear a properly fitted Life Jacket (aka: PFD). Never boat alone. Follow US Coast Guard www.uscgboating.org and American Canoe Association (ACA) www.acanet.org safe boating practices. Check weather and water conditions before you go kayaking http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/ and when you get to your launch site look at the conditions before you launch.
What kinds of wildlife might I see?
Wow! Depending on the waterway and the season it is possible to see every kind of wildlife in our area! River otters, great blue herons, egrets, osprey, belted kingfisher, and bald eagles enjoy all of our coast, lagoons, and rivers. On coastal waters we see all the local and migratory shore birds and marine mammals including oyster catchers, pigeon guillemots, murres, marbled murrelets, brown pelicans, river otters, grey whales, harbor porpoises, harbor seals, California sea lions, and stellar sea lions. At lower tides we can view sea stars, sea anemone, red and purple urchins, chitons, and a host of mollusks and crustaceans. We may even see land mammals such as black bear, and Roosevelt elk. From the lagoons we may see both marsh and coastal birds—including many raptors, and of course salamanders, frogs, toads, and all the area’s land mammals. From our rivers it is always fun to watch the water oozel (“dipper) walk under water then fly away. Rivers also give us secret views of beaver dams, bobcat, bear, deer, elk, and many tracks and scat signs along the waters’ edges from wildlife visiting in the night.
Will I get seasick?
That depends...If you suffer from motion sickness then yes, you might get seasick on the ocean at Trinidad as the water does go up and down and back and forth. Most people have no problem in kayaks on water but it can happen to a few individuals. You know yourself better than anyone and can best determine what is possible for you. There are several solutions: OTC medicine, pressure bracelets, chewing ginger, and more. Check with your health care provider if you have concerns. Crystalized ginger is our favorite solution because it is so yummy to suck on!
So, Who is “Kayak Zak?”
Kayak Zak is the salamander in the logo! He’s sort of a cross between a salamander and a chameleon as you may notice that sometimes his colors change. He also sports flames because he likes to play with fire as well as water and in several stories from around the globe it is the salamander who brings fire to the humans. Zak loves living on the redwood coast because he is a water creature and we have all kinds of water to play in. Kayak Zak’s motto is “More Fun is More Good!” Salamanders have little comprehension of English grammar.