Photo courtesy of Dave Norona


Dave Norona battles the wind and choppy waters in English Bay, above.

The weather is hot and this is the perfect time to head out on the water and explore the Lower Mainland’s awesome waterways by kayak. Sea kayaking is one of the easiest and best ways to seek out and enjoy all the hidden bays and coves along our coast. You don’t have to own expensive gear, hire a guide or be super fit; all you need is a sense of adventure and a buddy.

There are two great rental shops that service two amazing areas within the Lower Mainland. Eco-Marine has three waterfront locations — Granville Island, English Bay and Jericho Sailing Centre —that offer a wide variety of boats. Or you can escape to the quiet waters of Deep Cove and the Deep Cove Kayak Shop nestled at the waters edge. Both shops have knowledgeable staff that will set you up with the perfect rental boat for the day and provide you with all the equipment you will need to have a great time out on the water.

Dave takes a moment to reflect and take in the views while kayaking.

In English Bay you can travel parallel to the seawall while enjoying spectacular views of the city and stop off anytime at Granville Island, Kits Beach or Jericho for a bite to eat. The water in English Bay is a little more turbulent due to the openness of the bay and all the motorboat traffic. Wind and waves are also more prevalent, which can be a lot of fun especially if they are at your back pushing you to your destination.

Deep Cove on the other hand feels much further away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here you will see more seals and other wildlife, as well as less boat traffic and other people. There are also quite a few islands to discover, which are perfect for lunch or an afternoon nap.

Another option if you’re looking for a great adventure day is to take the ferry over to Bowen Island and rent a kayak from Bowen Island Sea Kayaking. They are located right where the ferry docks. You will feel a million miles from the city enjoying open ocean paddling and fantastic views from this location.

Before you head out on the water you will have to choose between paddling a single kayak or sharing a double kayak with a partner. If you’re new to the water I suggest a double kayak as you can go faster and further with less effort and the boat is a quite a bit more stable. As your skills improve, a single kayak will allow you easier mobility and the ability to go wherever you want on your own.

When kayaking you want to dress for mobility and comfort. Your spray skirt, which attaches to the kayak, keeps your bottom half warm and dry inside the boat. On your upper body you can wear whatever feels comfortable. Keep a windproof water repellent jacket handy in case the weather turns for the worse. Any extra gear and food is stored in one of the waterproof hatches keeping it dry for when you hit that perfect island spot for lunch.

gear guide

Aquabound Sting Ray paddle

Description: The Aquabound Sting Ray is a perfect paddle for everyday or epic-touring adventures. It is light, can be set at any length or feather degree, and the dihedral cross-sectional shape of the blade stays stable in the water.

Price range:$180

Where to find it:

H20 Audio iPod Nano waterproof case

Description: Now you can take your music out onto the water with H2O Audio’s waterproof iPod Nano Case. Waterproof to three metres underwater and still allows you easy access to all functions. Use with H20 Audio waterproof headphones.

Price range:$89.99

Where to find it:

Seal Line map case

Description: A map is one of the most important pieces of gear when you’re out on a kayak tour. Keep your maps safe from the elements with Seal Line’s awesome map bags. Flexible and water tight with a D-ring at each corner for proper attachment.

Price range:$16.50

Where to find it:

Teva Sunkosi women’s water shoe

Description: The Sunkosi is as perfect on the water as it is around camp at the end of the day. Drain-frame technology allows water to drain easily while ensuring a stable, secure fit.

Price range:$130

Where to find it: