Ahhhh… last week, a friend of mine (Mathew Wendell), and myself got out to the west coast of Washington for some surf in sea kayaks. I was excited to get the Capella 161 out in some decent surf, and to try some moves on waves using the foampile.

Day one was spent at Crescent Beach where the surf was small, so we occupied ourselves with a short coastal paddle in the Straits of Juan De Fuca. Day two dawned with 15-18 foot Westerly swell on the outer coast, and we drove to Makah Bay thinking we might find something manageable in the straits near Neah Bay which is a popular surfer destination.

We ended up putting in at a river mouth (Sooes River) which empties right into the Pacific. The swell was quite big in most of Makah Bay (probably 12-15 feet) but at the river mouth it was anywhere from 4 to 6 feet and pretty spilly. No sooner had we got on the water when a raging hailstorm deposited a half-inch of hail on the land and it was hard to keep our eyes open. The current of the river, though minimal, assisted us in paddling out, and we had to keep track of our position so we didn’t get carried out farther where big nasty, dumpers raged.


To be out there, in that zone, witnessing huge seas further out with the spray blowing off the crests, while the sunlight disappeared then reappeared was incredibly enrgizing. We kept catching waves, ending our surfs near the river, keeping track of each other via the occasional glimpse of a paddle blade, then paddling back out for “one more wave”.

I was quite pleased with the 161 and found that one can change direction quite quickly, due to the top view profile (no straight sections along the tapeline) and the paddler being positioned a bit forward of the maximum beam (where there is a lot of buoyancy).

I’m quite psyched that more coastal trips are on the calender, as well as a Skookumchuck trip in early May.

–Matt Nelson