Rockhopping is “close to shore” saltwater paddling and slots neatly into the gap between playboating and sea kayaking. Short trips and playing the sea, calm or wild. Rocky coastlines and blue skies, rock gardens, caves, swells, surf, tides and tidal races – all combining to ensure the perfect rockhopping experience.
Rockhopping is also about exploration and nature: caves, seals, whales and porpoise, the sun on your face, salt rings on your skin, lunch in secluded bays, paddling with mates and a barbecue and cold beer at days end.
Isn’t it just sea kayaking under a different name?
No – although the environment is the same. The majority of sea kayaks are designed to paddle in a straight line. Rockhopping is about getting in close to shore – and if there is surf or swell then good manoeuvrability is highly desirable.
Five-hour open crossings are not what rockhopping is about. You can of course go rockhopping in many different types of craft – e.g. sea kayaks/long playboats/sit-on-tops/specialised rockhopping kayaks (just as you can paddle whitewater in many different types of boat).
This UK focused website may, at times, show a bias toward areas with strong tides. If you are more inclined to potter about in calm seas on sunny days – don’t let this put you off. Strong tides are not found everywhere (and they don’t always result in bumpy conditions). Devon and Cornwall, for example, have plenty of surf but for the most part they have little tidal flow.
Even in tidal areas of the UK absolute beginners can paddle safely at sea if accompanied by somebody with experience, knowledge of the area and an ability to assess the conditions on the day. The UK coastline can provide for some very exciting paddling – it can also be as flat as a millpond. The sea is a magical environment with few access problems and it does not suffer from lack of water in a drought. Whatever your level of skill the sea is the biggest playground in the world and in the UK – we are surrounded by it – get out there!
Safety notice: It is hoped that this post and this website will inspire those wishing to venture onto the sea to find out more and, if required, undertake suitable training. Included within the website is information about companies that offer courses which will assist paddlers to enjoy everything the sea has to offer – in safety.