Jersey Kayak Adventures

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Custom & Intensive Sea Kayak Guide/Training Courses in Jersey

October 17th, 2013

Fran Hanko udd till Jersey Peter fosstrom kayaking jersey articleHanko 2013We can arrange custom sea kayak guide courses in Jersey. Recently, Peter from Kola kayaking in Hanko Finland visited to undertake our custom intensive sea kayak guide training course. Peter’s aim was to gather a few BC sea kayak awards so that he and his wife could offer more sea kayak adventure activities in Finland.

February and March might not seem the best time to undertake a sea kayak training course and to also bring a young family (2 and 4 years) over for 8 weeks. All ended up having a great time and were on the beach building sand castles most days no matter what the weather. The children came with some super winter/waterproof clothing which allowed us to take a 4 year old sea kayaking on a damp February day in a mini drysuit.

Compared to many UK sea kayaking destinations Jersey’s usually milder climate makes it possible to undertake a lot of sea kayaking around the coast. Add a few extra layers -or a drysuit (we can supply these to our clients) if you really plan to get wet- and Jersey has plenty of varied sea kayaking on offer.

Drysutis for chidlren

Father and son with matching drysuits

For Peter and Sanna a bonus was that we had daylight and no snow. “After the first month of snow and darkness in Finland we’re had enough” said Peter. Within days of Peter leaving Jersey we were under the thickest blanket of snow seen in many years!

If you are looking at developing your sea kayak and leadership skills the BCU 4 star training and assessment course is a great opportunity. I can arrange these on custom dates. Add this into a personal kayaking development plan and it is possible to wisely spend your money getting a selection of BCU and other awards. Over the years we have had ‘long stay’ clients from Mauritius, Finland, Abu Dharbi, Oman and the UK using the winter months to ‘beef up’ their training with UK awards which are recognised as some of the best around for sea kayak guiding/coaching and skills benchmarks.

On his return to Finland Peter wrote this article about his sea kayaking activities in Jersey. It’s all Finnish to me. Download a copy or read it here.

Derek Hairon

BCU Foundation Safety and Rescue Training Resources

September 16th, 2013
kayaker helping paddler get out of a cave

Get the paddler to start swimming out of the cave

Finding useful resources for the BCU Foundation Safety and Rescue Training has been tricky. However, tucked away in a corner of the Canoe England and BCU I stumbled upon some handy resources.

If you plan to attend the BCU Foundation Safety and Rescue Training (FSRT) course there is now a selection of short videos showing key skills for the FSRT course. The FSRT is well worth attending for any paddler because it is a great hands on course covering lots of safety skills.

These short videos are well worth watching before you go for your FSRT or as a refresher. Having recently undertaken a BCU 4 star sea kayak assessment course we used some of the key principles used in the FSRT course to remind candidates of how to stay safe and assist.

Link to the FSRT videos.

I can run FSRT courses on Jersey.


Free Sea Kayak Safety Classes are in the News

June 26th, 2013
kayak self rescue training

Learn to get back on board your kayak

Safety at sea is vital. To improve the safety of sea kayakers around the coastline of Jersey, Derek Hairon of Jersey Kayak Adventures Ltd is running a series of free 2-hour sea kayaking safety classes.

The free safety class are designed for people who already own their own kayak and equipment and recognise the importance to learn essential safety skills. Anyone without a kayak – or those who are considering buying one – will be able to hire all equipment.

“Over the last few years we’ve come across quite a few kayakers, who would benefit from practising a few essential skills such as how to deal with a capsize. This class came about as part of our desire to increase awareness and safety around our fantastic coastline”, comments Derek.

As well as covering basic forward paddling techniques and dealing with a capsize, the class will also focus on essential safety equipment, trip planning and top tips from Jersey Kayak Adventures’ nationally qualified instructors.

This initiative has generated considerable interest with extra classes being added.  Channel TV has also run a feature on keeping safe at sea. Watch it here.

Jersey Coastguard has also helped publicise the events.

More information is on our Jersey Kayak Adventures Special Offers page.

Custom sea kayak guide and leadership training courses in Jersey

April 10th, 2013
sea kayak on 4 star training course.Developing paddle skills near rocks

Develop essential paddle skills

We now offer custom sea kayak guide, leadership and skills courses, often in the shoulder months, for sea kayakers to develop their sea kayak skills within a personally designed training program.

Sea kayakers from Finland, Switzerland, the UK and Mauritius have chosen Jersey as their base to develop leadership and sea kayak guiding skills due to the range of different sea kayaking opportunities around the coast.

Sea kayak guiding and skills training courses

Sea kayaking and sea kayak guiding is a growth area In many countries but there is often a lack of a local national standard for paddlers and kayak guides to benchmark themselves against, especially if they plan to lead or guide sea kayak tours. Increasingly paddlers look to the BCU awards for internationally recognised sea kayaking qualifications.

Individual courses can be tailor made to suit a paddlers needs depending on the amount of time available, the level they wish to attain and budget. This is based on a personal performance profile. Internship style options during the main season are also possible.

Why sea kayak in Jersey?

Sea kayak leadership courses.BCU 4 star training.Blow holes and kayaks

Blow holes near Bonne Nuit Bay

Though Jersey might seem small, the island has superb sea kayaking. On the west coast there are excellent surf beaches, which have produced a couple of surf kayak world champions, while the north coast cliffs are riddled with caves and rock gardens.

Just to add an extra bit of flavour, there are a few “interesting” tide races – a result of the huge 12m tide range. This is an island where the sea really can rise and fall by up to 3 inches per minute.

If that is not enough, the offshore reefs of Les Minquiers and Les Écréhous and the other Channel Islands provide a range of offshore sea kayaking opportunities.

At the same time stunningly calm and clear waters can still be found even in mid winter. Drysuits and all equipment can be supplied.

Good transport links and infra structure on Jersey

BCU 4 star leader training and assessment courses.Sea kayaking in overfalls

Overfalls training and rock gardens at La Tour de Rozel

Unlike some locations Jersey has excellent transport links and there is also plenty of other things to do. This makes it feasible for partners and even families to stay on the island.

At times the needs of students cover more than just sea kayaking. Our most most recent students from Kola Kayaking in Finland realised that they lacked skills in preparing lobster and flatfish.

The upshot was that we arranged a master class on preparing lobster and flatfish with Daniel the proprietor and chef at Bracewells restaurant, St Aubin. This included sending Peter and Sanna off to buy a live lobster from Faulkner Fisheries.

Fortunately the live lobster did not escape on their bus  journey to the restaurant.

Listen to Peter Forsstrom of Kola Kayaking in Finland talk about his sea kayaking experiences in Jersey.

Finnish kayaking company plan kayak tours on Jersey

March 6th, 2013
Waterfall at le mourier valley,Jersey

Waterfall at le mourier valley. There has been plenty of rain this winter

February and March may not seem like the best months to undertake an intensive sea kayak course in Jersey with BCU 4 star sea kayak training/ assessment. However, if you are coming from Finland with low temperatures and short days Jersey probably seems semi tropical.

Intensive sea kayak courses

Jersey Kayak Adventure director Derek Hairon is working with Peter & Sanna Forsstrom from Finish sea kayaking company Kola Kayak to develop their sea kayak skills, so they can run more advanced sea kayak tours and coaching courses in Finland.

While on Jersey Peter has completed a range of British Canoe Union sea kayak awards including the BCU 4 star sea kayak leader course, while Sanna is working towards her kayak coach award. Both have been exploring the superb coastline of Jersey by sea kayak.

The advantage of training in Jersey is that there is a huge range of sea kayaking opportunities for all abilities and it is easy to select the best venues without having to travel long distances. “internationally British kayak awards are held in very high esteem, and having trained on Jersey Peter and Sanna have spotted the fantastic advantages of the island” said Derek Hairon.

Easier travelling

sea kayakers in la tour de rozel tide race

BCU 4 star sea kayak leader training

Travelling to Jersey from Finland (and many places in the UK and Europe) is faster than you’d expect. Peter, Sanna and their two young children (aged 3yrs and 15 months) took less than 7 hours to fly to Jersey. “That’s a lot less than when we went to Cornwall last year” said Peter.

The weather has not proved a barrier for the family, who are used to very cold conditions. When not kayaking the family has been out and about exploring the coast and beaches.

As a result of their stay Jersey Kayak Adventures is teaming up with Kola Kayak to arrange sea kayak holiday courses for paddlers and adventure seekers from Finland during the shoulder seasons. “With the cold winters and short days Finnish people love to take an autumn or early spring break” said Peter.

Plenty to do on Jersey but where’s the sauna?

north coast of jersey sea kayaking near Sorel point

Sanna sea kayaking in February

The couple is spending almost 8 weeks on Jersey with its two young children and has been impressed with the range of facilities and resources on such a small island.

The island’s fresh produce and seafood have inspired Sanna to learn how to prepare seafood dishes – as a result of attending a master class organised by Daniel, the chef at Bracewell’s Restaurant in St Aubin.

Peter’s one criticism of Jersey is that there is a serious lack of saunas. “It’s like your love of BBQ’s. In Finland everyone has a sauna and you can even buy portable ones” said Peter.

BCU/Canoe England Coach update in Jersey

November 2nd, 2012
Sea kaya coaching

A pause for thought

We’re just had the BCU/Canoe England coach update with Mike Devlin and Keith Hampton over to run the course.

This was a chance for channel island kayak coaches to update their kayak coaching skills and knowledge. 25 coaches from Jersey and Guernsey attended.

In spite of numerous requests no programme was forthcoming from ‘BCU towers’ and the silence was deafening! It seems that because the CI is not technically part of the UK sports regions there is an issue over the funding for coach updates in the islands. As a result it’s BCU HQ staff and not paddle sport development offices who attend.

The Olympics has left a legacy for the rank and file of paddlesport – less cash!  Targets for medals at the Brazil Olympics are being set and NGB’s are expected to do more with less cash. What this means is that resources for recreational and non medal winning areas will be squeezed. Sports that are not hitting the targets (read medals) will have their funding cut. And they once  said it was not about medals….

The morning session was an opportunity to learn about changes in the coaching scheme. If you earn cash by working for clubs etc. you’ll need to start declaring this to the tax man. Mike also said the UK tax office has looked at kayak and sports coaches and is taking the view that if you do some work for a centre or club and get paid you are not working freelance but are an employee. It seems it is all down to whether the coach can come and go as they please or are they crucial to the running of the session/task. Look out for a lot more zero hour and sessional contracts I suspect.

The meeting highlighted the lack of Foundation Safety and Rescue training assessors in the channel islands. Perhaps I’ll arrange an FSRT trainers event in Jersey, providing there is enough interest,  and the coaches are willing to cover the costs of bringing a trainer over. I could be optimistic ask BCU HQ for support….

Mike suggested the BCU 4 star leader award is a good route for clubs to use to ensure those leading club trips meet a standard. Level 2 UKCC coaches should be aiming for the 4 star and Moderate Water Endorsement (MWE)which will increase their skills to paddle and coach in more demanding waters.  An existing level 3 coach can access the MWE (so long as they have the ‘new’ 4 star. At the moment the need is to get more people up to Level 2 coach. In the Channel isles this may require coaches going over to the UK to train.

Mike leading an on the water session

After a short lunch Keith and Mike ran a couple of workshops on Ouaisne beach. Some thought this was good, others were not so sure. Personally, I found the paddler profiling exercise useful and a chance to try out the Technical, Tactical,Physical and Psychological elements of profiling. The main thing it demonstrates is the need to develop a rapport with the student and to identify strengths and areas of weakness to build on based on the paddlers perceptions/needs.

The Q&A session spent a bit of time getting to grips with why the FSRT course results in a certificate of attendance rather than a formal assessment. The view -we were told- is that people did not want it to be an assessed module. At other levels e.g. the Level 1 coach award the ability to perform the FSRT skills is assessed in the decision to issue the L1 award. Bit like the Coastal navigation and tidal planning course. If your navigation skills are poor you will not pass the 4 star. In both cases the goal seems to be to improve safety skills via training courses.

Another asked how an organisation should respond to clients wanting only level 3 coaches. Pretty simple really- Mike explained- it’s the customer who calls the shots, especially if they are from an organisation which has this requirement in their operating procedures.

Staffing ratios for kayaking. Mike explained there is no obligation to follow the guidelines in the BCU terms of reference for coaches and leaders document ( I’ll leave you to find the document on the CE webpage) as it will depend on the client group, experience,age, location etc. Mike did not think a ‘coach’ leading groups from a safety boat constituted good practice on the sea. The BCU terms of reference are a set of guidelines. However, I suspect that in the event of an accident it will be these ratios and guidelines that will be used as the benchmark.

A few delegates wondered if the update could just have easily been achieved by arranging a virtual coaching update event via Skype or similar.


A chance to meet up with coaches from Guernsey

It is never easy to arrange to be at a coach update and I know a few coaches were working or off island. I’m sure this is a problem other coaches in the UK also encounter if they miss an update in their region. This was something Mike thought could be worth exploring along with a set of resources so coaches could do their updates on line. I wouldn’t hold my breath for this though!

Luckily the fog held off to allow Keith and Mike to get to Jersey. Getting back to the UK took a bit longer as the fog delayed their flights for around 7 hours.

Was it worthwhile? Well if you want to stay up to date and asses BCU awards, then the answer is yes. In terms of the cost and time required for both the participants and presenters then the answer is no. Online resources, CPD updates etc would be a better way to go.

Derek Hairon 

Sea kayak safety in Jersey

May 20th, 2012
kayak safty tips and advice

Kayak safety feature

Our local newspaper recently ran an article on sea kayaking in Jersey and why it’s a top sea kayaking destination in the UK.

A quick look at the number of cars with sea kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks on the roof bars reveals just how popular sea kayaking is in Jersey and the other Channel islands.

Our big 12m plus tides do add a bit of potential for excitement around our coastline and with so many people wanting to get out sea kayaking in Jersey every Summer sees a few incidents and close shaves that might be avoided with a little bit more knowledge and training.

Safety tips when sea kayaking in Jersey

Tips from the Jersey Evening Post article to make your sea kayak trip around the coast of Jersey (and elsewhere) a safer and enjoyable experience:

  • Dress for immersion. Even on the hottest days a pair of shorts and a T-shirt may not be appropriate if you fall in , or it starts to feel cold offshore.

    sea kayaking the north west coast of Jersey

    Exploring the North west coast. Range control tower at Grosnez

  • Don’t go out on your own. If things start to go wrong there is no one around to help you.
  • If you do decide to paddle alone make sure you know your limits and build in a good safety factor.
  • Wear the right kit and make sure it fits you. A buoyancy aid is essential along with a waterproof top (cagoule). Make sure the kit fits otherwise it can make things a lot harder if you fall in.
  • Carry communication and safety gear. The Coastguard recommends you carry a VHF marine radio, but not everyone has a VHF so take along a charged mobile phone I a waterproof bag. We have very good mobile coverage on Jersey.
  • Make sure you know how to use your safety kit. It’s no use having all the safety gear if you have to sit in the water trying to read the instruction manual when you are in trouble.
  • Tell someone what you are doing, where you are going and what time you expect to be back. Tell them who to call if they do not hear from you. Remember to let them know if your plans change otherwise you could have people out looking for you while you are sitting n the pub!

    Kayakers beneath Pinnacle rock Jersey

    Pinnacle rock

  • Put your name an phone number on your kayak. If the coastguard find your kayak they can quickly know who it belongs to.
  • Learn about the tides, currents and weather. Take care when it is an offshore wind.
  • If paddling with others ensure everyone knows what the plan is. This ensures everyone knows what they are letting themselves in for! It also means others may spot trip planning errors.
  • Remember, children will get tired and cold a lot quicker than adults.
  • Know your limits.
  • Sign up for a kayak course if you plan to start sea kayaking. You’ll learn faster and get more fun from paddlesport.

Derek Hairon

Currents and tide streams for the sea kayaker around Jersey

March 17th, 2012

We talk a lot about the Gulf current. This is responsible for keeping our temperatures in Jersey and Europe a lot higher than they would be if we did not receive its warm waters.

Jersey is Latitude 49° 02’N which is roughly the same as Newfoundland where they get much colder weather and waters than us because they do not get the Gulf current. To put this into perspective, were we to not have the Gulf current many British ports would be ice bound in Winter.

This superb video from NASA shows the ocean surface currents around the world between June 2005 to December 2007.


Currents are a steady flow or water in a particular direction.

Tide streams

The movement of the tides produce oscillating currents which are known as tidal streams.

If you sit off one of the headlands around Jersey what you will experience is the tide stream. This can easily reach 5-6 knots (and sometimes even faster) as a result of the huge tidal range in Jersey. Expect tide ranges of around 12 metres. The directions and strengths vary a lot depending on the flood and ebb tides.

Spring and Neap tides will also produce a huge difference in the rate of the flow.

Sources of information about tide streams around Jersey

tide stream directions in the Channel islands

Live data showing tide streams in the Channel Islands from Previmer

The Admiralty tidal stream atlas for the Channel Islands and adjacent coast of France (NP 264) is an essential aid for anyone sea kayaking in Jersey and the Channel islands. Alderney gets its own chapter due to the very fast and complex tide streams around Aldereny, which I can vouch for!

You’ll find a basic tide stream atlas for Jersey here and a more detailed diagram showing the tide streams in the gullies off the south east coast of Jersey.

Real time tidal streams can be found on Previmer.

You can learn a lot about tides, tide streams and kayak navigation on one of the many BCU Coastal Navigation and tidal planning courses. Or, buy a copy of Sea kayak Navigation by Franco Ferrero (who happens to be from Jersey) published by Pesda Press.

Thanks to Kayakyak blog for the video link.

Surf kayaking.Introductory course

March 14th, 2012

Surf kayak skills course starts Saturday April 14.

4 classes.


Useful links to weather forecasts in the Channel Islands UK

February 28th, 2012

Weather forecasts for sea kayaking in Jersey and around the Channel Islands UK.

I am often asked how I select the best kayaking places when organising sea kayaking tours and offshore trips in Jersey and the Channel Islands. Here are some tips and links.

We don’t seem to get as many long periods of stable weather as in the past (well that’s my feeling) and at times the forecasts seem to bounce around from day to day. This rapid change is both good and bad. It makes trip planning tricky, hence the need to sometimes wait until 24 hours -or less- before selecting a venue. However, this rapid change can also mean that a day of bad weather may soon pass producing some good paddling conditions.

I chuckle when standing on a warm Friday evening in the queue at my local supermarket as shoppers load BBQ items onto the checkout. Little do they know the forecasts are giving rain and wind for the weekend. They should be buying soups!

Have we lost touch with the weather?

Today, many people seem to have lost touch with the weather. The only time some people notice the wind is when they dash from the house into the car and then from the car into work. We complain of the cold while standing at the bus stop wearing indoor clothing and footwear. A quick look a the thermometer would be enough to remind us to wrap up well. People write off a day because they see it is raining when they get up. Yet the old saying “Rain before 7, clear by 11” often applies.

Equally worrying people often dress inappropriately for the weather. It may be a warm sunny day in April but just offshore it will be cooler and the sea is still cold.

If we lose our connection with the weather, the outdoors becomes a more worrying place.

Weather changes so if we know what is forecast we are in a better position get out paddling.

Advance planning

The key message is to look at the forecasts to grab the best moments. This can only happen if you make the weather forecast a key part of your pre trip planning and don’t leave the decision to paddle until the day of the trip.

My first step is to use the long range weather forecasts. Modern internet weather sites give me a huge amount of information and it is easier to spot the approach of both good and bad weather. This enables me to identify the best sea kayaking venues around Jersey. At times you can almost hear the thud of a persons jaw dropping as they arrive at a calm bay having thought they were going to experience a maelstrom of rough water. That’s not to say I get it right every time though!

Even a week before I may be checking the long range forecasts to get an idea of how things are looking. I’ve noticed that about two or three before a trip some long range forecasts have a “wobbly moment” and then revert to the pattern previously forecast.

You do get local variations around the coast. I’ve often found better conditions than forecast on les Ecrehous and les Minquiers which may be a result of their land mass once they dry out.

Nearer the time

As the day of the trip approaches I’ll check the local 24 hour forecasts more. When making the final decision I will go with the local Jersey Met forecast as this forecast is produced locally. I doubt if I’d get any prizes if I ignored their forecast on the day. I also use mark one eyeball. Weather can still change rapidly so it is useful to keep an eye on the sky in case things are changing faster than forecast.

Here are a few of my favourite sources of weather information for sea kayaking in the Channel islands.

Long range weather forecasts for Jersey and the Channel Island area

Weather online. I use this site frequently and with a he amount of data (though you may need to search around a bit). Actual data and even a live rain radar feeds which is very handy when drying kit.

XC Weather has an hourly forecast which is also good

Meteo France. Naturally it’s in French. I use this when checking conditions for the offshore trips especially for Chausey and les Minquiers.

Norwegian forecasts in English. This is a very detailed site but the wind speeds are in m/s. Tends to suddenly have pages in Norwegian though! I quite like this site.

Magic Seaweed. Good wave height predictions

Nearer to the day of the kayak trip or tour I switch to these short range forecasts.

Short range forecasts for Jersey Channel Islands UK

I tend to be a bit careful with printed forecasts in the JEP as they can be quite a few hours old once the paper is printed and delivered.

Jersey Met. If you decide to trust the free online forecasts and ignore this site when making the final decisions you are taking a risk. Some suggest Jersey Met is a bit on the high side for wind speeds but remember they forecast the maximum gusts.

I tend to use the inshore coastal forecast around Jersey and even out to les Ecrehous. The Channel island shipping forecast covers a very large area so it is not surprising the information can be different between the northern and southern areas of the forecasts.

Telephone weather forecasts. Land based Tel.0900 6690011

Shipping forecast Tel 0900 6690022

Weather consultancy service with the duty forecaster 0905 8077777 (charged at premium rates).

BBC Radio Jersey has regular coastal weather forecasts at 07.25, 08.25, 17.25 Mon – Fri and 0725, 08.25 Sat and Sun.

Jersey Coastguard Channel 82. Shipping forecasts for the Channel islands area at 0645,0745,0845, local time and at 1245,1845,2245 utc. This has a very wide coverage and can be received on the French coast. I’ve got this on a hand-held VHF while paddling at Ille de Brehat.

Jersey Coastguard website. Coastal and offshore forecasts. A one stop shop for marine information around jersey. This site has live data feeds for wind speed and swell heights.

Weather data and other information when sea kayaking in Jersey

Roger Brugge. If it is not here it probably does not exist:

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