Tips on How to Handle Wind

Wind on the river is not uncommon as fronts move through the area and those winds are mostly out of the west. The river predominantly flows due west on the stretch you’re paddling with the exception of the last few miles that will turn southwest.

A couple pointers for dealing with wind:

1. If possible, aiming for the upwind side of the river should let the trees block most of the wind. Keep your distance from the downwind shoreline to avoid being pushed sideways into downed trees.

2. The wind picks up close to midday and early afternoon. Paddling more in the morning and playing on the sandbars later in the afternoon is a good way to get the most distance for the least energy. If you’re going overnight, you can also hang out on a sandbar and make easier progress downriver after 5-6pm.

3. For those of you in canoes, especially if you’ll have smaller kids, more weight in the front of the boat will help a lot. You’re trying to get the the boat as level as possible, erring on the side of more weight in the front. Essentially, you want your canoe to act like a weathervane and have the back catch the wind, not the front. This lets any headwind help point you straight into it and will make paddling much, much easier. If you don’t have enough convenient weight (usually in the form of coolers, water jugs, or firewood), keep in mind that you’re surrounded by tons (literally) of sand. It is not weird to build a sandbox in the front of your canoe. Well, I mean, it is, but I swear it’ll help if you’re struggling to point the boat downstream. As an added bonus, you’ll ride lower in the water which means the wind hurts less and the current helps more.

4. Good news for kayaks, the advantage of low profile kayaks is that they aren’t nearly as much trouble in the wind. You’ll probably get splashed by more waves and spray but that also might be an advantage when it’s 80+ degrees. At any rate, it’s not a bad idea to bring a rain coat/pants to stay dry if you weren’t planning to get wet.

If wind is a concern in the forecast, we’ll generally send out an email with a heads up and post an update to the front page.