By Ashley Johnson
Alki Kayak Tours
West Seattle has a plethora of paddling spots – perfect for all ages. Seattle summers are a great time to get out and explore as I am sure you have been learning through your own adventures!
Let me begin by providing some additional information about Alki Kayak Tours. We are located on 1660 Harbor Ave (beside the King County Water Taxi). Our business prides itself on providing accessible paddling activities for novice – advanced kayakers/SUPers! We provide daily rentals for individuals and groups. We often have families rent kayaks from us. For our younger participants we have double kayaks which are perfect for a parent and child, as well as single kayaks that youth over 14 can paddle themselves (with an adult nearby of course).
We provide classes and tours as well, which individuals over 12 can participant in with a parent/guardian. This summer, we are also SUPer excited to begin our Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) Community Paddle Nights which your family may be interested in. Every Monday from 6-8pm, we are providing 1/2 price rentals for SUPs as well as a free group guided paddle with a staff member. Anyone is welcome to bring their own board and join us at no cost. Our goal is to build a community of local paddlers here at Alki! For more information on our company, you can visit our website: www.kayakalki.com.
Here at Alki Kayak Tours, we launch at Seacrest Park. Almost all of our rentals, tours, and classes take place in Elliot Bay. We love the area because of its calmer waters, beautiful city views, and the abundant wildlife. Seacrest Park is actually a public launching area though and therefore popular for many kayakers, SUPers, and divers.
Other great Elliot Bay launches are Alki Beach, Constellation Park (by the Lighthouse), and Lowman Beach (near Lincoln Park). Just outside of West Seattle, Andrews Bay (launch at Seward Park), is very tranquil and beginner friendly.
Before embarking on any outdoor adventure, it is vital to pre-plan. We strongly recommend scouting the area before you start your paddle. Pay attention to the 4 W’s: Water, Weather, Wind, and Waves.
The Puget Sound water is never warmer than 55 degrees – even in the summer. We recommend always wearing and packing extra layers. Personally, I prefer a wetsuit, and we offer these to students in our kayak and SUP classes since they will be spending time in the water. We sell a variety of wetsuit options for youth – adults at our sister store Mountain to Sound Outfitters.
It is also vital to pay attention to the weather. Check before you leave home and continue to monitor while you are in your boat. Weather Underground (Seattle, WA Weather Conditions | Weather Underground (wunderground.com) ) or Accuweather are great resources, and will not only tell you the temperature and precipitation, but also the wind.
Here at Alki, the wind can significantly affect conditions – especially if it is from the North. We typically consider the appearance of whitecaps on the water in conjunction with high winds as unsafe conditions for family/beginner paddlers. Tides are also an important consideration, and there are multiple apps to keep track of the daily tides. I utilize “Tides Near Me.”
Lastly, there are few essential supplies, we encourage participants to never leave home without. Always pack water, salty snacks, a first aid kit, extra layers, good water shoes, map, and radio/cell phone. It is required by law to wear a life jacket and have a whistle accessible at all times. There are always safety considerations for outdoor fun. However, with proper planning and research – paddling is a perfect family adventure!