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Sea Kayaks vs. Recreational Kayaks


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Sea Kayaks vs. Recreational Kayaks

Below I inserted an email I received from Jen Kleck of Aqua Adventures of San Diego (I rented kayaks from her store several times while visiting San Diego). Although the purpose of her email is probably not directly applicable to any of us NSPN’ers, I thought it might be interesting because the problem she addresses is analogous to the “one solution fits all†Mass Kayak Safety Bill here.

From Aqua Adventures:

We need a letter writing campaign to preserve our right to teach kayaking

lessons in La Jolla! La Jolla is the best place in San Diego to learn open

water kayaking skills like launching and landing through surf, paddling along

rocky coast lines, and handling wind and waves. Aqua Adventures has been

teaching quality lessons there for over 20 years, but thanks to the over

crowding by sit-on-top tours, locals seeking quality instruction are going to

lose out! We are being pigeon-holed into a business plan by the City because

they can't see past all the big tour companies despite the fact that we offer

something completely different - LESSONS! The City wants a minimum of $6,000

for the permit to operate commercially in La Jolla. Aqua Adventures already

pays the City $25,000 per year to operate in Mission Bay, but the demand for

lessons in La Jolla does not justify another $6,000. By demanding so much

money, the City is about to take away your right to get qualified kayak

instruction in one of San Diego's gems! Fight back and write a letter to the

Mayor asking for a waiver of the minimum kayak concession fee for Aqua

Adventures. I've written text below that you can copy or modify as you wish.

Even if you haven't taken lessons in La Jolla, or even ever wanted to, don't you

think you should have the RIGHT to? PLEASE STICK TO SEA KAYAKING SKILLS (surf

kayaking is a different topic) if you modify. It'd be great to flood the

mayor's inbox today (Friday) - it might get some attention if there's a pile of

them in the inbox! I need LOTS of response! Please take a moment to copy the

text, and paste it into the comments box at:


Subject: La Jolla Kayak Concession

Mayor Sanders,

It is my understanding that commercial kayaking activity in La Jolla is now

regulated by the City of San Diego and that the current format of the permits

will force out the best kayak company in San Diego: Aqua Adventures.

Unfortunately, Aqua Adventures' business model does not fit the same mold as all

the other kayaking companies, yet no concessions have been made by the City to

accommodate Aqua Adventures' business model. This is unfortunate because the

services that Aqua Adventures (and Aqua Adventures ALONE) is able to offer, are

extremely important to me, a tax-paying and voting resident of San Diego. I

request that the City modify the La Jolla Kayak Concession Agreement with Aqua

Adventures in such a way so as to account for the very different usage by Aqua

Adventures, and the very different financial impact. By doing this, you will

allow me the continued opportunity to receive the best possible kayaking

instruction, and to enjoy San Diego's beaches and oceans the way I want to and

in the safest way possible!

Aqua Adventures is different from every other permit holder. Many people think

that kayaking is limited to the sit-on-tops that cover La Jolla Shores in the

summer. The truth is that kayaking is a varied sport and many of us pursue it

at a high level of athleticism and adventure using traditional sit-inside

kayaks. Some of us have kayaked from San Pedro to Catalina Island! Some of us

have kayaked for weeks in Baja, camping on every pretty beach we found! Some of

us stay closer to home and paddle from La Jolla to Mission Bay, or Mission Bay

to San Diego Bay. Some of us like paddling on San Diego Bay at night when the

city lights are twinkling. If these activities sound a bit risky and

adventurous, they are! And that's why we do them! We manage and reduce the

risk by learning how to control our kayaks in wind and waves, by learning how to

paddle efficiently, by learning how to recover from a capsize and to navigate,

about safety equipment like tow lines and lights, etc. Unlike simple

"recreational" kayaks, sit-inside kayaks require significantly more knowledge

and training to use safely. In San Diego, this knowledge and training can ONLY

be found at Aqua Adventures!

Aqua Adventures operates primarily on Mission Bay where their shop is, and this

is a great place to learn the basics. But in order to advance my skill level so

that I can safely kayak in all the places I want to, I need to learn how to

launch and land through the surf zone, how to maneuver my kayak along rocky

shorelines, and how to manage wind and swell. The only place in San Diego that

I am allowed to launch and land a kayak on the beach is La Jolla Shores boat

ramp. Personally, I believe this is a risky enough endeavor that it should not

be attempted for the first time without qualified instruction. It's not a

matter of simply holding on, there are specific techniques and methods that make

it safe and I never would have learned those techniques on my own. The only

instructors in San Diego who are qualified to teach these techniques in

sit-inside kayaks are at Aqua Adventures! The demand to learn these techniques

is far smaller than the demand to take a sit-n-top tour at La Jolla and it is my

understanding that Aqua Adventures cannot afford the $6,000 minimum permit fee

required by the City. Aqua Adventures operates at La Jolla several times PER

MONTH, while other concession holders run multiple tours PER DAY. Aqua

Adventures offers valuable services, yet is overly burdened by the permit

requirements developed for an entirely different kind of business.

As a tax payer in San Diego, if I want to obtain highly qualified instruction

in kayaking at La Jolla Shores, I should have the right to.

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