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I was watching some novice kayakers at Leo Carrillo State Beach (November 8) and they got pretty beat up in the surf. They never did make it out. I'd be looking for a beach to try where the surf is fairly flat on a consistent basis. I recognize that "consistent" and the ocean are not always compatible concepts. What I want to do is get out and paddle around kelp beds to get my sea legs, and then branch out for exercise, fishing, and touring.

Thanks,

John

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First, anytime you are venturing out on the ocean, please be sure you are dressed to be in the water, and that you have the skills to re-enter your boat in deep water, with and without a partner. In rough conditions.

that said, I'm not super familiar with the area, so I can't help much, but if you look for areas that are somehwat sheltered, like by a jetty, or a point, it can help sometimes. Also, if the beach onland is super steep, it's likely that you will have very dumpy surf.

Check surfline or wetsand for swell forcasts. Nov 8th was a big dy for surf along most of the coast of california.

Also, is there a harbor or other protected water you can launch from and paddle into the ocean?
I appreciate the advice. I'm a firm believer in safety and practice. I found the following information on clothing: http://www.kayak4fish.com/press/WinterKayakFishing0204.shtml. It seems to have some good information. If you have other sites you can refer me to, I'd appreciate it.

I suppose I should just drive up and down the beaches and look for other kayakers too. I will look for sheltered locations as well. I figured that low surf would provide the best environment for practicing self rescue as well.

I know I can use the Ventura Harbor for kayaking as well so that will be a good choice for practicing.
Thanks, John
One suggestion I have is launching from the boat ramps in Ventura Harbor or Channel Island Harbor. Then you can paddle out where you will be protected by the breakwater. Then you can venture out past that into the open ocean. This is what I do when I bring a friend that hasn't paddled in the ocean before, which is a different experience. That way you can judge the conditions. Somedays are mirror smooth, other days the boats stay behind the breakwater.

And of course, what Geoff said, be prepared.

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