Sea kayaking around Cornwall

sea kayaker out on water in cornwall

Sea kayaking around Cornwall, UK

Hello and welcome back to my blog. Todays post is all about sea kayaking around Cornwall. This is an activity my partner and I do all the time and thoroughly love to do. We took some friends out on our kayaks a few weeks ago and they didn’t have much experience therefore didn’t feel very confident on the water. So I wanted to write this post for those of you who may be feeling the same. This post is basically a how to on having the best day and staying safe while out at sea, I hope you enjoy.

1. Sea conditions

Before you even think about taking your kayak out you need to take note of the sea conditions. If you are a complete novice I would only recommend going out to sea when the wind speed is low (10 mph or lower) and when there are hardly any waves or swell. I use magic seaweed for this. You may also want to be aware that sometimes when you get to your destination that the sea conditions may be different than predicted. So a judgement must be made when you arrive to your kayaking destination. 

You also want to look at what the weather will be doing for the rest of the day as you will probably be out on the water for a couple of hours. We find that in the mornings the wind tends to be at its lowest and it almost always picks up during the day.

melissa carne in sea kayak near looe in cornwall
two kayakers near looe island in cornwall, UK

2. Locations for sea kayaking around Cornwall

You want to pick a sea kayaking location that you know is safe. You can tell this by seeing if other kayakers are in the sea. If you can hire out kayaks in this location or if you know the area well. In Cornwall I would always recommend kayaking on the South coast rather than the North coast. I have personally been kayaking off Looe, Falmouth and Porthpean before and I know these places are often used by other kayakers.


You will obviously need a kayak. Second hand ones that you can find on Facebook marketplace are great. Alternatively you can buy a blow up kayak from Amazon if it is something that you are only going to use on a rare occasion. I have heard that the brand Intex* is pretty good.  Or you can of course hire them!

Along with your kayak you will need your paddle, (these normally come with the kayak.) 

lifejacket* is essential even if you are a strong swimmer. You never know what could happen while out on the water. It is always best to be safe rather than sorry.

waterproof phone case* so you can take some amazing photos while out on the water. As well as acting as a device you can use if god forbid something goes wrong!

A dry bag to keep your other belongings safe and dry. This one* actually comes with a waterproof phone case.

A big water bottle, I personally love S’well*. You need to make sure you keep hydrated while out on the water.

Suncream. I personally love La Roche Posay Anthelios* or P20* as it is waterproof and isn’t sticky.


Even though you’re on the water not in it while kayaking you will get a bit wet. This is because the paddle splashes you a bit and you will need to go knee deep to get into it. So I would highly recommend wearing your swimming costume, as well as some old shorts and a t-shirt you don’t mind getting wet. These items of clothing will also act as a barrier from the sun. Because I don’t know if you know already but you can really burn out on the water!

If you burn really easily like me or want to up your kayaking attire, you could invest in a rash vest*and wetsuit leggings*. Or if it is really cold it would be good to wear a wetsuit*.

I would also recommend investing in some rock shoes* or wetsuit boots* especially if you are going to a beach with a lot of rocks and carrying your kayak over them. They also help to keep your feet warm!

Finally you will want to wear a sunhat and sunglasses (if it is a lovely sunny day.) The glare from the sun off the water can be really blinding and if I don’t wear both I can often end up with a banging headache.

melissa carne running into sea next to sea kayak
boat out on the water in looe, cornwall


When kayaking you don’t want to bring tonnes of stuff with you as you will be the one lugging it around. I would just stick to the essentials such as food, water and your phone. If you want to get fancy you can bring along your snorkel* if somewhere takes your fancy for a dip.

You might always want to invest in a professional underwater camera such as a GoPro* or Olympus Tough*. We took both of these cameras with us whilst snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef and can’t recommend them enough. If you do take any pictures please be sure to tag me in them @melissa_carne.


Know where you’re setting off and paddling to. Where a lovely little cove may be to stop for lunch, (you can always use google maps for this.) As well as how long you may be out on the water for. 

Finally if you are going sea kayaking please tell someone who is not coming with you where you are heading and how long you think you will be. That way if something does happen out on the water someone will be aware and be able to advise the coast guard. However, most importantly have fun sea kayaking around Cornwall, UK!


If you enjoyed this blog post you may enjoy my post about the seals off Looe island. This is a spot I often go kayaking.

Lots of love, Melissa x

Disclaimer: All products marked with an * are affiliate links. Read more about it here.


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