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  • Writer's pictureJustin Pahnturat

Early morning water check with Kayak Guide Justin

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Every morning I wake up

and my first thoughts are about the water and where will I travel to in my sea kayak today? My first thoughts are of wind because I live on the Great Lakes, a marvel of freshwater that is completely wind-driven meaning the wind will determine current, swell and wave direction...


I live in Door County, Wisconsin on a limestone bluff formation called the Niagara Escarpement surround by water on all sides by Lake Michigan and Green Bay. As an avid sea kayaker and professional guide I seem to always be asking myself what is the water doing right now? I always take a first look at the treetops outside my window to gauge the wind speed, get an impression of just how hard the wind is blowing and what conditions that may bring.


Every morning the very first thing I do head for the shoreline to do what water people all over the world do each and everyday... water check. And every morning this is how my day begins. When it's time to close my eyes at the end of the day I can still feel the swell of the water, I see the vast horizon of endless sea, I can even hear to waves bouncing around my head like a seashell.


Excited for the day to begin

Seriously. Before I was in a healthy mode of living I used to hate mornings and now I jump out of bed excited for every day. The 'water check' is a morning ritual that is, well, exactly what it sounds like. This is where you stand there on the shore of any ocean, river or lake and try to gauge the conditions and read the mystic language of the water. To all of us humans, the water is an alien environment and to be able understand the language of the water takes a lot of time and experience to even come close to understanding it's mystery and magic. And so for those of us about to enter the water it's really important to understand what's happening and what conditions possibly shall soon come. Sometimes your looking for surf and big wave swell other times for tours you are looking for calm and wind breaks and the water check will determine that. And its an important call and ritual of sea kayaking that I adore.

What next?

And so here I stand, like an early morning water check on my near future, here on the shore of today looking out and into the wavy horizon of my life and what may lay in store for me ahead. Peering off into the distance, I searched for any clues or signs that might possibly give me an idea of what was about to happen in the coming months and years of my life.

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