Why Kayak or Canoe Sail?

My name is Patrick Forrester, I work for Falcon Sails. As of writing this, I have been sea kayaking and white water kayaking for more than twenty years and sailing even longer. Several years ago a paddling friend installed a kayak sail on his kayak and I discovered how much fun it was. For years I gave it zero consideration, I figured I was a kayaker and who puts a sail on a kayak?. One day on impulse I bought a kayak sail kit and put it on my kayak. I was used to a standard sail boat rig from years of sailing. It was a little awkward at first but in a short amount of time it was easy to figure out the basics. Within a few hours of kayak sailing I felt pretty comfortable and wanted more! When I felt the power of a little more wind, I was hooked. After feeling the power of the wind behind a kayak I understand why kayak sailing is so popular in far away places like Australia and New Zealand. Putting a sail rig on your kayak is the start a new realm of kayaking. You can carry a sail without giving up any of the joys of paddling. When the wind conditions are righ, you can pop a sail and add speed and lots of fun to you outing. With a good compact kayak sail kit, you can have on demand sailing when you want it, and paddle like usual when you do not. The Falcon Sail rig I have on my kayak takes 30 seconds to set up at the put in. When on the water I can raise it, or take it down and secure in seconds. Best of all, a Falson Kayak sail rig never hinders me in any way from doing my regular no-sail kayaking. I can have the best of both worlds.

Here are some great reasons to love kayak sailing!

Kayak Sailing is a blast

When you pop up your sail and feel the forward momentum, it will put a smile on your face. Kayak sailing in heavy winds can be a great thrill!

Kayak Sailing allows you to go farther and do more

When I paddle with a group and there is some wind, I can get off that straight line everybody else takes and can still keep pace with the group. When I see something interesting I can go look at it, or just stop and look at it longer. Catching up is easy with a sail. I can stop to organize my gear or take a drink break. Many times I can just sail and focus my attention on something else besides paddling. With a sail, you can relax a little and still keep up. A kayak sail can add many miles to your average daily distance on a wilderness trip. Some routes and legs that may be too much to bite off without a sail are nowreasonable and attainable with a sail. You can gain big miles on adventure outings and add power when you want to turn your day into a fun and speedy day paddle.

Kayak Sailing allows you to go faster

When you need to get somewhere fast, a Falcon Kayak Sail can get you there. If you want to go even faster or get more exercise, you can paddle and sail at the same time. You can work your paddle and sail hard or relax and take advantage of the wind. When you get someplace faster than everybody else, it usually comes with a sense of satisfaction no matter how you do it. Some classes of adventure kayak races are always won by paddlers who use a kayak sail.

There is nothing more relaxing...

...than a day of kicking your feet up and just enjoying your time on the water as the wind pushes you along. If you are not looking for a thrill, you will love it when you find the perfect light breeze that is inside your comfort and skill level. Every paddler can find conditions suitable for their skill level. Even the macho thrill seekers enjoy rafting up with friends for a nice relaxing afternoon sail.

Kayak Sailing will make you a better kayaker in all situations

You will learn to react faster and how to deal with forces you rarely experience otherwise. The more wind, the better you can hone your bracing and ruddering skills. If you do this and push your kayak sailing limits, your non-sailing limits will increase dramatically. It's just like learning how to catch a wave and surf. When you learn how to catch a wave and become comfortable on the face of a wave your paddling skills increase. When you learn how to control and be comfortable paddle sailing in heavy wind, you are going to be a better paddler in all situations. You will also be more in tune with how wind effects your movement and how important it is to be alert to the wind and staying upwind as much as possible. As a sailor, I feel like I am at a great comparative advantage when the wind is up, even without my sail (especially when there is a crosswind!). Few paddlers adjust for crosswinds adequately.

Paddle sailing leads to a more diverse workout than just paddling

When you paddle sail, its a full body work out. You use your non-sailing muscles and you'll be suprised at home many additional muscle groups you engage when you pop your sail. But don't worry, you can just paddle if you are not quite ready for a new kind of work out.

A kayak sail can lead to getting more exercise

A kayak sail is a great tool for relaxing sessions on the water that require less energy, a more advanced paddler can add an element that does offer more exercise. Her are three reasons we think you'll get more exercise from a Falcon Sail. #1 The pleasure of paddle sailing leads to more outings. #2 The pleasure of paddle sailing leads to longer outings. #3 The pleasure of paddle sailing leads to a lot more experimentation. When paddling with a mixed group of non-sailors and kayak sailors, I find that those with sails are the last ones off the water, its that much fun! . A paddle sailor can cover the same ground faster, be off the water and be more relaxed than the non-sail paddlers.

A kayak sail gives an option to save your energy

For long outings kayakers can burn through a lot of calories. Those calories equal energy. With a Falcon Sail, kayak sailors can conserve energy on long outings and races.  If you have a long paddle ahead, there is nothing better than utilizing a proper sail that can harness wind from a wide variety of angles like a Falcon Sail can do. May times Falcon Sail owners report covering long distances and still having energy for a nice hike after the paddle experience.

A kayak sail will change the wind from foe to friend!

You will think a windy day sounds like fun. Rather than the wind making you decide to stay home, you will see it as an opportunity.

Kayak Sailing makes you more visible

Safety is paramount when on the water and when your sail is up, you are 10 times more visible. Your friends will spot your unique color faster than ever. You can easily identify a sail from over a mile away. When you are trying to find someone or somebody is trying to find you, a sail makes a huge difference! This becomes very noticeable when a group of paddlers arrive with some sailing and others not sailing. The sails are always the first thing to be seen. Most sea kayakers have been in the boat traffic to the point of feeling uneasy. Sometimes paddlers hold their paddle in the air to increase the chances of being seen. A good size paddle blade is usually dark and well under 1000 square cm. A typical sail is very bright and many are over 10,000 square cm. When your sail is up, you can be seen and you do not have to give up your paddle for bracing by putting it in the air. You just keep moving if that is what you want to do. Most kayak sailors say their concern and discomfort around power boats is near zero with their sails as it is without them. Kayak sails also make you more visible when you are on land / shore. They are a great signaling device for some body to find you when your group does not know where or even if you landed. They are also great for helping your friends find you in camp grounds, and parking lots.

Kayak Sailing gives you a chance to relax and keep moving

No matter how much the exercise aspect makes you love paddling, there are times you just want a break. When your sail is up, you can still paddle as hard as ever and still get as much exercise as you can handle. Or you can go the boring route and put your sail down and paddle as usual. But don't worry. You can always paddle sail hard and have a more diverse workout than ever.

Kayak Sailing will get you a lot of attention

Falcon Sails stand out in a crowd. When I land on the beach it is common to have people watching and asking questions. Kayaks always draw a lot of attention at a beach, just wait until people see a kayak wiht a sail, you're bound to attract an audience.

Kayak Sailing is a great way to raise the eyebrows of your traditional (& the few paddlers that are narrow-minded) kayaking friends

Part of what attracts paddlers to the sport is our independent nature. Putting a sail on your boat is a harmless and sometimes amusing way to stand out amongst the self-styled "purist" paddlers. When somebody says "you're cheating" I know they do not understand and they feel like I have something they don't. Some people are too self-conscious to try it or break theirs out when with a group of non-sailing paddlers. I do not ever hesitate to break my sail out when the wind is up!

Kayak Sailing allows you to do other things without stopping

Things such as organizing your gear while you're on the move, taking a drink, looking at a chart. I am one of those paddlers that continually adjust everything, but hesitate because I do not want to slow the group down. When the wind is up, it's not a problem. When the wind is right, you can sail faster than even the strongest paddler in your group. When you see a kayak sailor sitting back and smoking a cigarette as the super strong manly paddler tries to keep up, it's very amusing. Or you can get ahead of the group and then temporarily lower your sail down and do your thing. Or do your thing and raise the sail and catch up to the group by paddle sailing even faster!

Some expedition leaders require participants to have a kayak sail on some trips

This is not unusual in Australia and New Zealand. Nobody will ever say you cannot go because you have a ready-to-go sail that does not get in the way or slow you down. It's only an advantage.

A kayak sail is great for fishing

It is great for trolling, and getting you to and from your favorite fishing hole. It is also nice to have a little push at times to get your line away from your boat. If there is not a lot of wind, you can drift where you can not drift without a sail. If you want to stop drifting you can drop your Falcon Sail in seconds. In addition to trolling, drifting, and getting to and from your fishing hole, movement is nice for getting your line out.

Kayak sailing will help you learn how to sail and become a better sailor

With a Falcon Kayak sail kit you can paddle with your non-sailing friends any time you want AND keep up with those that have sails

With proper skill and decision making kayak sails can increase your safety

If the conditions are turning and you need to get to shore in a hurry, you can get there wiht a Falcon Sail. Falcon Sails make you more visible to power boat operators, potential rescuers and rescuees! A sail is a great tool when towing another paddler. If the conditions or wind become too great, you can always lower your sail.

A kayak sail can make your rig unique!

A sail is unique enough, but with our custom color picker you can make a rig that will never be duplicated. With Falcon Sail's color designer you can make your favorite color combination using literally billions of color combinations available at www.falconsails.com/design

If you sail your kayak it makes you a sailor

Now you can appreciate the joy of sailing and be a member of the ranks of sailors. Whether you sail the world's largest sailing yacht or a 10 foot kayak, you are a sailor. If you sail a kayak you will learn the basics a lot faster. Small boats are great for learning how to sail. Our sail kits are proper sails that allow you maximize a sail's advantage & your fun.

Kayak Sailing makes kayak surfing a lot more fun

Do you like to surf in your kayak and feel like you can always have more? Just like wind surfing adds a major dimension to surfing, a kayak sail makes kayak surfing a lot more fun! A sail can push you to where you want to be, and it can give you much more potential to catch and stay on a wave. The forward momentum of a sail tends to keep your bow downwave and gives you a push to stay on a wave longer. When I do crossings in a group, I surf waves twice or triple as far as paddlers without sails. It is a thrill! When a good surfing wave comes up, and I am side-by-side with a paddle-only kayaker I tend to catch more waves, and when we both catch waves, I ride it a lot longer.

Kayak Sailing is a growing trend

This trend started in Australia and New Zealand. Some members of large paddling clubs down under say 1/3 of their members are regular kayak sailors. There are new kayak sailors every day!

Kayak sailing gives those never ending tinkerers something else to do

Kayak sailing is simplistic and takes very little time to get set up, and learn how to be comfortable with it. One weekend of kayak sailing and you will have mastered a majority of the benefits kayak sailing offers over kayaking without a sail. After a season of kayak sailing you will have learned most everything needed to be safe and have fun on the water. If you want to squeeze more out of having a sail on your kayak, you can refine your rigging and work on refining your technique. It's just like sailing on any sailboat. The most experienced sailors go a little faster and those who have tweaked their boats get a little more yet.  It's very satisfying to use your brain and skills to go faster and further and have more fun! We like to work smarter and not harder and when we go faster and farther with a Falcon Sail, we get there using the wind verses brute force.


It's always fun to get competitive with other kayak sailors and go faster or more upwind. All sailors of any kind take notice of who is going faster and who can point upwind better. Or you can make a friendly bet on who will get to the next beach first. The same thing is true of kayakers. Everybody always notices who is at the beach first. Everybody would like to be able to be first, but most people are not willing to experience the pain it takes to be first. When you beat other "hard core" paddlers as they paddle their brains out, with your moderate effort, it will put a smile on your face.

Your mast is a great place to hang gear for drying - It's a minor convenience but still very handy at times when you want to dry something and keep it off the ground, and in a location where you wont forget it

Give yourself the best advantages you can when participating in an organized race

Many adventure races allow kayaks to have sails. If you do not have a sail when participating in a race that allow sails, you are at great disadvantage. The Falcon 1 meter sail is designed specifically to comply with the rules of common adventure races such as the Everglades Challenge and the Florida Ultimate Challenge. Falcon Sails where used by the winner of class 1 in the 2013 everglades challenge.

Reduce chances of boredom

Paddle sailing is a great way to increase your enjoyment in your short and long term kaykaing experiences. Sailing adds a whole new realm to kayaking. You will look at every place you paddle in a new way. Even though kayak sailors can go much faster than paddle only kayakers, they regularly are the last ones off the water because paddle sailing just so much more fun and so much more interesting.

Reduce strain on your shoulders and other joints

When the sail is providing propulsion, there is less strain on your shoulders and other joints as you paddle to go forward. Kayakers with shoulder discomfort have been known to say it is good therapy and their shoulders feel a lot better after a long paddle sail than before a long paddle sail.

Kayak sailing creates an entire new dimension to kayaking. When the sail is up in good wind, you can stay near maximum hull speed, surf more than ever and there will be a huge smile on your face. When the wind is present, not even the most conditioned athlete can keep up with a kayak with a good sail. With a Falcon Kayak Sail you can go from no sail mode to sail mode in seconds. You can do your usual paddling and break out to sailing fun in no time. Now the wind is your friend!

A solid rig can be used to drag your boat onto the beach.

You can grab your mast and drag your boat onto the beach.  It is a very handy place to grab your boat.  You do need to have a well built rig to do this, but if you do, it is really handy when you are dragging your boat and yourself onto the beach after a long day.  It is very convenient and allows you to not have to lean over and lift so much weight. We do not recommend dragging a fully loaded kayak on the beach this way.  Falcon Sails testers do it all the time to push the limits of our rigs.  Nothing has ever broken when we do this, but dragging a 60 pound boat with 60 pounds of gear, and 30 pounds of water after a rough landing might be too much.   If the wind is at the correct angle, the propulsion a sail provides is also noticable and handy.

A well made sail can be helpful when moving a kayak that is on a set of wheels.

A well made sail rig,  can be very handy for pulling a boat, similar to how they are handy for dragging a boat onto the beach.  You can grab the mast at your chosen level, to hold your bow at the height you would like. You can also switch between pulling on your bow toggle, to pulling on the mast to give you  choices and various options for pulling which is good for reducing fatigue and injuries and also increase your endurance. A sail is also handy for moving a boat on wheels because, the sail will provide useful propulsion just like it does on the water.  After a long day on the water dragging your kayak on wheels can be a lot of work.  If the sail provides a consistent 5 or 10 pounds of push you will notice and appreciate it.