Both of our locations are on the Monterey Bay Marine National Sanctuary, but they are very different.
Santa Cruz: In Santa Cruz you will paddle out of the harbor and into the bay while experiencing amazing views of the coastline, Boardwalk, lighthouse and wharf. You will be on the ocean and will experience the feeling of the rolling seas. Santa Cruz offers the opportunity to see otters, seals, sea lions, birds, dolphins and whales.
Elkhorn Slough: The Elkhorn Slough is in inland waterway and is protected from the swell and chop of the open ocean. Although it is connected to the ocean, it has calm waters and you will never be far from shore. The Elkhorn Slough is affected by the tides and winds, but not the ocean swells. The Elkhorn Slough is a refuge for wildlife including tons of otters, seals, sea lions and hundreds of species of birds. If you are interested in wildlife spotting, this is the location for you!
All are welcome to come and rent a kayak, SUP or boogie board with Kayak Connection. For insurance and safety reasons we have a short list of rental requirements:
- Children must be at least 5 years old to go kayaking or boogie boarding.
- Children 15 years or older are welcome to paddle a single kayak.
- All participants must sign a release, and children under 18 must have their release signed by a parent or legal guardian.
- Alcohol/drugs are not allowed before, or during, your rental.
- Children under 18 must be accompanied by at least one person over 25.
- All renters must know how to swim.
Rentals: Reservations are not required, but are a good idea. Often we can accommodate you if you just walk in, but some days are booked solid. The summer weekend days and holiday weekends are the busiest times for us, and you should make a reservation to guarantee your spot. To make a rental reservation simply call the location where you want to kayak. We will need your name, phone number and credit card number.
Tours: Reservations are required for all of our tours, and payment must be made in advance of the tour. Most of our tours can be booked on the web using our easy online registration system. You are also welcome to make reservations in person or over the phone.
Private Tours: Private tours can only be reserved over the phone or in person and reservations are required. We will need your name, phone number and credit card number. We will also need to know how many people are joining you, what type of tour you are interested in, and what day and time you would like to go.
Classes: Reservations are required for all classes. Most of our classes can be booked on the web using our easy online registration system. You are also welcome to make reservations in person or over the phone.
Rentals: To reserve a kayak, a credit card number is required. We require a 48 hour cancellation notice, otherwise your credit card will be charged. If Kayak Connection cancels due to unsafe weather conditions (i.e. strong winds, high surf, etc) you will receive a full refund.
Tours and Classes: Reservations are required for tours and classes, and full payment is required at time of reservation. We require 48 hours notice to receive a full refund. A full refund will be given if we cancel for safety reasons. Light fog and rain will not cancel an outing, as long as weather conditions remain calm.
Private Tours: To book a private tour, we need 50% of the total cost at the time of the reservation. The remaining 50% can be paid on the day of the tour. If you need to reduce the number of participants, please do so at least 7 days before the date of your trip. If we are not notified at least 7 days in advance, we will expect payment for the original number of participants.
Rentals: If you are coming to do a rental the first thing you will have to do is sign a liability release and pay for your rental. You will then watch a short safety video about the area. Our staff will then help you get the correct gear and show you how to wear it properly. After a safety and paddle talk by a staff member you will be taken to the dock and helped into your kayak or on to SUP.
Tours and Classes: When you join us for a tour or class the first thing you will do is meet your instructor or guide who will have you fill out a liability release. Your guide or instructor will then take you to get geared up, give you a safety talk and then accompany you to the dock where you will start your adventure. Afterward, don’t forget to tip your guide! They work hard to ensure you have a great day on the water.
Kayaks: If you are going on a kayak rental, tour or class you will get a personal floatation device, paddling jacket, sprayskirt and paddle.
If you are doing a guided tour in Moss Landing or Santa Cruz you will be given a closed deck kayak, no wetsuit required.
If you are renting in Moss Landing, you will be in a closed decked kayak, no wetsuit required.
For closed decked kayaks: We suggest that you try to avoid wearing jeans or sweats, and instead dress in layers of fleece, wool, capilene or synthetic clothing. Weather conditions can change quickly on the water and we feel that you are better off with too many layers than being cold!
If you are renting from Santa Cruz you will be given a sit on top kayak unless you have taken a sea kayaking safety class. With sit on top rentals, please bring a bathing suit – you will be given a wetsuit to wear over it (yep, it’s mandatory if you are going out of the Harbor and into the open ocean).
SUPs: If you are renting an SUP you will be provided with a wetsuit and paddle. You may want to go barefoot, wear watersocks or booties, and should come dressed in a swimsuit and have a change of clothes.
Also, if you are going on a tour or taking a class you may want to consider bringing a tip for your hard-working guide or instructor.
We recommend that you bring:
- A hat and sunglasses
- Water and a snack
- Camera and/or binoculars (bring at your own risk of them getting wet!)
- Footwear such as old sneakers, Tevas, watersocks or booties
Capsizing is always a possibility. In Moss Landing we use closed-deck kayaks and provide you with a spray skirt that covers the cockpit and helps keep water out of your kayak. In Santa Cruz if you rent a sit on top kayak you are a little more exposed, but you will be wearing a wetsuit so if you get splashed or sprayed it’s no big deal! For guided tours and classes in Santa Cruz we use closed-deck kayaks with sprayskirts to keep us nice and warm. Always bring extra clothes just in case.
A capsize is a rare occurrence because our kayaks are very stable. Many people that rent have never been in a kayak before and have little or no problem maneuvering. Our safety video and staff instruction will help you increase your stability and greatly reduce your chance of ending up in the drink!
We love pets! However, at the Elkhorn Slough we do not allow pets on our boats. This is because the Elkhorn Slough is a sensitive habitat for sea otters and harbor seals that can be disturbed by our pets.
At our Santa Cruz location, we do allow dogs to come on our kayaks or SUPs. Remember, it is best to have a floatation device for them. We charge $10 per pet.