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Home > Magazine > Sea > Periscope for Sea Kayaking?

Periscope for Sea Kayaking?
April 07, 2014

Here's a thought... Would a periscope be useful for seakayakers? ...Or, doing something to get that function.

I don't see any device being sold to give this function. Or plans for making such a thing.

What is the horizon view distance from eye-level in a cockpit? ...What is the view distance up at the end of an uplifted paddle? And, we don't want just horizon, we want to see detail of what's near or at water level.

Basically, the cockpit view of water SURFACE conditions very far away at all is terrible. We're already on the surface, nearly.

We can see the back of a taller, breaking wave but we can't see if there are sets of waves.

I did a jiffy ballpark calculation: seems like we have a 2-mi horizon view from cockpit. Maybe only a 1-mi view of useful shoreline detail. Maybe a half-mile view of the detail of things that extend across the surface.

We have a 5-mi view of things like other modest-sized boats.

Getting a view from 7 feet up, say, would almost double all this. Takes 15 min's to paddle a mile. So, a periscope could save some time. Might keep us from getting too close to dangerous surf that we'd rather stay far from.

So, it seems like getting a better look at major features, coastline, surf, inlets, landing options, approaching vessels, just might be nice. Might be safer, save time, improve life.

But how to do it? (Canoers can just stand up to take a look at whitewater/obstacles ahead.)

It's not hard to acquire a waterproof camera. Many of us paddle with one already. Maybe we could hoist it for video... But that's screensize-limited, and rez-limited for zooming.

What about a collapsible periscope with soft tube, a couple mirrors, and eye-piece designed to give a real view. That might be groovy. Mount it up along an extended paddle if you needed to give your 'soft tube' a frame.

[ALERT! Michael Edelman's reply below gives a few nifty ideas as food for thought and limitations. He ponders "drone" and "balloon" but perhaps complexity rears its head. How about a kite? Stability, control, quick deployment... Maybe doable...)

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