RCMP said a local man left from the Pointe-Verte area, near Bathurst, at about 9:30 a.m. When he didn't return, his family called police.
A kayak was discovered empty and overturned in the water.
The kayaker is believed to be as far as 20 nautical miles north of Bathurst and five nautical miles from the shore, said Capt. Tyrone Grande, with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax.
Grande said a Cormorant helicopter from the airbase in Greenwood, N.S., did three complete searches on Saturday.
The helicopter is helping again Sunday, while Bathurst RCMP lead the ground search.
"No civilian vessels are currently assisting because of high winds," Grande said.