So, you have decided to purchase that kayak, in fact, you have already made the purchase, what’s the next move, settle into it and steer it down that rushing rapids? Not so fast! There are certain things that you would need first.
And the most important gear you will need, and this is beside your kayak, is your paddle. I mean, how else do you steer it, right? When it comes to paddles, there are differences in the length and shape of the blade, the shaft’s length and shape and what it is made from.
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For you to decide on what combination is best for you, you will first need to know what type of paddling you will be doing, the size of your kayak, and, also your size. If you are on the short spectrum, and light weight, you will need a shorter and a lighter paddle. Kayaks that are wide and tall will require longer paddles.
When it comes to the blade, you have options, too. The wider the blade, the more water you will touch, giving you more acceleration. These blades also have resistance, meaning that there will be more effort required from your end. A blade that is narrow will need more strokes, but you will deliver less effort per stroke.
Some blade come parallel to each other, these ones are called unfeathered. Blades that are offset at an angle between 70 and 90 degrees are called feathered. These angles cut down on wind resistance as the blade not in the water is flat against the breeze.
Another piece of gear that you need is a life vest, known to kayakers as the Personal Floatation Device (PFD). You should always wear your PFD, it doesn’t matter what the water situation is like, whether you are on a calm lake or in rushing rapids. PFD for kayakers have large necks, narrow shoulder straps and wide arm holes to give you maximum range of motion.
You will also need spray skirts; they keep you positioned in the kayak and, also keep the water out. They look like mini kayaks made from nylon or neoprene. The paddler would need to put on the skirt, which should fit tightly around the waist, and then he/she would get in the kayak.
The skirt then connects to the cockpit to form a watertight seal. When you are getting a spray skirt, one thing you should look out for is the ease of getting out of it. You will need to get something that you can easily remove in case you are in a situation where your kayak or boat capsizes. Skirts are mostly used in surf and white-water kayaking.