Kayaking: What Do You Need to Get Started? – as part of the expert series by GeoBeats.
I tell people that the initial package for kayaking is a kayak, a paddle, and a life jacket. All three of them are a necessity that you need when you kayak. Anything after that starts to become additional equipment that you an always purchase, but those three you need to have.
Like the kayaks, life jackets come in a variety of different sizes and colors and shapes and things as well. But basically there are literally life jackets designed for kayakers. They have bigger arm holes, for being able to move your arms more. In some cases they have high reflectivity. They have soft straps so that when you are in a kayak and sitting, you don’t have these straps sticking up into your face. And they are literally designed for kayaking and different size people. All of them of course have to be Coast Guard approved and they are noted to be manufactured. So the life jacket is a very important thing to have.
One thing you want to always remember is that you are going to have this is your hand every second of the time that you are paddling. So I sort of preach the fact that you should find something that is going to be comfortable for you to be able to handle all the time. That it will be the right length that it is suppose to be so that it meets your height. And also the materials themselves of what the paddles are made from varies just as much the materials for when you are buying a kayak.
You can get aluminum shaft with rubber blades, you can get fiber glass shafts with fiber glass blades. This particular one is a more advanced. This is a carbon fiber shaft with a nice wooden blade, and they all are functional, they all work, but it is also all about the weight of the paddle itself. If you get a big heavy paddle, you are going to work a lot harder then if you are going to buy something that is a lot lighter.
They will range anywhere from 36 or 38 ounces all the way down to like a 24 or 25 ounce paddle. And fortunately or unfortunately, as they get to be better paddles, they also go up in price. So you also have to find something that is going to meet your paddling expenses as well. A lot of times people will buy an introductory blade or an introductory paddle just to get them in and then they will work their way up towards something that might be a little bit nicer, a little bit lighter as they go. All f them work. It is just the question of ease and comfort.
Those are the basic 3, a kayak, a paddle, and a life jacket. There is the next level that comes in and it’s what I call the ‘self rescue’ concept of kayaking and that is if I was out paddling out in the water and I did accidentally tip over, there are classes that we teach on how we get back into your boat. And also there are equipment that you can buy that can help you get in to your boat faster.
And so there the next level is the ‘Emergency Level’ of a paddle float, and a paddle leash, and a pump, to pump the water out of your boat if you did ever tip over. After that, you know, there is clothing and there is gloves, and there is hats, and there is boots, and it’s the old story, if somebody will buy it then someone will make it. And there are thousands of things out there that you can also buy that are in addition to kayaking.
Clothing, probably, being the next one to keep yourself protected and dry, and warm, and whatever that case might be. But again, the first package is the kayak, the paddle, and the life jacket. There are all side shoots off of there too. How are you going to haul it around? How are you going to get those kayak from point A to point B? So you have to consider roof racks for the back of your truck, or, you know, foam pads on the roof of your car, whatever that might be.
So somebody that you are going to talk to about kayaking should give you all the areas that you need to consider. Generally what I tell people is no matter what size kayak or cost kayak that you buy, you should figure about another 50 for the life jacket and the paddle to get you into the kit package of whatever it is. I don’t even care if it is a 00 boat or whether it is a ,000 boat, you are going to have to get a life jacket and a paddle to go along with it.
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