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Kayak and the Important Gear Needed

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Kayaking is a water sport involving the use of kayaks and paddles to navigate. You can either go kayaking in protected waters or in the sea. Most people naturally assume that kayaking is the same as canoeing. This is not so.

While they are both water sports, they are different in techniques and gear. The typical kayak has an enclosure for your legs and can only take one person –making it an individual sport. The only visible or exposed parts of your body are your torso, arms and head.

Canoeing on the other hand, requires the use of canoes or boats with no enclosures, and may or may not need extra protective gear. Here’s everything you need to know about kayaking gear and safety tips.

Kayak Gear

Floatation Gear (Including Personal Flotation Devices)

This can make the difference between life and death if your kayak were to overturn in turbulent waters or any water body for that matter. So, your floatation gear is your number one priority, which includes:

  • Paddle floats which can effectively help you stabilize the kayak if it overturns.
  • Bright coloured personal floatation devices (PFDs) also known as life jackets to keep you afloat if you lose your kayak.
  • Floatation bags designed to limit the amount of water your kayak takes.

Bilge Pumps and Spray Skirts

Kayaks can take in water particularly if you capsize. You need these pumps to get water out of your kayak. Think of them as a bailer –jugs, bowls- in canoeing.

However, you may want to get spray skirts designed to:

  • Prevent water from entering your boat.
  • Keep you and your equipment dry.
  • Help preserve your food.
  • Generally help the kayak float higher in water.

Helmets and Immersion Clothing

All kayakers must be properly clothed whenever they go kayaking. This means wearing immersion clothing or dry suits and helmets. These are designed to:

  • 4Minimise the amount of water your skin has direct contact with.
  • 4Protect your skull from cracking if you are thrown or your boat capsizes in shallow waters and rocky places.

Sea Navigation Instruments

To be lost in open water is no joke. Most people assume they can tell where their coastlines are. This is not true at all.

If there’s a fog, a slight storm or anything out of the ordinary –which can happen when you go white water rafting or sea kayaking- , you may lose your bearings. So, get navigational instruments like a compass. This will determine what direction to go if you get lost or confirm you’re still in the right direction.

Communication Gadgets

If you ever get lost at sea, are tired or injured and unable to make your way back, communication gadgets are essential. These should be audio-visual. Some signalling devices to indicate your whereabouts are:

  • Radios
  • Sat phones, if you can afford those
  • Flares
  • Bull horn, if you can fit it in

You could make up for this with a loud voice, horns, whistles, signal mirrors, flashlights and emergency flags.

For more information on essential kayak gear in Australia, visit www.4kicks.com.au, the leading extreme sports equipment provider in Australia.

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