New to Kayaking... Kit - Where do I Start?

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Kayak_Mayhem
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New to Kayaking... Kit - Where do I Start?

Post by Kayak_Mayhem »

Hello

I've always had an interest in kayaking and feel the time is now right to finally take the plunge.

I'm fortunate in living close to the Wye as well as the coast and ideally, fancy experiencing both river and sea kayaking.

With a vast array of equipment and clothing options out there, can anyone suggest the best route to take? I'd be looking to buy a kayak that would cover both disciplines (river and sea), and remain with me as I progress and gain experience - I'm not after purchasing a novice set-up, then having to quickly sell it on to acquire something that's properly up to the job. In terms of clothing, what are the basics and where best to source?

Thanks in advance for any help and guidance.

Backwater
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Re: New to Kayaking... Kit - Where do I Start?

Post by Backwater »

Welcome to the world of kayaking. It will draw you in!
My best advice, seeing you are well placed near the Wye, is to join a local club first before you do anything. My local club costs £20 a year, provides boats, paddles, BAs, helmets, regular trips out, knowledgeable company and good safe fun. Some cheap water shoes, old long John wetsuit and splash top will get you started until you find which way you are headed, then the buying of KIT can begin. Once started, like all sports, stuff just has to be got, and this year's colours are always brighter. Have fun!

Ken_T
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Re: New to Kayaking... Kit - Where do I Start?

Post by Ken_T »

Hi,
I would echo Backwaters advice to join a club, you will then be able to get advice & try various equipment before you buy.
Ken

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MikeB
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Re: New to Kayaking... Kit - Where do I Start?

Post by MikeB »

Yes - join a club for sure. Not just for access to kit, but also for training opportunities and organised trips to go on.

The only thing to keep in mind is that although there are boats that will work in both environments (sea / river) - they won't excel at either. You're probably looking at what are called "cross-over" boats. Realistically, depending of course on what you want to do, you're going to need a proper sea boat if you want to be doing longer trips / carrying much in the way of kit.

Something like the Fusion will let you do moderate whitewater and touring rivers, and some paddling on the sea too. But not really what you want if plan longer or more challenging sea trips.

A decent club will however probably have sea boats for members to use. Especially if they have a "sea" focus.

Getting good "personal kit" could be the priority - there's a lot to be said for having your own paddling clothing, BA, paddles etc. Then the next stage is your own boat(s). My suggestion is not to buy at the cheap end of the market when it comes to clothing, especially cags / drysuits, if you can afford to do otherwise. The same is true for the rest of the kit but neither is there any need to spend £450 on a fancy carbon paddle!

Enjoy - Mike

CM2
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Re: New to Kayaking... Kit - Where do I Start?

Post by CM2 »

I'll agree with everyone else, join a club.

As for boats
I'd be looking to buy a kayak that would cover both disciplines (river and sea), and remain with me as I progress and gain experience
Is a contradiction in terms. A kayak to cover both disciplines will soon be lacking in both, you can either get a boat like the fusion and be prepared to get 2 more boats as you progress (and it probably wont take long if you paddle regularly), or buy a boat for each.

At a guess putting the same effort into paddling my sea boat goes about twice the speed of my river boat but takes about 6 times the effort to turn (One turning stroke on the river boat can turn the river boat as much as 6 strokes on the sea kayak). A crossover will be somewhere between the two but still a huge difference in manoeuvrability or speed compared to a specialist boat.
You will want a boat(s) that fits you and you like the way is is (e.g. the balance between stability, speed and manoeuvrability no boat can be very stable, fast and manoeuvrable). Try as many boats as you can before deciding what is right for you.

For personal gear while there are differences between specialist touring stuff and specialist WW stuff the compromises are small enough that you can get away with one set of gear.

you need:
Clothing suitable for immersion including footwear
Buoyancy aid
Helmet

For clothing I would probably go wetsuit cag, and wetsuits boots. Long John (long legs, no sleeves) are traditional for kayakers but improved flexibility makes the extra warm of a full suit an option. A paddle suit or drysuit is a more expensive option but I find them more comfortable especially if you are wearing it all day (touring), so it depends on what you plan doing. Drysuits being completely waterproof are also much warmer (providing you wear something suitable underneath) if you plan going out in the winter (even in April and May the water can be very cold but I live in Scotland).

While the above is leaning towards WW gear I would tend towards a touring BA, the main difference being it has lots of pockets.

Don't wear cotton, you may want to have a fleece over a long john and under a cag and you and polypropylene thermals and/or fleece under a drysuit. Cotton loses all its thermal properties when it is wet and also gets heavy and takes a long time to dry. (your sweat can do this inside a drysuit and it may even start to leak)

Welcome the the paddling community have a great time.

jamiemagee
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Re: New to Kayaking... Kit - Where do I Start?

Post by jamiemagee »

As above really join a club. Sea and river paddling are looking at very different boats so finding a crossover would mean compromises for both. Borrow club boats to start and the buy sea/ river boats as you are able

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