Paddles: the most personal piece of gear you'll ever own is your paddle. when you want your own paddle, get advice and get the best you can, preferably with a straight shaft. Growing? Pay a bit more for an extending shaft like the ones at the club. Talk to Mark about where to source paddles.
Helmets: should fit well so they stay in place when knocked. Going to paddle under floodlights? Get a light coloured (white) one so we can find you when you swim.
Here's some basic easy to find stuff that's a good idea to have and use.
A fairly waterproof kit bag and your own squeezy thing of hand sanitizer. If you wear spec's, a spec case so your 'Bans don't get crushed.
Towels are really useful. Some people like to have their own mat to stand on.
Your own roofrack straps are handy even if you don't have your own roofrack yet. Get good ones so you don't compromise your driver who is responsible for the safety of the load.
Keys: On string round your neck or in a waterproof pouch?
Mark is wearing the usual thin shoes so he fits in his slalom boat. Long wetsuit trousers and a thick thermal layer under his paddling cag. This is thick Gore-tex with latex wrist seals. His neoprene spray-deck helps keep him warm. He is wearing a close fitting competition buoyancy-aid and a light-weight helmet.
Connor is wearing the usual tiny shoes and boardies that give hime great contact with his very tight fitting kayak. He has on a thin wicking layer under his cagdeck. A cagdeck is a combined cag and spray-deck which is lighter and slimmer fitting than seperates, but not as warm. He is wearing a slim-line competition buoyancy aid and a light-weight helmet. He often paddles under flood-lights, so he wears a white helmet.
How safe is Connor in this minimal gear? Very safe in our opinion. He has the fitness and skill to keep moving and keep warm in cold conditions and he hardly ever swims out of his boat so leg protection is not an issue for him.
Jon has on substantial neoprene boots. His water-proof trousers and cag have seals so he stays completely dry. His buoyancy-aid has loads of pockets. Under all that, he is wearing thermal long-johns and a thin thermal tee-shirt and fleece jumper.
Jon's helmet is a bright colour so that we can see where he is as he swims down rapids. It's got great head coverage and it fits well enough to stay in place when things go wrong.
His spray-deck is seperate from his cag (ie it's not a cag-deck) because on a long day out, you never know when you might want to wriggle out of it.
Getting this gear on and off again can count as your daily 30 minutes of strenuous exercise.
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