Kayaking Gear Tips

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The Main Purpose of Kayak Rudders

Most people think kayak rudders are used to make turns with the kayak. While using a kayak rudder will drastically improve a sea kayak's maneuverability, turning a kayak is not the rudder's main function. Rather, the main purpose of a kayak rudder is to help the kayak "track" straight.

Under calm conditions, it is fairly easy to keep a kayak moving in a straight trajectory without the aid of a rudder. When it is windy, even slightly, or when there is current in the water, it can be brutal to keep the kayak tracking straight. It is under these conditions that a kayak rudder comes in handy and will eleviate you having to paddle on one side more than another.


Storing Your Kayaking Gear

It is quite common to not give any thought to storing your kayaking gear. Most people just throw it somewhere in their garage and gather it back up the next time they need to go kayaking, hoping they can find it all and that it is still in working condition. While this may be the norm, there is a better way.

Before storing your kayaking gear, be sure it is dry and clean from debris. Storing gear while it is still wet is a sure way to secure a funky smell for your future kayaking trip. A laundry rack, a clothesline, or hooks in a garage are a good way to hang your stuff up. Once your kayaking gear is dry, fold it up compactly and place it in either a duffel bag or a Rubbermaid that is big enough to fit all of the gear you use each time. Most kayakers have a slew of extra kayaking gear that they don't use regularly or are just extras. This should be placed in its own storage device for easy retrieval.

Storing your kayaking gear in this way will help ensure that you don't forget anything on your next trip. It will also save you money in the long run by preserving your gear for longer and by protecting it while it is stored.


New Kayaking Gear vs. Used Kayaking Gear

Getting into any sport can be expensive. Kayaking is no exception. Getting fully outfitted with new kayaking gear can easily come with a price tag in the thousands. Used kayaking gear on the other hand can be acquired for just a few hundred dollars. So which is best?

The decision to buy new kayaking gear instead of used kayaking gear, or vice versa, is dependent on a host of factors. Of course price is a major concern. The condition of the used equipment is an important thing to check out. Also, the age and features of the used kayak and gear should come into play. Ultimately, if you find some used gear that is significantly cheaper than buying new, if it is in good shape, and it is not too outdated or missing any of the latest innovations then you should buy used.


The Anatomy of a Kayak Paddle

It is important to understand the anatomy of a kayak paddle in order to learn proper stroke technique, paddling form, and paddle placement. Unlike a canoe paddle, kayak paddles have two blades connected by a shaft. The shaft is the part you hold and the blades are the parts that you pull through the water.

Kayak Paddle Blades

The side of the blade that pulls against the water is known as the face of the paddle. Each blade face is usually smooth and curved in toward the direction of pull. Blades can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical. A symmetrical blade has the same shape on the top and the bottom. An asymmetrical blade is usually straight and longer on the top and then tapers down to the shorter bottom.

Kayak Paddle Shaft

Most people don’t realize there are design features to the shaft of the paddle. A kayak paddle shaft can be one piece or two pieces. On a two piece paddle, there is a ferrule system that connects the pieces of the shaft together. The ferrule system usually includes a button on one side of the shaft that gets depressed and fits into a hole in the other side of the shaft. Kayak paddle shafts often have an ovular shape to them in the area where the control grip takes place. Finally, some kayak paddle shafts have drip cups on them to keep the water from dripping down the paddle. These are also used to mark hand placement.

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