What shall I wear?
This is the most common question of a beginner paddler (BP – for future reference). BP intuitively feels that he/she might get wet in the water. At least most of BPs feels so. Therefore, BPs tend to prefer materials that get dry quickly or that keep them warm even when wet. The first group includes synthetic materials. More advanced and more fanatical paddlers prefer the second group which includes functional thermal basic layers and neoprene wet suits.
A basic layer will keep you warm, but we recommend bringing more then one of them, as you can always wear a dry one combined with a fast-drying top layer that will protect you.
What if a flip over and swim? Do I really get wet?
YES, but don’t worry. During the training it’s ok, as long as you’re moving you’ll be warm. And as a BP, there is no reason to linger around. However, it’s important to pack a set of warm and dry clothes that you will change to at the end of the training.
What shoes do I need in the boat?
This is an important question, the shoes you’re wearing should have shoelaces and a solid shoe sole. In case you swim you need shoes that will protect you, provide you stability on the rocky river bottom and that won’t swim away. Old sneakers will do the job. We recommend wearing warm socks (woolen or neoprene one keep you warm even when wet). You can bring more pairs as the shoes usually won’t get dry but it’s quite pleasant to start with dry socks at least 🙂 If you want to invest in the sport already, you might consider neoprene boots as well.
We really do not recommend sandals. They won’t protect you and most probably you’ll destroy them while trying to escape the boat or they just swim away.
Whatever you choose, be prepared that your shoes and socks will really stink, so try to find some older pieces or get a really cheap ones 🙂
What do I do with all the wet stuff after paddling?
The best is to get it dry 🙂 If it’s sunny you’re lucky but still it’s good to bring a few clothes pegs or a hanger – you’ll always find a piece of clothes-line or a tree to hang it on. For transport it’s useful to have a waterproof bag (big blue IKEA bags are not bad 🙂 but normal plastic bag will do the job if you need to put your wet clothes into a backpack).
Why do I need a helmet and a life jacket?
This one is a simple one. Because it saves your life. And it protects you from injuries (river bottoms tend to be quite rocky and currents strong, or you can hit overhanging branches…there are several hazards to choose from :)) An additional bonus is that both keep you warm.
What shall I do if I wear glasses?
If it is essential for you to wear them then we strongly recommend purchasing a grip cord that will keep them on your head. A well proven alternative are contact lenses.