We think not!
Living in Texas, it’s not difficult to convince someone that spring is just around the corner, but for those of you north of the Red River, yeah, not so much. Maybe if we try hard enough, we can at least convince you that it really is time to start preparing yourself and your boat for the spring paddling season. Need some motivation? Play a slideshow of your favorite paddling photographs or cut some pics out of magazines and strategically place them around the area where you plan to prep your gear. These are pleasant reminders as to why you are doing this instead of sitting on the couch.
Start with your PFD, they can deteriorate over time. Check for mildew, make sure the shoulder straps are intact, check the fabric for dry rot and make sure that the foam has not been compressed. Next, look over your paddle for cracks in the shaft or blades and other imperfections. Make sure the connection between the shafts is clean and the push-button is operational. Last thing you want is to be left stranded in open water with a damaged paddle. If you don’t already have one, we recommend you carry a back up paddle. And, of course, inspect your boat. Check for cracks in the hull especially around the scupper holes (if you have a sit on top) and along the keel line. If you do find a crack in the hull, we offer a couple of repair kit options or it might be time to get a new one — wink, wink.
Chances are, you’ll begin paddling while the temperatures are still cool, so make sure your survival pack still has everything you need in case of an emergency. While the air temperature can warm up rather quickly, the water will still be very cold and hypothermia is no joke! If you do plan to paddle while it is still cool out there, make sure you are outfitted with the proper apparel (Check out this month’s product review).
Does it still work?
Take inventory of all the gear you currently have to make sure it is in proper working order. We recommend that you set your kayak at a comfortable working level (try these Talic Seahorses) and tighten all fittings, carefully inspect all bungee, straps and fabrics for wear, make sure your rudder operates smoothly and check to see that the seals around the hatches are in good shape. If you see any rust forming around any of the bolts and other fittings, consider replacing them. Lastly, clean your boat with a mild detergent and when you are done, apply some 303 Aerospace Kayak Protectant ‑ its like SPF40 for your kayak and it will also bring its shine back to life!
Use this time to check any other gear including dry/wet suits, booties, skirts, kayak rack, tie down straps, kayak/canoe cart and anything else you typically use when paddling.
What about You?
It’s easy to focus on the material things but we sometimes forget that our bodies also need to prepare for the paddling season. If you are like me, you’ve probably already fallen off the self-imposed new year exercise routine — get back on it! Focus on exercises that will strengthen your arms and torso but also pay attention to those legs. Cardio is key when it comes to building your stamina when engaging in long paddling trips. Feeling a little rusty or want to learn some new paddling or shall I dare say proper techniques? Take a lesson or two!
Got everything you need?
Been thinking about fishing from your kayak or simply need to upgrade your paddle? How can we not promote the fact we have the largest offering of kayak accessories available anywhere. After you get all your gear in good working order, we invite you to get comfortable with a cup of hot chocolate and browse our extensive online store.
How are you preparing for the spring paddling season? Comment below, we want to know!