I was recently reminded of how important it is to have the proper gear for a safe and enjoyable paddling adventure. A customer came into our San Marcos location with an amazing story of survival. While enjoying her usual kayaking route off the Texas coast, she found herself stranded in deep water. Her boat hit an object under the surface causing her to flip. Her PFD was hooked to the stern of the boat so she had to swim underwater to grab it and put it on. While she was struggling to put her PFD on, she lost both her paddle and rod. She endured six hours in the open water before she was finally rescued at 2 a.m.
I learned of all this when she came by our store to buy a new Hobie Mirage Sport. This experience also led her to purchase a few other items to ensure her safety on future voyages. To replace her current PFD, which she never wore because it was too uncomfortable, she purchased the MTI Helios Inflatable PFD. The Helios PFD offers a low profile that sits loosely around the neck and chest. It instantly inflates when you pull on the tab. Now she has no excuse not to wear a PFD and based on her experience, I’m now sure she will always wear it.
In addition she purchased a paddle leash and a rod leash. For less than thirty bucks she can be sure that she will never see $400 worth of gear sink or float away ever again.
She did have glow sticks but as a replacement she purchased the Pelican Mini Flasher LED Light which can be clipped to your hat or PFD. The light simply turns on with a twist and burns up to 120 hours and is completely submersible.
Let this short story be a reminder to all about how important it is to use your PFD and carry a few extra items that will ensure your safety. With simple precautions paddling is an extremely safe activity, but it is always best to be prepared for the worst. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot. When you visit any one of our stores or contact one of our customer service representatives, we’ll be happy to guide you on the gear you need for a safe and enjoyable paddling adventure.
I can’t tell you how many times I cringe when I see kayakers not using a paddle leash. It just seems to me that a paddle leash should be a mandatory item to have; it’s like riding a bike without a helmet. I have a paddle leash attached to each one of my kayaks.
Until I discovered paddle leashes, the thought of using them never crossed my mind. When paddling down the San Marcos River I always made sure I wore my life vest so if I flip when going down the chutes, the only items I had to hold onto were my paddle and kayak. Now with the aid of the paddle leash, I only hold onto the kayak if that happens.
For just a few dollars you’re ensuring that your paddle won’t float away if you happen to drop it. It’s great for fisherman as well. Feeling that jerk on the line and not having to worry about placing your paddle away before you begin to reel in your intended catch is a nice luxury to have.
Parents kayaking with small children have been known to drop paddles to ensure their child’s safety. A paddle leash will make it so you don’t have to save the paddle along with your child. Anyone who hits choppy water knows what I’m talking about when it comes to making sure your paddle is attached to the boat. Check out our Bungee Paddle Leash and our Coiled Paddle Leash that we have available so that you won’t be stuck on the water without a paddle.
We recently started stocking the Yak Stick which is mud stick anchor that includes an attachment point for a carabiner. The Yak Stick is 6 foot long, made out of fiberglass and is used by anglers looking to anchor their kayak in shallow water with a soft bottom. I asked one of our sponsored fishing pros to give me his take on stake out sticks like the Yak Stick.
His advice on using a Yak Stick like anchor is to use a bungee paddle leash to attach it to the boat so that it eliminates the jarring motion as the kayak pulls against the stick. Another option is to use an anchor trolley to position the kayak for perfect casting.