Getting Dressed for Greek Sea Kayaking with Bomber Gear’s Solar 50 Rash Guard

After leaving for Greece just under a month ago to undergo an exciting sea kayaking adventure vacationCutter Aquatics paddling instructor, Barbara Cutter, reports back with intel on her experience with Bomber Gear’s Solar 50 Rash Guard.

Dress for Your Environment

Have I mentioned that in June it is hot in Greece? Not hot like Texas, the humidity is much lower so you don’t sweat just stepping outside. If fact, in Greece we live outside. It’s just 50 yards from our blue front door to the blue, blue sea, there is always a light breeze and the nights cool down, so sipping a Mythos (local beer) at the sidewalk Taverna is a perfect after dark pass time. But I digress. I was talking about heat and what to wear while sea kayaking.

Solar 50 Rash Guard
Barb Cutter wearing Bomber Gear’s Solar 50 Rash Guard

To my paddling customers visiting Greece I always recommend wide brimmed hats and loose fitting long sleeved shirts to protect from blazing sun, but what I say and what I do are different. I put on poly shorts with a sleeveless top, slather on SPF 30 and don my Cutter Aquatics cap. It’s my Greek paddling uniform. Truthfully, I put off trying out the Bomber Gear Solar 50 Rash Guard that Joseph at ACK asked me to pack for Mediterranean paddling. I thought it would be too hot.

Wrong! This shirt is made of comfy, comfy fabric. The seams are nice and flat and the shirt feels wonderful under my lifejacket. It never felt sticky when I was wet and it dried very quickly. I got a couple of compliments on the color, too. Who says gray is boring? With the teal stitching it is a great combination.

Understanding the Sizing for the Solar 50 Rash Guard

The big question is fit. How do you like to wear your shirts, ladies? I usually buy size large these days. I have a good sized frame, broad shoulders and an aging middle. The collar, neckline and sleeves of this shirt felt very good, but for a size large, I think it should be just a bit broader through the shoulders and, frankly, I need more room in the waist.

Take a look at these pictures:

The first is of a woman who usually buys size Small clothing. I think the shirt looks great on her, but I understand that Bomber Gear may think rash guards should fit snugly under a wet suit or PFD.

The next photo is a young woman who is a competitive cycler and very fit. She buys Medium sized clothing almost all of the time. I think this is a good fit. Shoulder seams look like they are in the right place, too.

Sadly, the final shot is me. I’m starting a diet just as soon as I finish all this great Greek souvlaki (skewered chicken, beef, lamb or pork served with tzatziki, wrapped in a fresh pita) and Mythos!

 

 

 

 

 

Vanguard Spray Skirt Undergoes Greek Sea Kayaking Trials

Flying Dolphin
The ‘Flying Dolphin’ in Greece.

Cutter Aquatics paddling instructor, Barbara Cutter left for Greece just under a month ago for a sea kayaking adventure vacation. With her she brought a few new pieces of gear from Adventure Technology and Bomber Gear such as the Vanguard Spray Skirt and thought she’d share how it performed. 

Tales of a Travelling Sea Kayaker

Traveling to Greece is no picnic. It’s a nine-plus hour flight from DFW to the chaos of London Heathrow, 4 more hours to Athens airport and then you’re met by blast-furnace heat outside of baggage claim. Cross your fingers that the A-C will be working on the X96 bus to the Port of Piraeus or sweat for an hour and a quarter. Now drag the suitcase, balance the paddle bag and sling the daypack aboard an odd-looking water taxi that the Greeks call the Flying Dolphin. In just one more hour you can disembark on Poros Island totally jet-lagged. But waking up the next morning to a sea kayaker’s paradise to totally worth the effort.

My first morning on Poros I’m invited to join a group of six Brits and Scots finishing a four-day BCU Three Star training. I am promised that we all speak the same language, but it is hard to tell at first. We laugh at all the accents and different terms we use. “Fit your buoyancy aid (lifejacket);” “Tuck up that spray deck (skirt),” they say.

Breaking Out the Vanguard Spray Skirt

Poros Bay, Greece
Poros Bay, Greece

They admire the Bomber Gear Vanguard spray skirt that I’ve brought along and I am thrilled with the wide “hook & loop” band on the neoprene tunnel. It is nice and wide with durable pull-tabs that adjust easily for a really comfortable, snug-as-you-like fit. Another feature I discover on this cool new skirt is a very handy slide release buckle on the grab loop. Our BCU coach, Brian, is a bit of a safety nut (a good thing) and makes sure that everyone tucks up the decks of their spray skirts into a strap or something on their lifejacket. When out of the kayak this keeps you from tripping over unseen rocks and such. The extra little strap and buckle on this skirt is perfectly suited to this safety practice and will also make it easy to hang the skirt to wash and dry later in the day.

Before leaving Texas I worked with Joseph at ACK to choose the correct spray skirt size for the large cockpits on our Rainbow Oasis boats in Greece. XL seems like a good choice. It snaps easily onto the stern cockpit of the big tandem boat I’m assigned with my buddy. We launch out into the blue, blue sea and follow the 3-star candidates to the Poros lighthouse.

Paddler's picnic in Greece
Paddler’s picnic in Greece

By lunchtime we have reached a beautiful beach on the far side of the island and there are a few scrubby trees under which we can find some shade. While others dig into dry bags for lunch I grab one of the solo boats to try some rolls. The spray skirt fit so easily onto the cockpit combings I want to make sure it is snug enough to keep out water while upside down. Besides, the heck with shade trees, the water is absolutely the best relief from the heat.

Admittedly I am surprised but the cockpit stays dry. The roll trials were great. Now everyone wants to try and we spend the next hour working with lots of different folks to learn to roll. There is success all around. This beautiful clear water with the sandy bottom turns out to be a better teaching space than a Texas swimming pool and Greece is a perfect place for a picnic after all.

Vanguard Spray Skirt
The Bomber Gear Vanguard Skirt

 

Sea Kayaking Goes Greek with Paddling Instructor Barbara Cutter

Five days and counting until καγιάκ περιπέτεια! (Kayaking adventure in Greek of course :-))

Airline Tickets ✓
Seat Assignments ✓
Ferry Tickets ✓
Awesome ACK Gear  (Bomber Gear Solar-50 Rash GuardMandala Print K-Bomb Spray Skirt, and an AT Quest Paddle) ✓

It’s time for Cutter Aquatics paddling instructor, Barbara Cutter, to head out for the twelfth Cutter Aquatics Greek Adventure Vacation – Sea Kayaking in the Mediterranean.

Paddlers on a past trip to Greece.
Paddlers on a past trip to Greece.

Barb has been guiding paddling trips close to home and around the world since 2004. Destinations range from exploring the swampy bayous of Caddo Lake and Steel Magnolias trips down the Cane River in Natchitoches, LA to New Zealand, Scotland and, of course, Greece. Every year Poros Island has draws kayakers around the world back to the cerulean blue waters of the ancient Hellenic Republic, rich with history and culture, lively music and dancing and, of course, a magnificent and fresh cuisine.

Barb in one of her sea kayaks.
Barb in one of her sea kayaks.

An Instructor Trainer Educator for the ACA in Coastal Kayaking, River Kayaking and Canoe and Stand-up Paddleboarding, Barb enjoys leading paddlers, who have a passion for sharing the skills of the sport, through methods of teaching and coaching that will encourage people from all backgrounds to experience life on the water.

ACK is excited to have such an expert sea kayaker  reviewing some of our most popular gear. Stay tuned for updates from Poros, Island Greece, to see what Barb and her sea kayaking clients like most about the gear.

Do you take paddling vacations? We want to know! Comment below with your top destinations for paddling getaways.

Taylor Cavin Reviews The Bomb Dry Top

This blog was originally published by Team Bomber member, Taylor Cavin at Bomber Gear’s news site featuring the Bomber Gear Bomb Long Sleeve Dry Top. Might be hard to believe that fall begins in just a couple of months so yeah, time to start thinking about cold weather paddling!

This season I have had the pleasure of using The Bomb dry top among other Bomber Gear products.  There are several well thought-out details in the design and manufacture of the dry top that I really appreciate.

The cut:  At 6′ 0″, I use The Bomb size large, and I feel that the overall fit of the dry top is nice and roomy.  This makes for uninhibited range of movement in the upper body when paddling.  The spacious cut of the dry top also allows the layers worn underneath to stay lofty and keep you warm.  If you’ve ever had your dry top “shrink-wrapped” to you from going deep, you know that without loft you can get cold even when dry.

The gaskets:  The wrist and neck gaskets used in The Bomb dry top have an abrupt taper to them (more cone-shaped than funnel-shaped).  This enables the gaskets to keep water out, but allow for unrestricted blood circulation to your hands and brain (important)!  Most brand new dry tops are uncomfortably snug in the gaskets, prompting the user to either trim or stretch them, but not so with The Bomb.  The neoprene cuffs and collar that cover the wrist and neck gaskets are also easy to get into, but help keep out the most swash-buckling dousings from the river.

The material:  The outer shell of the dry top beads and sheds water like a duck’s back.  Not only does The Bomb keep the paddler dry, it pretty much keeps itself dry.  This helps the dry top stay lofty and keep the paddler’s strokes from getting bogged down with water-weight.

These features add up to make the best dry top I have used in ten years of paddling.  Try it out for yourself and you’ll see that they don’t call it “The Bomb” for nothing.

@austinkayak Great review on the Bomb dry top from @bomber_gear, http://ow.ly/cehwH

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