27 March 2008

Guide To Buying A Kayak, Canoe Or Sit On Top

What type of boat are you going to buy?

  • Kayak - good for regular use, surfing, white water kayaking & advancing skills.
  • Canoe - good for sheltered areas, overnight trips, carrying gear & white water canoeing
  • Sit On Top - good for families & kids, for occasional use in sheltered areas & surfing.

What are you looking for?

  • Stability
  • Comfort
  • Backrest (not for canoes)
  • Footrest (not for canoes)
  • Handles
  • Easy To Carry

What else do you need?

  • Paddle
  • Buoyancy Aid (essential at all times)
  • Helmet (essential, even for gentle beach paddling)
  • Wetsuit (shorty, long john, steamer)
  • Whistle (attached to buoyancy aid, for attracting attention)

Either before you buy your boat or once you have it, it's recommended to do some type of training course, covering strokes, skills, rescue techniques, safety & equipment. Click here to see a full list of upcoming kayak courses or contact me to organise a personally designed half-day or day's training.

Sport Corran Tuathail - Killarney's Outdoor Adventure Shop - stocks all types of kayaks, canoes and sit on tops plus all the equipment you will need.

Anyone buying a kayak from Sport Corran Tuathail can avail of a Half Price Kayak Lesson, run at Caragh Lake by myself or one of my team.

Top Eight Tips for Adventure Racing!

  • Lightweight Equipment
    Even the shortest adventure race will take several hours. Throughout this time any weight you can save yourself from carrying will reduce your energy expenditure and reduce your time. In general lightweight materials are more expensive and less durable but the payback comes on race day.

  • Pace Yourself
    Think about the length and duration of the races you intend to take part in. The longer the race the slower you go if you want to avoid burning out half way through. Running 10 miles in an hour is very different from covering 50 miles in 10 hours!

  • Nutrition
    During a race you keep energy and fluid levels in your body topped up. There are hundreds of products out there, from the humble mars bar to high tech energy gels and electrolyte drinks. Experiment with different products, vary the intervals you eat and drink at during training, ask others what they use.

  • Learn About The Course
    If you have done loads of hill running in the Wicklow mountains you might be surprised when you arrive in Kerry or Connemara at how different the terrain is. Try to do some training on terrain that is similar to race conditions just to ‘get the feel of it’.

  • Plan Your Transitions Carefully
    Time is often lost due to a lackadaisical approach to transitions. For those really competing or chasing fast times transitions can be where seconds and minutes are won and lost. A few minutes checking or preparing a boat, bike or even just a helmet in advance can save time in a race.

  • Clothing & Footwear
    During the event you want to minimise the number of changes you have to make to your clothes and footwear. The more knowledge you have of the course and terrain, the easier it will be to decide on what you need. Pay a lot of attention to your shoes and socks. One blister and your day will be hell.

  • Skills Practise
    More and more adventure races are including stages requiring technical skills such as abseiling, jumaring, technical mountain biking, navigation etc. The only way to become proficient is to practice. Tuition from a qualified professional instructor is often the best approach for learning and also for advice about equipment selection etc.

  • Look After Yourself
    As in any sport where the body is pushed to it’s limits, the importance of looking after yourself beyond training and racing cannot be stressed too highly. Properly warming up and down, stretching etc before and after training is vital. As is eating and drinking in the hour after a race or training session.

Written by John Healy