Kayak Racing: Racing with the Best, Using the Best

When you’re in a race, you want to win, naturally. Aside from training, you’ll make sure you only have the best gear available, won’t you? You can buy some of these from stores, but it pays to know which ones would be the best.

Focusing on one or the other should give you an edge over your competitors. Here’s what you may want to take a look at:

Competitive kayaking means you’re going to have to focus on better paddling. That’s what helps you move through the water. When buying paddles, you have to take note of the blades attached to them; the larger the blades or wings, the greater the power required to row them. Think carefully before you select your paddle. Sea Kayak Explorer has put together some information that give you a better understanding of what makes a good paddle for kayaking.

There’s a slight difference between the boats recreational kayakers use and the ones used in competition. These boats are tested and researched to slice on the water with relative ease. You’re going to really have to invest in boats if you want to win the battle, but that’s not the only thing you’re going to look for.


This consist of water shoes, dry tops, helmets, and personal flotation device (PFD). These keep you safe, dry, warm during the cold weather, and a great many things. Overall, however, these gears protect you, the paddler, so it’s important not to skimp on these.

It is as much a part of the gear as any of the gear listed above. Some watches have a specialized setting that tells you the temperature; the direction or intensity of the wind; or the direction you’re going in. It’s a good deterrent from getting lost from the course and potentially losing the race.

These are only a few gears you’ll want to look at. There are a lot of preparation that goes into getting ready for a race. Only enter a race when you’re sure that you’re mentally focused and physically ready for the challenges.

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Competitive Kayaking: 5 Great Races in Kayak Style

There are great races you can do in your spare time. The greatest of these, however, is done on the water. If you’re an avid fan of kayaking, then these races might be just for you.

Some of the best races can be found in the US and in Canada, such as:

British Columbia’s Clearwater Kayak Fest

The race is held during July. It attracts paddlers from all over—not only because of the grueling race, but because of the after-party. The festival has the benefit of the great play spots located in the lower canyon.

Montreal’s Great Outrigger Challenge

Set in Montreal, Quebec, be careful not to be confused by the beautiful backdrop of the race. The competition welcomes seasoned as well as novice paddlers; a good race to test your endurance and strength. It offers seven-, 16-, and 32-kilometer courses to people who want to use canoes, rowing skiffs, and kayaks.

The Everglades’ WaterTribe Challenge

Go on this trip only if you’re really, really ready. The Ft. Desoto, Florida course is already a challenge with its navigational issues. Be aware, though, to follow the weather advisories that cancel this race, as it can quickly turn ugly.

Northern New Brunswick’s Race the Phantom

It’s a kind of endurance race that includes kayaking along with mountain biking and trekking. Teams are built of three or four people, racing from checkpoint to checkpoint. The challenge here is to keep up your endurance.

Alaska’s Yukon 1000

This race happens only bi-annually. Relive the days of the pioneers as you race from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory in Canada up to the Dalton Highway of Alaska. This race includes a mandatory six hour camping trip.

Challenges of endurance, fitness, and survival can make or break these kayak races in your favor. Be sure you’re physically fit and able to compete when doing these. A half-hearted effort will only result in a slightly embarrassing experience.

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Kayaking First Aid: Before Going on a Kayak Race…


It’s exciting to go on your first kayak race or jump into a boat initially. If you won’t prepare for it, though, you’re not going to have a pleasant time. You should really give some thought into buying safety gear for when you jump into the water, then.

Safe Kayaking

Whether you’re into competitive or recreational kayaking, do consider buying these:

  • Helmets are, first and foremost, a safety gear. You shouldn’t really look at it fashionably at first. Make sure it’s sturdy enough; the fashion bit should come after.
  • Personal Flotation Device. If it’s a type III, the better. These wouldn’t look like your typical life vest. That’s how you’re sure you’re buying a true-enough life vests.
  • Wet shoes. You can save more when you buy an open-toed sandal. For walking on the rocky surfaces of a riverbed or the unsure bottom of the sea, wet shoes are better shoes.
  • Spare paddle. This is for emergency purposes. You don’t want to get stuck up a creek without a paddle, wouldn’t you? You can also use this if you think your stock paddle just isn’t cutting it during a competition, if you like.
  • First aid kit. You never know what might happen on a river or in the sea. Therefore, having a first aid kit is a great investment in any situation.
  • Dry bag. When you’re kayaking and in the heat of the competition, you wouldn’t want the dryness of your change of clothes to be your focus. A dry bag helps you concentrate better by keeping worries like this off your mind.

Eyes on the Prize

Even if you’re a beginner or a seasoned kayaker, it would do you good to consult this list from time to time. You never know whether you’ve forgotten something, or if you need a worthy refresher course on the things to bring.

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