Kicking things off – new season sit on kayak checklist

For many the start of April 2017 has been a goody weather wise. There’s been sun aplenty and oodles of opportunity to get out for a scoop. As Easter Bank Holiday weekend approaches if you haven’t yet dusted down your gear, following winter hibernation, then now’s the time to do.

But before heading onto the water it’d be worth giving everything a once over and making sure yoru kit is in good working order. Here’s the Sitons new season check list.

Boat

Check for any cracks or holes in the boat’s hull. You may have to get up close and personal as they’re not always immediately obvious. If spot fractures then get it repaired ASAP.

Bungs can fail over time, or at least the seal. Best to replace if they’re showing age and avoid your SOT sinking – or at the least filling with unnecessary amounts of water.

Give your hatches a once over. Lids may not be as secure as they once were so good make sure these are nice and tight – especially if you’re consideringcarting essentials along during soirees.

Replace frayed and tattered bungee cord in fore and aft tank wells. Same with paddle keepers. You’ll kick yourself if your ‘engine’ decides to go walkies following bungee malfunction.

Note any wear and tear with D-rings and other fixture/fitting points. It’s unusual but replace if looking likely to fail. Also remove any grub/salt corrosion.

If your kayak seat is looking less than up to the job it may be time for a replacement. Don’t scrimp on this as comfort isn’t overated.

Paddle

Scrutinise your paddle’s shaft and blade closely – especially the shaft. Hairline fractures may be hard to spot but if you do then great. Better that than having a paddle snap while out for float.

For those owning paddles with moving parts (adjustable feather/length) ensure all grime and muck is removed.

If you’re still paddling with a cheap alloy type then consider 2017 the year to upgrade. We’ve banged on about paddles and how they’re the most important part of your set up for ages –  it’s still true!

Wetsuit/drysuit

Give your wetty and/or drysuit a thorough inspection. Check for holes, nicks and seal/stitching failure. If your wearables are looking sorry then it could be time to replace.

The same for booties/gloves and all other garments – base layers for instance.

Buoyancy aid/PFD

Your floatation aid is extremely important so pay it due attention. Many paddlers keep hold of the same BA/PFD for years, when in actual fact they could’ve used an upgrade.

If you’re considering hitting spots designed with upping your level in mind then make sure you’re wearing the right float coat for the job in hand. All BA’s/PFD’s have ratings and describe what environments they’re good for.

Other bits

If you use a VHF then it’d be worth checking it’s in good working order and your license is current and up to date.

Anyone carrying additional safety equipment, such as flares, should inspect to ensure good working order.

Helmets need integrity to be fit for purpose. Checking and swapping for something new if cracked is best practice.

Drybags, that have had tons of use, need to be given attention. There’s nothing worse than having your dry gear sopping upon arrival at your destination. Maybe replace if showing wear and tear.

The above are just a few points of what you should be looking at before embarking on another season of paddling. It may take a bit of effort to sort out but trust us when we say it’ll be worth it in the long run. Feel free to let us know what checks you undertake prior to going afloat.

Related reading: Palm Alpha bouyancy aid

Related reading: First look: Palm Cascade & Palm Spark Dry Suits

Related reading: Tootega Pulse 120

Related reading: Fatyak Kaddy

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