Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's HOT! Swim with your kayak!

That's my gloved hand on the tail end of my Maelstrom Vital 166.

Wow! It's way too hot around here in the National Capital Region of Canada (Ottawa/Gatineau) and lots of other places. We're in a heat wave. I would call it an oven! A sauna!

The only place to hide is in some cool water, air-conditioning, the woods, a cave, or in a friend's basement.

This isn't weather that motivates me to head out to paddle unless I can jump out often and swim with my boat.

How to Stay Cool with your Kayak!

Swim with it. It's fun
Why should your kayak have all the fun. It's in the water. You're not!
I'm swimming with my boat in a pretty little lake in Canada and loving it. But I don't want it to get away.

Come back here kayak! Wind takes it away quickly when I snap a shot from the water.
Although, when you jump overboard intentionally to cool off and start snapping shots from the water, your paddle buddy may ask . . . "What are you doing now . . . !?" People on the beach wonder if you need help. I just hope they get used to me.

Then I Cowboy Scramble back into my kayak. It's so easy for me now. I do it just about every time I paddle or five or six times per paddle if I need to hop out and cool off.
Some people roll to cool off, that's great!

Balance brace your kayak

This is something I just learned a few days ago from a local Greenland roller and kayak instructor and I love it! Here's the link to the video of me practising the balance brace in my Maelstrom Vital 166.

I find it relaxing, fun, and a great way to cool off.

When you balance brace (if you are flexible enough), it allows you to stretch out your body without getting out of the boat. You can gain tremendous confidence in yourself, your body, and your boat handling skills, especially if you are still "Rolling Challenged" like me, or if you don't like the feeling of being upside down in a kayak.

Don't worry if flexibility is an issue. Be patient with yourself and work on things slowly. Don't force what's not there. Your right side may be awesome! Your left side efforts may feel like it's not your body at all! Yes, that's me.  Even if you do yoga!

Wear rash guard, (get it wet before paddling), a hat, and lightweight paddle gloves

When it's hot and sunny, I do the opposite of most people, who paddle in swim suits and T-shirts!

I wear a white and pink long-sleeve, crew neck, UV Rash Guard and swim in the water while wearing it to get it wet before I paddle. It feels good! I do this in lakes and rivers. In the summer, I don't paddle water I don't consider clean enough to swim in. Although, I wouldn't wet my shirt in salty sea water. The salt is drying to the skin. On some river paddles with questionable water, I wet my long-sleeve rash guard with tap water or an extra bottle of drinking water before paddling.

This keeps me cool, comfortable and protected from the sun for an hour or two before the shirt dries and I need to cool off in the water again.

In this grueling heat, a paddle buddy complained about being too hot paddling in a T-shirt! And he could roll.

The next day I said, "Go to the paddle shop and get yourself some long-sleeved Rash Guard with a crew neck. I'll show you how to stay cool in this heat."

Sometimes on hot days, you are in long stretches of river water that is too shallow to swim or roll in, has too much current to dunk into, has unfriendly shorelines, or is too rocky to get out and swim or roll in.

You need another way to stay cool when paddling.

The hot sun hitting your skin or a cotton shirt is not the way to do it. And paddling in soggy, baggy cotton is not comfortable.

In the summer heat in Canada, and especially when I paddle heat I can't stand in Florida, I wear long sleeve Rash Guard with a crew neck. What's that? 

Rash Guard is great gear for paddling made out of Polyester and Spandex and has UV protection from the sun. I like the long sleeve shirts that fit like a body glove. The shirts have flatlock stitching that doesn't rub on my skin while paddling and are very comfortable and cool.

I've worn the same pink and white long-sleeved Rash Guard for 5 years. It still looks good and is performing well. I've washed it more times than I can count and it hasn't worn out or needed any mending. It dries quickly and doesn't pick up odours quickly or easily. There are several brands to choose from.

What did my paddle partner say the next hot summer paddle while wearing his new white long-sleeved Rash Guard? "Hey, this is amazing! It works."

Make sure to buy a light color for summer. The bugs are attracted to dark colors and light colors attract less sun. A light color makes for a winning combo!

I always wear a hat - it's amazing how many people don't. Sometimes it blows off and I have to retrieve it. A paddle hat that you can dunk and wet in the water can keep your head cool. I've learned to remove my sunglasses before I put the soaking wet hat back on my head though.

Paddle Gloves - I've taken the habit of wearing lightweight neoprene paddle gloves in the hot summer to keep the sun off. The gloves stay wet when I paddle, keep my hands cool, and prevent a nasty sunburn.

You can pick up a lot of sun on your hands year after year. Waterproof sunscreen only goes so far, and I don't like it on my hands when I paddle.

If I want to catch sun, I wait until I hit a beach and can get it evenly in a swim suit.
Sitting in a boat only gives you odd burn lines!

I hope you manage to stay cool and hydrated! It's way too HOT!
Yep! It's another bad hair day when your hat blows off and you practice balance bracing!

Happy paddling!
The BaffinPaddler

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