Safety Gear for Paddle Racing
First time doing the Carolina Cup, or any race this year? Not sure what to bring? Here’s our checklist for safety gear essentials.
All Races/All Craft:
- Leash – coiled so that it will stay out of your way and out of the water. You’ll be paddling with current and probably wind so the leash is key to keep you and your board connected. OCs and Surfskis – there are great options for leashes for you too. Boogie Board leashes work great but so does this from Mocke.
- PFD – it’s always strongly recommended that racers have a PFD on board. But, it cannot help you if you are not wearing it. For racing, we strongly recommend an inflatable, waist belt PFD, but CHECK IT OUT FIRST. Not all inflatable PFDs are created equal. Know how to put it on before you need it. Know how it inflates. Make sure the CO2 cartridge is charged.
- Phone – definitely carry your phone with you, in a dry bag or case – in the event you need help or end up aiding someone who needs help.
- Appropriate Clothing: it’s super hard sometime to dress right – the water might be cold (still in the upper 50s or low 60s) but the air temp could be warm. Think about the water temperature and how it could effect you if you take a swim. Or if it’s windy and rainy. Don’t think that’s an issue? Ask just about anyone who raced the 2017 Chattajack.
Harbor Island Race:
- Water/Nutrition – if you think you will be paddling more than an hour, consider carrying water and a bar or gel. If using a waistbelt PFD, a hydration backpack is a great way to keep water or sports drink handy, as well as snacks.
Money Island Race:
- Water/Nutrition: at 6 plus miles, you will definitely need to stay hydrated and probably need some food.
It would be easy to assume that if you are doing Graveyard, you are at this point, experienced enough to know what to bring. But, for the folks making the jump from Money to GY for the first time, we want to make sure you have your ducks in a row.
- Leash – definitely because you are in the ocean and you are going through the inlets. Being able to stay with your board is paramount.
- PFD – read above. Mason’s Inlet can be rough. Wear the PFD.
- Water and Nutrition: at least one gel packet or 100 calories every hour that you are out there. Water for at least two hours plus of paddling.
- Phone – just in case.
- Extra Paddle for OCs: many OC paddlers will carry an extra paddle attached to their ikao just in case their primary paddle is lost in a huli (capsize.)
Extras to Consider
Go ahead, call it overkill but it could save your life or your board….
- Course map if you are unsure or unfamiliar – put it in a ziplock baggie.
- Ocean racers: Personal Locator Beacon and/or a Marine Band Radio
- Puka Patches or waterproof stickers – in case you get a ding and need to plug it fast! (It’s happened racing, believe me!) Easy to slip one in a pocket.
- ALWAYS attend the racer’s meeting – no matter how many times you’ve done the course. Conditions change, sand bars shift. Be prepared!
Did we forget anything? Let us know in the comments!
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