New Paddler needs more advice

Besides a boat, PFD and paddle what else am i going to need to get started

You’ve got the basics, but there are lots of other things most of us take with us on paddles. Additional comfort and safety items mostly. Throw bag? First Aid kit? Map/Compass/GPS? Water/Snacks? Extra paddle?

It would help us to know what kind of paddling you do. Canoe or Kayak? Whitewater or flat water or both? Day trips or extended touring? Racing or recreational?

You need…
a place to go and a way to get your boat there.

The neighborhood outfitting stores may sponsor some on-water events at which you can meet people, learn some basics and gain valuable local knowledge.

Don’t be intimidated. Everyone is just out for a good time. They will welcome you and be glad to help.


Here in bc, regulations demand you carry a spare paddle, bouyant rope(i think 30 meters but i may be off) and a bailing device(bucket or pump)and a whistle.

My day paddle stuff(going out in open water)

Boat+good paddle+pfd+neoprene sprayskirt

inflatable paddlefloat+pump(both behind seat)

rope in throwbag+spare paddle(on rear deck)

basic first aid kit in watertight box(day hatch)

drinking water(on deck)+energy bars(in my pfd pocket)

GPS-got along fine without it but a very nice toy and good for figuring out current speeds and distance traveled and of course direction and speed of travel.( clipped to sprayskirt release)

O’Neil surf hood (with nose plugs attached)-thin neoprene,very comfy. put it on if its rough enough that i think i may end up going over,or if i just wanna roll for fun.(in my other pfd pocket)

Shortie wetsuit for longer paddles.

You don’t have to bring all of this,but makes things safer and more comfortable.

whitewater kayaking
yeah sorry forgot to put that. For the most part ill just be running rivers in a riverunning kayak. I’ve done class I and II stuff before, but not in a white water specific boat… (A 14ft Hobie Odessey… that was fun)… and i really want to get into some class III and IV stuff but I didn’t know what the required gear was besides a PFD. I know to pack all of my gear for day trips and overnights and stuff but i wasnt sure about a throw rope (what is that… just a rope?) or anything else i need like that

Helmet, Whistle
plus your boat, paddle and PFD will get you started. Join up with a club and/or get lessons on boat handling, especially eddylines. Will speed up the enjoyment and safety.

Don’t carry ropes and such until you have learned/trained what to do with them. You may end up hurting them helping.

Don’t forget the water bottle, especially on hot days.


A partner
It is a must for III and IV

Don’t leave home without one, or you might not leave the river to make it home.



The big FIVE
Every time I go paddling, I count to 5 first:

  1. boat
  2. paddle
  3. PFD (NEVER on WW without it)
  4. Helmet (Ditto)
  5. Sprayskirt

    Now, for the rest of it… Class III/IV
  6. Wingman - someone BETTER than you, who’s going to watch your back (no good having someone off playing a hole while you’re swimming Class IV)
  7. Bombproof roll - In Class IV, it better be. The crude definition of Class IV is “CONSEQUENCES” - if you swim, you could get hurt or die.
  8. Knowledge - YOU must know how to get through a hole, a wave, a wave train, a ledge. More importantly, you must know how to read the water and know what you SHOULDN’T be paddling.

    Please get some training, find a buddy and stay safe! Class IV isn’t something to fool around with - it can and regularly does kill people.