Essential Water Sports Gear
Water Sports 101
Summer is a time for beach fun and cottage getaways, and water sports and boating are a big part of the attraction. There’s certainly no shortage of family-friendly pursuits, from leisurely pedal boating, to shooting rapids in a kayak or canoe, to wet n’ wild activities such as water skiing and wakeboarding. Storage is a consideration for larger items, as is travel (you need to get your canoe to water). Take stock of your options, and a take a family poll before making your next purchase.
Types of Gear
Canoes and Kayaks
Choosing between a kayak and canoe depends on how and where you’ll be boating. Kayaks have a deck vs. being open like a canoe, which makes them ideal in rough open water or rapids. The open canoe, however, allows you to carry much more gear for camping, fishing etc. A kayak also uses a double-bladed paddle which increases your number of strokes. So you can go faster in a kayak, and get a great upper body workout, but you might get tired quicker too. A plus on the canoe side is steering: a single paddle stays closer to hull which makes for quicker turning and less zig-zag motion. From a travel perspective, a canoe should fit on a standard flat roof rack while a kayak needs special bracket set. And if it’s fun for the whole family you’re after, even a small canoe will fit up to four people. Kayaks come in one or two-seater models, but who’s to say you can’t have two and go racing?
Inflatables are fun, practical water craft available in many different forms, from kids’ boats to water loungers to sailboats. Lightweight and easy to store, they're great for camping trips, vacations, cottage getaways or anywhere that requires you to transport your water-sports gear to and fro in the car. Inflatables are also easy to assemble and disassemble, and come in a wide range of sizes, from small single-person models to larger craft that hold several people. And for the ultimate in water fun, consider a water rocker: the big ones come with slides and water logs and can hold up to eight people.
If your cottage adventure involves a powerboat, you'll definitely want to have a selection of towables on hand to round out the experience. Towables include wakeboards, kneeboards, water skis and other devices designed to be pulled by a rope behind a fast-moving boat. As far as water sports go, these activities rank close to the top for sheer thrills and adrenaline rush. Get the whole family involved, either in the boat cheering or showing off tricks from behind.
Stand-up paddle boarding, also known as
SUP boarding or supping, brings together the best of surfing, canoeing and kayaking. To join in you'll need an SUP board, which is a specialized type of paddleboard. After launching your SUP board in the water, you step onto it and use a long paddle to propel yourself forward. Supping can be relaxing or exhilarating, depending on how fast you paddle, and it offers a great cross-training workout. And the great thing about paddle boarding is you can do it almost anywhere there’s water including lakes, standing waves and large rivers.
Pedal boats offer a leisurely way to tour the lake or shoreline. You propel the boat by pedalling it like a bicycle: the faster you pedal the faster you’ll go (and get a lower body workout to boot). Most pedal boats have a wide shape and sit low in the water, so they're difficult to tip over. This makes them a great choice for kids, non-swimmers (life jackets are a must) or anyone who doesn't want to get wet. Pedal boats are also highly versatile. You can use them in a variety of environments, including lakes, rivers and ponds. Most pedal boats seat two people, but you can find models built for solo users or up to four people.
Rafts and Dinghies
Any lakefront retreat is enhanced by a basic boat for relaxing in the water or exploring the nooks and crannies of your shoreline. Rafts and dinghies are affordable options that everyone in the family will enjoy. You can choose simple paddle versions or step up to the more elaborate motorized models. Rafts and dinghies are also great for short boating excursions or paddling out to your favourite fishing hole.
Chairs and Loungers
Water chairs and loungers are an easy way to combine the best parts of a cottage vacation: sun, water and relaxation. With some models of chairs and loungers, your body is partly submerged. Others keep you high and dry and even provide handy features such as drink holders. Water chairs and loungers score high for convenience since they store compactly and are easy to inflate and deflate.
Whenever you're out on the water, you should wear a life jacket. Also, children playing near the water should wear their life jackets. A lifejacket can keep you afloat, even in rough water. When engaging in water sports, you should always keep a first aid kit on hand to deal with any minor injuries.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.