The balmy temperatures that the summer months bring make this the perfect time for us to play in the water. Splashing in the waves brings a welcome reprieve from the unrelenting heat.

Whether you’re a water sports enthusiast or are looking to try a new active way to get out on the water, safety always comes first. Whenever you’re on a nautical adventure, have a PFD (Personal Flotation Device), sunscreen, sunglasses and the proper safety equipment. To maximize your enjoyment out there and to keep injuries at bay, here are a few gear items to shop for at SAIL when paddling, stand up paddle boarding, fishing and swimming this summer and beyond.




Pick the Right Kayak

A beginner-friendly kayak is one that’s affordable, reliable and easy to use. Different types and styles of kayaks serve different functions, depending on if you’re kayaking on a quiet lake, river or along the coast, and perform differently when it comes to speed and maneuverability.

In general, those new to kayaking can consider one that’s wider and shorter in length, as it provides more stability and is easier to turn, though it will sacrifice speed. Sit-on-top kayaks, instead of the traditional sit-in ones, can be more user-friendly, and are also self-bailing if you capsize, thanks to scupper holes that allow water to drain right through. Inflatable kayaks can be a good choice for beginners because they’re durable, lightweight and portable.


Pair It with the Right Paddle

The right paddle size can help you glide more effectively across the water without exhausting your arms and wrists. If the paddle is too short, you’ll be consistently hitting your hands and knuckles on the sides of the kayak. But too long of a paddle will have you exert more energy than you need, putting extra strain on your shoulders. Knowing the height and the width of your kayak will help determine the correct size and length of your paddle. Beginners can consider choosing a paddle made of plastic, as these are more durable. For less strenuous paddling, look for symmetrical blades, as it doesn’t matter which way you hold the paddle.


Put a Wetsuit On

Generally, wetsuits should be worn in water temperatures that are below 23 degrees Celsius. Aside from keeping you warm in cold waters, the thick neoprene material can also help protect your body from harmful rays. There are different thicknesses for different temperature ranges. Opt for a six-millimetre thickness for water temperatures below eight degrees, and a thickness of three millimetres for mid-season conditions with waters between 18 and 23 degrees.



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Choose Your Canoe

A wider canoe generally offers greater stability, though it may glide slower on the water. When picking one out for beginners, consider the canoe’s size, as well as the material it's made from, as they all impact a canoe’s durability, weight and maneuverability. Materials like polyethylene are more durable, as well as abrasion- and impact-resistant for someone who’s learning.


Choose Beginner Friendly Waters

To build confidence and get the hang of paddling, head to a calm lake or pond with little boat traffic. Staying close to shore where there are unlikely to be waves or currents, practice the basic strokes, like forward and backward paddling and the j-stroke to help you steer. For recreational canoeing, opt for a paddle with a shorter and wider blade.



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Dress Appropriately

For long days in the sun, opt for UPF-rated tops to provide protection against the elements. Because water can reflect rays which increases your chances of sunburn, appropriate clothing in addition to sunscreen and sunglasses can help protect you.


The Right Rods

The spinning rod is the most popular type of fishing rod among those who are just starting out. When paired with a spinning reel, this basic and lightweight setup is straightforward to use. To ensure that the rod and reel are compatible, purchase a pre-assembled combo.


Stand Up Paddle Boarding

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The Perfect SUP

A SUP should feel stable and comfortable when you’re standing up on it. Start with a larger and wider paddle board for more stability, though you may lose some speed and maneuverability. For something that’s compact and easily transportable, go for an inflatable paddle board, which can be rolled up and stowed away in a carry bag. The thick PVC construction makes it durable and impact resistant.


Wear a Life Jacket

Look for a life jacket approved by Transport Canada, Canadian Coast Guard or Fisheries and Oceans Canada. A life jacket or PFD should be form-fitting and snug without restricting your movement and offers some level of impact protection. Currents can come suddenly, so wear one even if you’re a strong swimmer, and especially if you’re somewhere there may not be a lifeguard on duty.



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Wear Goggles

Protect your eyes from debris and saltwater, which can cause irritation and stinging. A pair of reliable goggles provide a watertight seal so users can see clearly underwater and move with spatial awareness. For swimming outdoors, look for goggles that protect against UV rays and reduce glare from the sun.


This article was sponsored by SAIL


The outdoors is our passion. Wide open spaces, rugged terrain, the thrill of exploring the unknown… Shopping at SAIL is choosing to begin your expedition at a Canadian company that lives for nature adventures.