Tuesday, July 7, 2015

5 Things to Remember Before You Hit The Water This Summer

By Heather Herbeck, ACA Level IV Instructor Trainer and owner and coach/trainer for "Fitness & Sport Evolution" in the Columbia River Gorge. Heather and her husband also own "Sheer Madness Productions," a film and photography company. Together, they make a priority of playing in the outdoors with whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, running, and more.

Boating season is in full swing right now. The weather is HOT, the days are long, and the water is flowing with rejuvenating waters.

Before you hit the river, here are 5 things to remember that will make your trip more enjoyable and safe.

1.  Bring your iPhone + waterproof case, or a POV action camera mounted somewhere on YOU or your BOAT. 
With all of the social media outlets these days, “if you don’t have proof (picture or video) it didn’t happen!” So make sure you have some device with you that makes sure to document your days’ adventure.

2.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. 
Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after your outdoor paddle adventure. It can be deceiving when you’re on the water, whether you’re thirsty or not, but make sure you take a couple of sips of water every 20-30 minutes. Even though we may not be sweating or thirsty, because we are in cool, refreshing water, we ARE exerting energy when we kayak.

3.  Bring your safety kit. 
Don’t rely on other people in your group to bring their safety gear. What’s in YOUR kit? Here is what I consider your safety gear:
- First Aid Kit (with all the kayak/water specific pieces included, along with sunscreen during the summer months)
- Pin Kit
- Snacks - Like a KIND Bar for “quick energy” if needed
- Throw Rope in your boat
- Knife and whistle on your PFD

4. Dress wisely.
It might be HOT, but always dress for a swim or for a rescue. Wear the appropriate shoes so that portaging or rescues aren’t done in flip flops. I have to admit, it’s awesome when the opportunity arises to wear a shorty drytop and shorts, but when I’m out paddling with my friends or paddling a challenging river, I’m always in either my drysuit or long sleeved drytop/pants and river shoes.

5. Remember to paddle with people who you feel comfortable and confident with. 
In my opinion, the crew makes all the difference in your paddling experience. Find a group that you feel pushes you, but not too much. Find paddling people who emphasize safety instead of just ‘hucking your meat.' Ifyou're with the right folks, you'll find your experience way more enjoyable and fun.

These are just a few things to remember before you head out on the water.

  • If there is NO documentation, it didn’t happen. 
  • Drink water even though you have to “de-gear” to go pee a lot and that’s really annoying. 
  • Always put safety first . . . it’s no different in kayaking. 
  • Dress for success on the water. 
  • And, find your Tribe. Paddle with people you trust and feel confidently challenged with. Find your Paddle Posse. 
Now get out there this summer, have fun and be safe!

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