One of the joys of kayaking is that you get to spend a lot of time over the waters and under the sun. Although summer kayaking paints an idyllic picture in the minds of many paddlers, it should be noted that too much exposure to the sun can be harmful to both you and your kayak. Thus, you must take the precautions necessary to protect yourself and your beloved kayak from the detrimental effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. That said, here are some tips to remember when you go kayaking this summer, from choosing the right sunscreen to choosing the best kayak sun protection or protectant and others.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
It is a fact that too much exposure to the sun can lead to a variety of health risks like dehydration, sunburn, skin cancer, and others. So be sure to keep in mind the following tips for protecting yourself from the sun, especially when you’re kayaking with kids.
Lather Up on Sunscreen
Sunscreen is the most basic form of sun protection available for the skin. You’ll want to choose a sunscreen that has a high SPF rating. Because you’ll probably get wet while kayaking, choose a watersport sunscreen so it doesn’t easily wash off. Don’t forget to re-apply sunscreen every one or two hours as well, depending on how hot the sun’s shining, and be sure to cover all the exposed skin.
Wear Sun Protective Clothing
Wearing sun protective clothing can also help to minimize exposure to the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Most sun-protective clothing is made from high-quality polyester fibers that have good UV protection properties. More often than not, these types of clothes have UPF ratings higher than fifty, which is sufficient to keep you safe from the sun.
Besides, you’ll also want to wear kayaking gloves to protect the back of your hands, as well as a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and the back of your neck from over-exposure. A pair of polarized sunglasses is also often necessary to protect your eyes and prevent the sun’s glare bouncing off the water from distracting you.
Choose Your Paddling Hours
Experts generally agree that the sun is at its strongest between 10 am and 2 pm, so you’ll want to avoid paddling during those times. Instead, schedule your trip in the early morning or late afternoon. If you’re still paddling your kayak between the said hours, be sure that you lather up on your sunscreen and wear sun-protective clothing. Installing a kayak canopy is also a good idea.
Protect Your Kayak
Protecting yourself from the sun is essential, but equally as important is protecting your kayak from harmful ultraviolet rays. Whether that’s a touring kayak, a whitewater kayak, or a fishing kayak, over-exposure to the sun will cause the colors to fade and the material to weaken. That said, here are kayak sun protection tips to help you protect your kayak and ensure that you can use it for many years to come.
Use a Kayak Protectant
A kayak protectant is pretty much like sunscreen for kayaks. It generally comes in a spray bottle and is applied by spraying it on the kayak and buffing it up with a clean rag. Kayak protectants can be applied to all types of kayaks including fiberglass and inflatable kayaks.
Besides, most kayak sun protectants can also be used on other kayaking accessories like flotation bags and others. It should be noted that these protectants only serve to block the sun’s ultraviolet rays; it does not condition or restore damaged kayak surfaces.
Don’t Store Your Kayak under the Sun
Proper storage is part of responsible kayak ownership, and one tip when it comes to storing your kayak is to not leave it exposed to the sun. This can be easily achieved by storing your kayak indoors, perhaps in your garage or in your shed. If you don’t have the luxury of space and have no other option but to keep it outdoors, try to find a shaded spot (e.g. behind your house’s wall) and drape it with a tarp or a cover.
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“Prevention is better than cure” so goes the saying. As a paddler, you can’t help but be exposed to the sun when you go summer kayaking, so the best route is to stay proactive and take the necessary precautions when you go kayaking. And remember, this does not only apply to your skin but your kayak as well. By doing so, you don’t have to worry about any sun-inflicted health hazard stopping you from enjoying your hobby, and at the same time prolong the life of your kayak so you can enjoy it for many more years.
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