Top 15 Gifts for the Special Paddler In Your Life
Below is a list of items that any paddler would love to receive this Holiday Season. Full disclosure, the first ten items can all be purchased at TC Surfski. The last five items are items I’ve come to use and rely on (mostly for cold weather paddling) but that I don’t sell or represent in anyway.
For each of the items I’ve highlighted why I feel they are such great products.
Don’t hesitate to contact me with further questions on anything listed below
I’ll be the first to argue that when you first start paddling cadence should not be a focus. However, the reality is that at a certain point in order to get faster, you’ll need to train your cadence. Once you’ve established a solid forward stroke technique, adding cadence training is the key to taking your paddling to the next level. In my own experience, maintaining a high cadence can be as much physical as it is mental. Having a cadence sensor is a tremendous help. The odds are that your natural cadence isn’t nearly high enough and doing focused cadence sessions will take your speeds to the next level. The Vaaka Cadence Sensor is the simplest most reliable piece of technology I’ve ever owned! If you haven’t heard it yet, check out this Podcast with Vaaka c0-founder Dr Brendon O’Neil
Roughly a year ago, there was a lot of discussion within the global surfski community around quick release leashes and whether or not the additional failure point was worth the risk. The overwhelming consensus was that 99% of the time, it is not. The Mocke team responded to this and have developed an incredible leash that is super durable, longer, and with a bigger pull tab. Many would argue that a leg leash is the single most important piece of safety gear in your kit. The Mocke is by far one of the best options on the market
I absolutely love this piece. It is by far one of the most versatile pieces to add to your kit. For paddling, I’ve used mine solo, underneath a Vaikobi Vest, underneath a sleeveless wetsuit, and as a base layer under my dry suit. But don’t think this top is limited just to paddling. I’ve also used it for biking and cross country skiing. Truly a versatile piece of kit that is also incredibly stylish and flattering.
Experienced paddlers and cross country skiers know that when performing cardio sports that require a lot of upper body movement, nothing beats a vest setup for the combination of warmth and upper body mobility. Vaikobi now offers both neoprene vests as well as this new wind blocking vDry vest. Keeping your core warm while allowing maximum movement of the arms, is essential to performance with maximum comfort.
A great new look in a well proven PFD, the Vaikobi Cyan Blue / Grey PFD is making waves around the world. The latest iteration from Vaikobi adds a super soft wicking liner, slightly larger front pockets, larger hose guide tabs, and slight grey side panels
From the first day they hit the market, the Vaikobi paddle shorts have set the bar in paddling comfort. Over the past 4 years they’ve been further refined to become the ultimate paddle short for both comfort and performance. A must have in every serious paddler’s kit.
The Mocke paddling cap may well be the perfect stocking gift. This cap will keep you visible and cool while one the water. And most importantly, with the attachment clip you can be certain you won’t lose it on your next big gale force downwind run
When the temps start dropping, you’ll be thankful for the vCold Flex Vest. It can be warn as a single piece or over the top of a rash guard or base layer. Keeping the core warm is essential to being comfortable. While it may seem crazy to have bare arms, you’d be amazed at how warm the arms will stay when the core is warm and the arms are moving
The Nelo PFD is arguably the lightest and most nonrestrictive option on the market. This makes it the perfect PFD for hot climates. But what really sets it apart from the others is the strap that runs between the legs and allows you to wear the PFD loose on your chest, while also ensuring it doesn’t rise up to your chin and interfere when you need it most in the water and on your remount. If all that isn’t enough, the visibility is tremendous
The Mocke Racer PFD has been our top selling item for the past 4 years straight. This says a lot about this PFD, it is well proven throughout the world wide paddling community. The pull over design keeps it simple and allows for a massive front chest pocket where you can store a full safety kit and some snacks as well.
These booties are expensive, but they are also incredibly warm while still maintaining a low profile that works well in a surfski cockpit. Additionally, they are built with legendary Patagonia quality and Ironclad guarantee. I use them both with my wetsuit and drysuit
I live in these gloves during the winter months. The warmth the provide for a 2 mm glove is incredible. The pre-curved fingers and grip of the glove works very well on the paddle. These have truly been a game changer. I use them in temps down to around 23 degree Fahrenheit
If you’re using neoprene boots and gloves, then this dryer is a godsend. The challenge with gloves and boots is that they can get pretty rank quick. The key is getting them dried out right away so that bacteria doesn’t have time to develop. This dryer is gentle on the gear and gets the job done well.
I haven’t used this particular JBL speaker, but its on my wish list this year. Paddling with some tunes can really take your experience to another level.
Wetsuits & Drysuits
Depending on the day, I’ll use either an O’Neill Psycho Tech 4/3 Full wetsuit or a Kokatat Dry Suit. Each have their strengths, I find on mellower days I prefer the Dry Suit and on bigger days I feel safer in the wetsuit. One word of caution with a wetsuit, these are made for surfing, and aren’t reinforced in the back just above the waist, where rubbing against the back of the surfski bucket can take a toll. I suggest asking the manufacturer if they could add some reinforcement there for paddling. I would guess they might be able to.