Kayaking Equipment

The club has a range of equipment available for members to use on club trips. We charge £4 for adults, £2 for youth. This includes buoyancy aid, spray deck, helmet, paddle and a range of kayaks and canoes. All you need is your personal clothing, see What to Wear page.

Eventually you will probably want to purchase your own. As discussed on the "What to Wear" page do not rush out and buy equipment. When you start it will take time to work out your long term goals and what equipment will best suit these. So look around at other members gear and ask them for advice. To help you we have listed below some of the specifications (questions) you need to work out before purchasing.

South Wales Retailers

Escape Watersports, Bridgend www.escape-watersports.co.uk

Up and Under, Cardiff www.upandunder.co.uk

Ask for Club discount.


A paddle is an extension of you and hence the most important piece of equipment you will purchase. Make sure you can answer the following questions.

  1. What discipline of paddle sport. (Sea Kayaking, surfing, white water etc)
  2. Style of paddle and hence blade shape.
  3. Area of paddle blade.
  4. Length of paddle (tip to tip).
  5. Feather of the paddle (IMPORTANT: The angle each blade is offset from one another)
  6. Shaft Indexing. (IMPORTANT: cheap paddles have round shafts, indexing is an oval shaft on your controlling hand. This mean you can tell the position of your paddle when rolling etc. You need good indexing when your hands are cold)
  7. Weight of paddle. (Light is not always best)
  8. Swing weight of paddle. (If the blades are heavy the paddles will have a high swing weight and hence will be more effort to use)
  9. Material of blade.
  10. Material of shaft
  11. Do I need the convenience of split paddles.
  12. If splits, do I want to alter the paddle feather.
  13. Shaft diameter (Particularly if you have small hands)
  14. Do I want a cranked shaft.
  15. Cost of paddle.

Werner paddles have some useful design information. They also have a good sizing guide.

Spray Deck

  1. The size of the cockpit.
  2. Your waste size
  3. Material (Neoprene will give best seal and warmth but not always the right choice)
  4. Grab cord

Buoyancy Aid

Again take your time and you really need to try it on. We would strongly advise you avoid the cheapest jackets often sold with "sit on tops". Be very careful purchasing second hand as the buoyancy will deteriorate with time, especially if it has been poorly treated.

  1. Must have BS EN 393:1994 Label stating buoyancy in Newtons.
  2. EN 393 requires minimum of 50N buoyancy for average adult. For some kayak disciplines or if you are large you may want slightly more (60N to 75N).
  3. Fit. VERY IMPORTANT, does it let you move freely and breath but good fit with good waste belt so it will not rise up in the water (Ask someone to lift the shoulder straps up with some force in the shop). Like shoes, a shop visit if often best.
  4. Extra features depending on paddle sport discipline. E.g. Radio pocket (sea), rescue harness (WW), knife pocket (WW) etc.
  5. Are the shoulder straps made to allow a lift rescue.
  6. Considering coaching or long sea trips, a pocket is helpful.


Again take you time and you must try on.

  1. Helmet should be CE approved - CE1385
  2. Do you require ear protection.
  3. It must fit well. Read instructions and carefully adjust the chin strap. Then try to pull the helmet forward and push it back. If it fits well it should move very little.


Too big a topic, some information on discipline pages