Episode 175: Water Sports 101 with Mary Ellen Arndorfer

On this week’s show returning guest Mary Ellen Arndorfer returns to gives us the 411 on how to start enjoying water sports. Kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and surfing are great ways to play in the water and get outdoors.

I grew up in the midwest and spent time at our cousins summer home on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where we all learned to water ski. It was so much fun. I was pretty much off the water until one of the Girl Campers brought her kayak on a trip. We all took a turn around the lake in it and went out and bought kayaks. I also now own a inflatable pontoon boat that I really enjoy using on trips. I asked Mary Ellen to come on the show because she is a water safety expert with experience with all the different types of recreation water crafts. Here are a few of her suggestions.

Safety Considerations:
Check weather conditions – storm forecasts, wind advisories and water temperatures can affect your outing.
Water temperature and water conditions (water levels, currents, contamination, flooding)
Have a PFD – personal flotation device
Helmets are a necessity in white water
Clothing (quick dry, brightly colored, dress for conditions)
Carry a whistle and flashlight
Never go alone
Beginners should stay close to shore

Equipment Needed
Kayaks and paddle boards come in hard shell and inflatable
Avoid the flimsy inflatables sold at box stores and online
You can borrow or rent before you buy to see which style you like best
Consider buying used to save money

How to Learn
Group classes at outdoor retailers
Watch YouTube videos
Meet Up groups are a good resource
Go with friends

Other Gear
Gloves (prevents blisters and sunburns)
Sun Shirt (will prevent sun burn)
Paddling jacket
Dry bag for valuables (phone, car keys, lunch!)
Hat with string or clip to stay on in wind
Small soft sided cooler for drinks and snacks
Binoculars
PFD for dog

More Resources
Paddling.com
Paddlingmag.com
Canoe and Kayak Magazine
Facebook groups
Local outfitter groups