A Beginner’s Equipment Guide

Just getting started in paddlesports? Here is a list of everything that you might need before you get started.

  • Access to a craft and paddle

  • Buoyancy Aid

  • Weather Appropriate Clothing

  • Dry Bag

  • Discipline specific equipment (e.g. a helmet for whitewater)

Safety First

Every paddler should always carry the essential safety equipment; this can minimise any risks to yourself and paddlers around you. It may seem like prices are high, however, there should be no compromise when it comes to safety from a coaching perspective. The following essential equipment and tips will ensure your time on the water is both enjoyable and safe!

Whilst we would class as essential, we feel that all users should carry the following:

  • Buoyancy Aid/PFD (personal flotation device)

  • Have the ability to communicate

  • Appropriate clothing

Before going on the water you should have a basic understanding of what you're doing, this could be anything from a beginners course through to an FSRT.

You know how to use the equipment correctly and with ease, ensuring that you don't use anything you are unsure on. Only venture out in conditions you are confident in. As a beginner, only paddle in low winds and when the water surface is not considerably affected by the weather. Gain experience with a qualified coach or another more trained paddler.


There are a range of PFD's out there, all in different shapes, sizes and forms depending on what they are intend to be use for. Companies such as Decathlon and Palm Equipment are good places to start browsing. Buoyancy aids are used for paddlesports due to their construction with some being more suitable for certain bodies of water compared to others, and many have pockets to keep your much needed chocolate bar, phone and essentials in.

Difference between life jackets and buoyancy aids