Water Sports Equipment β€” Different Types and Use

Find out which water sports equipment is perfect for your water adventure

Summer is fast approaching. What better way to enjoy summer than water sports? There are many different activities you can enjoy out there, but before getting to it, you should first know the different water sports equipment needed for the specific water sport you want to try. Having the proper equipment will definitely make your experience more enjoyable!

Since there are a lot of gear in water sports, it can get pretty overwhelming. It’s even possible that you might already have water sports gear lying around your house. You just don’t know what it’s for.

So, worry not! I am here to help you get to know your each equipment. I have broken them down into different categories – from wearable gears to boats, boards, and accessories. I will also tell you what water sport that equipment is used for and give you some important tips before you buy. 

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Wetsuit

Water Sports Equipment - Wetsuit

Believe it or not, this is essential for sports such as surfing, kayaking, jet skiing, open water swimming, freediving or any water sports that deals with water temperature ranging from 10Β°C – 25Β°C

The way that the wetsuit works is that it insulates your body to retain the body heat that helps avoid hypothermia. A thin layer of water is trapped between your body and the wetsuit. This thin layer of water is then warmed by your body temperature, which keeps you warm longer

When choosing the best wetsuit, the temperature of the water is the most important factor to consider because the thickness of the wetsuit depends on this factor. The lower the temperature, the thicker the wetsuit should be. 

The overall fit of the wetsuit is a crucial factor. Wetsuits should be as tight as possible to avoid cold water entering your wetsuit. A loose wetsuit will increase the loss of heat from your body, rather than retaining itβ€”which wouldn’t be helpful at all. 

The wetsuit should be tight around your wrists, conform to your neck, and tapered to your legs down to your ankles to ensure security and body heat retention.

Finally, the last factor to consider for this water sports equipment is what your wetsuit is made of. Rubber is the best material to be used in terms of performance, as opposed to material like neoprene. This is because, over time, neoprene soaks up water and gets heavy on the outside.

Last updated on 15/04/2021 14:05

Learn more on how to take care of your wetsuit

Dry Suit

Dry Suit

Dry suits are different from wetsuits because it keeps you dry while providing insulation, which you could have probably guessed from its name. A dry suit is a better choice than a wet suit for sports such as scuba diving, which involves even lower water temperature. 

In choosing the right dry suit for you, a it’s very important to check the zippers and the seal of the suit. Also check the fit and the material of the dry suit. These factors are important because these water sports equipment are specially designed not just for thermal insulation, but also water exclusion, which also avoids body heat loss that would lead to hypothermia. 

Like a wetsuit, the dry suit must be perfectly snug and secure around the wrists, ankles, and neck. Following the sizing chart of the manufacturer of the dry suit is a must. This is to ensure that the one you are getting is the perfect fit for you.

In terms of material, let’s get to know neoprene and membrane. Some people think that a neoprene drysuit is basically very thick. It is a waterproof wetsuit that fits really well and provides a good amount of warmth on its own. A membrane drysuit, on the other hand, is lightweight and does not have inherent buoyancy. Because it is lightweight, it does not provide warmth like the neoprene one, which means that undergarments are required for more warmth.

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Rash Guards

Rash Guard

This water sports equipment is also known as a rash vest. It provides you an added protection against the damaging rays of the sun and help prevent sunburn. Some rash guards even have built-in UV protection.

These can also be worn as an undergarment for the dry suit to add warmth. It is the perfect wearable gear for activities such as snorkeling, freediving, wakeboarding, bodysurfing, windsurfing, canoe polo, and kite surfing. 

Fit is an important thing to consider in purchasing your rash guard. However, unlike wet and dry suits that always need to be tight and secured in their fit, the fit of your rash guard can be tight or loose depending on your water sports activity. 

Again, rash guards may provide added UV protection. Some designs include Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) 50+ sun protection. If your skin is much more sensitive, it is important to consider this factor in order to prevent your skin being damaged by the harmful sun rays while doing water sports activities.

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Life Jackets

Father-Son-Kids-Life-Jacket

Life jackets are equipment usually used for canoeing, kayaking, water tubing, white water rafting, paddling, and bare-footing, to name a few. 

This equipment is a must for almost all water sports especially if you are not that confident in your swimming skills. It provides safety and as well as comfort. Even the best swimmers still need life jackets to ensure their safety.

There are different types in terms of size, which would depend on the user’s weight and age. 

The fit of your life jacket is important because it will help you keep your head above the water. Having it too big, will make the jacket ride up around and over your head. On the other hand, too small will result in you weighing the jacket down. This will prevent it from keeping your body afloat

After the size, the sturdiness of the buckles is essential, too. These will keep the life jacket secured in place to avoid its possible removal if you end up jumping in the waters, or when the waves are too strong. It is best to follow the sizing guide of the manufacturer of the life jacket and to try it in shallow water under safe and supervised conditions.

In terms of usability, it would depend on the swimming skills of the user and the activity you plan on doing. It would be among the three types – a life jacket with automatic activation, manual activation, or a standard life jacket

A life jacket with automatic activation inflates as soon as it touches the water. This is the best type for children and adults who have little to no skill in swimming. The one with manual activation is good for children over 16 years old and people who can swim. Both of these types are good for recreation and sports. 

However, the other two kinds mentioned are not designed for sports where immersion would take place, such as water skiing and white water paddling/rafting. For water sports, a standard life jacket would be the best choice as these can turn you on your back, keeping your head above water, even when unconscious.

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Personal Floatation Device (PFDs)

Restube-2

Unlike traditional life jackets, PFDs provide more comfort as they are made for constant wear. These are the perfect wearable gear when you want to try water sports that involve immersion such as white water rafting or paddling. 

The downside to these water sports equipment is that the protection these provide is not the same as life jackets because it is more difficult to stay afloat with PFDs and these generally do not help to turn an unconscious person onto their back in the water for easy breathing. 

You might ask: Why get a PFD in the first place instead of just a life jacket? PFDs provide much more maneuverability and a wider range of motion, which are necessary when it comes to sports like white water rafting or paddling than life jackets.

There is a wide range of PFDs available in various sizes, and types depending on your needs and activity. In terms of sizing, the size of your chest, and not your weight, will be considered. This is measured by taking the circumference of your chest at its broadest point. For the fit, it is best to try on a PFD while wearing the clothes you would use underneath it. You can also do some movements such as paddling while trying it on to get a feel of it. 

Lastly, test your PFD in shallow waters, such as a pool, to see how well it works and to make sure that it does not slip over or ride up while you are floating.

Last updated on 15/04/2021 14:05

Snorkel Mask

snorkelen-vissen-snorkelmasker-zee

A snorkel mask is an important water sports equipment to have when snorkeling or casual surface diving. This is because, in a water environment, everything we see is blurry. A snorkel mask creates an air pocket around your eyes or face, which makes everything clearer underwater.

In choosing the best snorkel mask, the factors you should consider are comfort and durability. I recommend buying from snorkel gear manufacturers who provide high-quality snorkel and diving equipment that guarantee comfort and longevity of the product. It is a good thing that most snorkel masks nowadays have snorkel tubes attached to them making you worry about one less thing.

Last updated on 15/04/2021 14:05

Snorkeling Fins

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Snorkeling fins are best for diving, snorkeling, and swimming as these give assistance in your leg movements underwater and it makes underwater navigation more efficient. Additionally, snorkeling fins offer you some floatation helping you stay horizontal and prevent your legs from cramping or getting tired.

Choosing the best snorkeling fins for you depends on size, durability, flexibility, and design. Pick the ones with flexible yet durable blades. Fins with medium-length blades are the best pick for beginners who wish to go snorkeling. The fit of the foot pocket needs to be a snug fit. To avoid rubbing onto the skin, It is best to wear them with neoprene socks. If you are unsure about your size, buying fins with open heels and adjustable straps is what I would recommend.

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Waterskis

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Water skiing is one of the most popular water sports. Having the best water skis would really amp up your experience in trying this sport out. However, as a beginner, choosing the right ones can be hard because of the different and numerous options. 

Skis nowadays are often made out of carbon fiber. This is wrapped around a high-density foam core that comes in different shapes, sizes, and even binding choicesβ€” which are the three main things you need to consider.

The length of this water sports equipment is dependent on your weight, the speed you prefer to take on when skiing, and the shape of the skis. Shaped skis are shorter by around 4 inches because of their increased width. 

A quick rule of thumb to follow is this: skiers weighing about 160 lbs. generally use a 66″ ski, then for every 20 lbs. added or reduced, add or subtract 2 inches in length. 

You also have to consider the shape, and the rule to follow for this is that if the edge of the skis is square and sharp, these are more stable and predictable. On the other hand, round or soft edges allow for more control over the skis during turns. 

Last thing to consider is the binding choice. Bindings that are adjustable offer more versatility because different people with different foot sizes can use them. This is often the choice for beginners. Serious skiers go for a near-custom fit binding which generally entails a tight boot-style binding. 

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Wakeboards

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Wakeboarding is quite trendy nowadays, too. It is not as difficult as water skiing as it uses a board instead of skis when being towed by a motor boat that runs at a speed of 50 km/h. 

Picking the right water sports equipment for this sport depends on your weight and style of riding. The best wakeboard size for you depends on your weight and riding style, but the most important factor to consider is the length of the wakeboard

A shorter wakeboard is easier to maneuver and spin as you go up the wake. However, shorter wakeboards need more energy in pushing through the water, making it slower in movement. This is because having more surface area the board has on water means faster movement across the surface. The decreased surface area also affects the landing because the nose of the board may tend to dig into the water.

Longer wakeboards are typically easier to ride on for beginners as these offer a more stable feel and control, so this would be your best pick if you plan on learning tricks for the first time. The downside to this is that the heavier the weight, the harder it is to maneuver in the air. Their bigger surface area also allows for quicker movement and softer landings.

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Wakeskates

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If wakeboarding feels intimidating to you, then you should try wakeskating. It is like a hybrid of wakeboarding and skateboarding. The difference is that unlike in wakeboarding, your feet are not attached to the board. In wakeskating, the water sports equipment you need to have is the perfect wakeskate. 

There’s a big variety of wakeskates in stores, but wakeskaters usually choose between wakeskates made out of wood or composite because they base it off which material would probably give them the best grip. However, water can seep into it wood which makes the lifespan of wooden wakeskates shorter. Composite wakeskates have a longer life span, and are lighter in weight. The only disadvantage is that it is so much more expensive than its wooden counterpart.

The next important thing to consider is the shape and size of the board, and those would depend on your weight. Like a wakeboard, the shorter the wakeskate, the easier it is for you to maneuver. The longer the wakeskate, the slower the speed on water.

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Wakesurfers

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Wakesurfing has been popular lately and it is something exciting to try this summer. The speed in wakesurfing is slower than in wakeboarding, making this sport more enjoyable for beginners. Trying this sport calls for a good wakesurfer that would make the experience so much more enjoyable. 

Like wakeboarding and wakeskating, your weight is to be considered when choosing the size of this water sports equipment. There are other factors that affect the size, which include the shape of the board, rocker, and nose & tail shapes. 

Bigger wakesurfers also move at a slower pace through water. This is the perfect size for beginners. These also offer more float and surface area, which makes them the best choice for heavier rides. 

Professional riders choose smaller wakesurfers as they could do more tricks on them. Smaller wakesurfers are easier to maneuver and these move faster through the waves.

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Kneeboards

Kneeboarding

Kneeboarding is a popular water sport and is one of the oldest ones, too. It is easier to get into than wakeboarding, because it does not require standing up for balance. Things to consider when choosing the best kneeboard for you include the material of the board, its fins, and lastly its rockers.

Traditional materials are often used on their boards because these cost less. These materials are foam, polyurethane, and fiberglass. Beginners and intermediate users usually go for this. 

Next is that the boards may or may not have fins. These finless boards make turning and steering this water sports equipment easier for you. 

Lastly, the rocker provides the speed of the kneeboard through the waters. A higher rocker number results in faster and more convenient turns. A lower rocker number, on the other hand, makes for a more rapid ride. 

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Stand-up Paddle Boards 

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Now, you know I am all about stand-up paddle boards! πŸ˜‰

Stand-up paddle boarding is one of the more relaxing water sports. You can go for a relaxing paddle on a lake to enjoy the scenery or catch waves in the ocean for a workout. Whatever you are going to decide, the type of Stand Up Paddling you would do would affect the equipment you need to have for this sport. 

Like the other boards I have mentioned, shape, volume, capacity, length, width, and thickness of the board are the key factors to help you decide which stand-up paddle board to choose.

For example, a board with a planing hull, which is a type of Stand-Up paddle board, is flat and wide. It can be compared to a surfboard. It is quite easy to maneuver for tricks and is really designed to ride on top of the water. These boards are good for leisure paddling, surfing, whitewater, and SUP Yoga. One with displacement hulls, on the other hand, can be compared to a kayak or canoe because of their pointed nose or bow.


Kayak

kayaking-beautiful-surroundings-1

Other than kayaking, obviously, a kayak can take you to areas where you can enjoy breathtaking views that are not usually seen from the shore. In choosing the best kayaks, the method of sitting, shape, weight capacity, length, and depth are things to consider

Kayaks are either sit-in or sit-on-top. Sit-on-tops kayaks are the type of water sports equipment that are used as recreational boats for lakes and calm rivers. Sit-in kayaks are perfect for faster water sports because these kayaks move quicker and track straight. 

The length determines the efficient cruising of the boat. It can also provide more storage space if the kayak is longer. The width of the kayak determines the stability and speed of it. Wider hulls have more stability, while narrower ones go at a faster speed. The depth of the hulls is considered in terms of your height because deeper hulls provide more room if you have long legs. On the other hand, shallower hulls are not so much affected by the wind. 

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Canoes

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Canoeing is also almost similar to kayaking. It can be a relaxing experience or an intense one if you opt to go for canoe sports such as canoe sprint or canoe polo. In choosing the right canoe for you, the length and width of the canoe help in determining the best canoe to be used. 

Canoes with lengths ranging from 16 feet to 17 feet are among the most used ones because these offer great speed, good manageability, and sufficient carrying capacity. Since these are on the longer side, it is easier to paddle over long distances and stay on course better. 

Shorter ones have less weight and are less affected by winds. These are also easier to transport and maneuver. 

For the width, generally, the wider this water sports equipment, the more stable it is. Narrower ones can slightly tilt from side to side, but these are lighter and keep on the track better.

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Inflatable boats

Inflatable Boat

The majority of water sports use inflatable boats. These are not only used for water sports activities, but are also commonly used as lifeboats. Inflatable sports boats or inflatable dinghies are of high quality and mostly used as a tender for larger boats. 

These are either made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), which is a synthetic plastic polymer that is affordable, lightweight and portable, or Hypalon, which is a synthetic rubber that provides resistance to abrasion and other mechanical wear and tear, such as chemical resistance. 

These water sports equipment also come with different types of floorings and can also be used on the sea to certain extents. Choosing the correct floor type for your inflatable boats can go a long way. Different floor types, such as a roll-up floor, hard floor, air floor, and self-bailing floor can offer you many options for mobility, compactness, and storage ease for the boat.

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And remember:

Most of the water sports equipment I mentioned is dependent on the user’s weight, overall fit, length of the water sports equipment, as well as their width and height.

Since there are quite a ton of sports out there, the water sports equipment you need to have for this summer all boils down to what activity you are going to try. You have to first go through the wearable gears, and then to the boards and boats, if applicable to the water sports activity you wish to enjoy this summer.

Whatever water sport you choose, even as a beginner, you have to make sure that the water sports equipment you are getting are the best ones for you and the best in the sport you are going to try. It might cost you some money, but, it is all worth it if these equipment would make your water sports experience a great one!

If you still need help in choosing water sports equipment, or you just wanna talk about water sports, do not hesitate to send me a DM on Facebook or Instagram. I would be more than happy to help you get into the amazing world of water sports! Also, don’t forget to leave a comment and follow us! 😊



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Review written by: Tom

Hi! My name is Tom. During the year I try to be on a paddle board as much as possible. By reading this blog you'll stay updated on everything I test on the water :)