15th February 2023 / Tips

Winter Shakedown

If you’re one of the few who have sat indoors all winter, you missed out on some wonderful days of blue skies, mild temperatures & perfect sea conditions. Winter offers some of the best sea kayaking available with empty waterways, less traffic, empty (ish) carparks & generally quieter paddling conditions all round.

But never fear couch potatoes, the 2023 paddling season opens soon & we all need to be ready for it!

Dry Suits
Lubricate all the zips & check your seals for any perishing; use 303 (brand) Aerospace Protectant UV protector. Apply as needed with a soft cloth, inside & out & allow to dry. This will keep the rubber seals soft & pliable. Remember, always rinse all of your gear in fresh water after every use!

Outer Layers
Rinse in fresh water with a capful of Milton to kill bacteria & odours. Hang to dry & store in a cool, dry place out of direct sun.

Buoyancy Aids
Lubricate all zips & do a thorough check for damage (tears, cracked buckles etc.). Check that all of your safety gear attached to your buoyancy aid is secured with a lanyard & that lanyards are not damaged.

Safety Gear (on your buoyancy aid)
Replace batteries, lubricate seals & ‘O’-Rings with vaseline, use a good quality silicone oil on all of your Kraken carabiners & quick release mechanisms. Blow your whistle & aim your reflective mirror (heliograph), check the settings on your radio. 

Safety Gear (general carry)
Open your grab bag & pull everything out, check it all for damage & wash any clothing. Replace food items & check your bothy if you carry one. Open your first aid kit & ensure everything is still fresh and there is no contamination or moisture ingress. Replace as needed. Check your flares (piro) to ensure they are all within date, lubricate the cap seals & replace any as needed. Check all plastic clips on all of your deck & cockpit bags for cracks & damage & replace as needed.

Safety Gear (carried on your person)
Open your Tow System, checking the tow line for fraying or any other damage. Check your Kraken carabiners for damage & lubricate with silicone oil. Set your lengths (short & long tows) with a daisy chain & secure with a slip knot.

Sea Kayak
Check the deck lines around your Sea Kayak for fraying. Check R.D.F.s (recessed deck fittings) for cracking, unscrew, lubricate & retighten (careful NOT to over tighten). Lubricate skeg wire with silicone oil & replace (or fit) a skeg pull (hole drilled in skeg blade with a small loop of deckline or chord). This will allow clearing of your keg on the water. Check all hatch covers for splits & perishing. Check seat & foot pegs for damage. Repair and damage to gel coat cracks.

It’s likely I’ve missed something & if you’ve found it, great! That shows you’re comprehensively checking your gear. It’s a pleasure to get all of your gear out in the winter sunshine & check everything. As I write, the outside temperature is a balmy eleven degrees celsius with a beautiful blue sky & glorious sunshine; perfect conditions to daydream of your paddling adventures ahead while running through your gear.

Should you have any question, check out our other BLOG Posts or just telephone NOMAD Sea Kayaking on 01473 - 375 026 during business hours (9-5pm) with any question. We’re always happy to advise & help.

Kraken On!!

Coach & Lead Guide with NOMAD Sea Kayaking.
Kurt Finch

Since surfing with the pros as a kid in Durban South Africa on my hollow 12ft barge & getting absolutely trashed, I was hooked on sea paddling. Over a period of forty-two years I’ve surfed, white watered & sea kayaked in locations around the world. I've guided as a full-time professional for the past nineteen years & my journey continues.