Kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding are excellent activities that get you into the outdoors, provide you with the opportunity to take in gorgeous scenery and wildlife viewings, and give you a great workout.
For beginners just getting started, however, the gear can be a pretty significant investment, with the main equipment and paddling accessories often costing several hundred dollars all the way up to the thousand-dollar range.
Those committed to paddlesports can certainly justify that expense; they’ll use the gear on a regular basis for years to come. But it’s normal to have an aversion to plunking down hundreds -- or thousands -- of dollars for a sport you’ve never even tried.
So how does one dip his or her toe into the world of paddling without breaking the bank? Check out our tips below for easing into paddlesports:
- Get together with family and friends. Did you become interested in paddlesports by hearing about them through family and friends? Do they have the knowledge and the gear to help get you started? Well, look no further than this option. Talk to your family or friends about trying out the sport and giving it a little test run. If they’re regularly involved with paddlesports, it’s likely that they’ll be more than willing to help out. After all, they’ll be out on the water anyhow, and this gives them an opportunity to bring another paddlesports companion into their network. It’s a win-win.
- Go the rental route. While prices can vary greatly depending on which gear you’re renting and for how long, you can expect to pay from $9 to $60 and up to rent paddlesports equipment. Consult your local DNR (or Google!) to find paddlesports liveries and outfitters in your area. In addition, you may want to consider hiring an outfitter or expert in paddlesports to show you the ropes.
- Seek out used gear. Sources like Craigslist often have plenty of gear available for the entry-level paddlesports enthusiast. Proceed with caution, however; no guarantee comes with this used gear. If you’re considering purchasing second-hand gear from the classifieds, try to recruit a friend or family member who is experienced in paddlesports help you to make a smart buy.
- Where to paddle. You can visit the Professional Paddlesports Association website to find great places to paddle in your region, or plan a vacation around this amazing sport.
- Stewardship. Always leave an area as pristine as you found it. Be sure to take your trash with you, to never damage local vegetation and never harass or kill wildlife. This is good practice for conservation and a good way to keep you out of trouble with the law.
If, after getting your feet wet in the world of paddlesports, you’re ready to take the plunge into the investment and ownership of paddlesports gear, visit your local Bass Pro Shops. Our knowledgeable and passionate staff members can help set you on the right course when it comes to paddlesports gear.