Women Boaters Discussion Group - Page 5
Devon Barker on the Salmon River ©Josh Davis
Laura: NRS has really stepped up to offer more products for kids, especially ones like HydroSilk, to cover their skin for sun protection, and in cool colors so they’ll want to wear them. We’ve heard comments about the Youth Vista PFD that kids think it’s cool to be wearing a life jacket that looks like Mom and Dad's. And of course it’s important to be cool when you’re a kid.
And when we use pictures of kids, whether they’re boating, or on shore near the water, we only use photos of them in life jackets, doing our part to educate. And we have articles online on Kids Safety and Boating with Kids which give some good tips.
Devon: On getting your kids into kayaking: right now Jackson Kayak has the smallest boats for kids. I highly encourage parents to get the kid a kayak but hold-off on getting a sprayskirt. Let them use it as a “pool toy”, letting them jump in and out of it, turn it upside down, turn it into a cave, play around in the pool, in a lake and then move to easier rivers, long before you put them in a skirt and they learn to get out of the boat with the skirt on. Kids will do it right a hundred times and then they’ll go upside down unexpectedly and they’ll panic and forget to pull and try to worm their way out. So, what’s good to do is when you do start a skirt, get a rec deck that has a real loose tunnel. Then if they do panic upside-down, they can easily slide out of the boat. You don’t ever want them to have a bad experience at this early stage of their paddling.
Donna: I think IKs are a great way for kids to get comfortable paddling, too. I went on an all-women rafting trip last June that included several teenagers and littler girls. The little girls spent a lot of time getting cozy with the IKs on that trip – they even ate, read and slept in them!
e-News: When you’re outfitting kids, what do they really need in the way of gear?
Laura: They need the basic things that adults need: the PFD and protective clothing. Helmets are very important, and kids my son Finn’s age are used to wearing helmets for biking and other sports, so that’s frankly not an issue for them.
Jenni: And Werner makes paddles for kids – the Sprite and Amigo Youth models.
e-News: What about color of women’s garments? I’ve heard from some of you that some women like feminine colors and some prefer more neutral, less “girly” ones.
Ashley: Some women do like the pink. Lots of laughter. I like the purple.
Jenni: Just looking at the sales numbers, the pink is the most popular HydroSilk shirt. Women seem to love it.
Devon: Everything I have is pink!
Jenni: Also, the purple is popular. The pink is a bright color and perhaps it’s looked on as a more visible, safer color. Or maybe it’s just that it’s: “It will go with the pants I have.”
Keli: Women like choices, but you need a balance of light and darker colors. You get women from the South who want the lighter colors because the sun is intense and light colors aren’t as hot to wear. There’s a sacrifice you have to make with the lighter colors showing dirt, but it’s important to have the option for the warmer climates.
Devon: Pink is my favorite color, but even if it wasn’t, I’d still use a pink boat and apparel, because we’re in a male-dominated sport. If I’m not in pink, watchers don’t know that I’m a girl. I was just in the huge Santa Cruz surfing festival, out there in my pink boat. I dropped a really big wave, one of the best ones in the competition. A fellow came up to me afterwards and told me that a guy next to him said, “Look at that guy out there in that pink boat. He really rips!” So if the whole world, even if you’re in a pink boat, is still thinking you’re male, it’s all the more reason we should all be out there in pink!
Ashley: I’d even be willing to wear pink, just for that!
Devon: It is important to get folks attention that “Hey, it’s not just this men’s club out there.” That’s why I do it.
e-News: Great! We need to end it here. Thanks to all of you for giving your time to this discussion. Here’s wishing you all a fun and safe boating year.
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Feedback from our Readers including our Responses
Win – Massachusetts
w/ lots more opinions on gear for women!
Hi, all. I'm a women of (mumble, mumble) high middle years. I've just started kayaking 2+ years ago because my husband really wanted to. We do flat-water, lake & coastal kayaking in Eastern US - mostly MA and RI.
My concerns for gear are fit. I'm 5'8" (or I was), middle-aged w/ middle aged spread. Granted, I should lose weight, but that's a work in progress. Even gear supposedly designed for women is designed for slim athletic short women (IMHO). I don't really want a rec boat - I want something a bit faster than that. I'm currently paddling a Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 - mostly because that's the best fitting boat that I've found. I'm interested in the Eliza, supposedly designed for women, but the specs I've seen show the cockpit as narrower than mine, and I wouldn't fit! Yes, my hips are broad, but my shoulders are narrow, so I'm more comfortable paddling a narrower boat.