Gear for Marathon Paddling
Whether you are using a surf ski, a Mirage or some other paddle craft, there are tips and tricks, as well as essential equipment, you should look at to make your marathon paddle as comfortable, safe and efficient as possible. View the video to see some of our modifications. The links below lead to our online shop - specifically to our Gear for Marathon Paddling.
Our Mirage 730s are great craft, but we have tweaked them a bit to make them more comfortable:
- We have removed any additional fittings we added for expedition work - such as sails and compasses, to reduce the weight
- The kayaks have had a good clean and polish (maybe that will let us go faster but really it is all about the engine in it!) and old race numbers removed using eucalyptus oil to get the sticky stuff off
- Changed the footbraces to Sea-Lect Design footbraces - smaller side mounted footbraces - although there is less area to drive against than traditional Mirage footbars, they are very fast to move to accommodate different height paddlers in a relay
- Upgrade the seat - add a Mirage gel seat pad or replace the whole seat with a shaped foam seat
- An extra comfy seat back - Immersion Research Back Rest
- Be SunSmart - use a Sun Deck cover to shade your legs from the sun
- Make sure you have the required safety gear on board - pump, bailing sponge (good for getting the water & mud out too), and wear a PFD
- Have a race number holder in place
- A flush rudder is good - less likely to get smashed on hidden snags
- Secure your water bladder with some cockpit tiedowns or use a backpack Camekbak
Clothing for Marathon Paddling - Be SunSmart!
It can be warm on the Murray in late November, but the mornings can be chilly. It is important that your paddling clothing will keep you warm when wet, dry quickly, protect from the sun and not chafe over those long days or fast sprints. Ideally you would be wearing a light long sleeve thermal or sun-shirt (not cotton), paddling shorts, gloves, hat, sunglasses and shoes.
Shirts / Tops - our yellow Adrenalin tops really make us stand out as a team. A UFP 50+ sun-shirt is great on the hot days
Pants - comfortable paddling shorts with flat or no seams - Adrenalin shorts or Sea to Summit Splat pants. A Sea to Summit Sun Deck will keep the sun from burning your knees but is providing plenty of ventilation
Gloves - sun gloves are a must to protect your hands from burning and should have a abrasion-resistant palm to reduce the chance of blistering - Eclipse Gloves are UFP 50+ and have soft but strong fabric double-layered in high wear areas
Hat - should give good all-round protection - either a legionnaire-style such as the Adapt-a-cap or a Buff pulled up to the eye level, teamed with a cap
Sunglasses - good polarising sunglasses protect your eyes on the water - don't lose them - secure them with a floating sunglass strap
Shoes - paddling booties should have a decent sole (to protect your soles and manage the slippery Murray mud), but not so thick you can't feel the footpegs - NRS Kicker Remix booties are good
Se also Bill's tips for avoiding blisters.
Safe Transport to and from the venue
- When transporting make your kayak safe with a safety flag. Check the regulations in your state regarding overhang past the ends of your vehicle.
- Reduce wind drag by using a cockpit cover (this will also keep creepy-crawlies out over night)
- Check your tie-downs - over time cams can slip - always check these and tie them off, particularly if you have a long drive. Lockable cam straps are also available.
- Kayak socks or stretch covers protect your kayak from the elements when transporting
Your paddle is your best friend out on the water. A wing-style paddle scoops more water and is the style of paddle mostly chosen for paddle marathon and racing. They are light, being either full carbon-fibre construction, or around 60% carbon construction.
A good paddle for this type of paddling is a worthwhile investment - these paddles are constructed for lightness and to maximise the water moved each stroke. When choosing a wing paddle you should consider your size, height and the craft you paddle as this affects paddle length and blade size. A measuring guide is attached to our Braca IV Paddle page.
We use and recommend Epic Mid -wing paddles and Braca Paddles (specifically the Braca IV) - both are light, well crafted paddles that have quite a bit of adjustment in them so you can tweek the length and feather angle as you learn to use you new paddle. The Epic Mid-wing has a full 10cm of adjustment, while the Braca IV has 5cm of adjustment, but is crafted specifically for your specifications and measurements when ordered.
Make sure you have adequate water - this is especially important for individual entrants, but also for relay sprinters. Whether your water is on your back or secured in your kayak, you won't want to pause to reach for the tube.
- Camelbak water bladders can go under deck bungees, but are better secured in the cockpit - lower centre of gravity and less chance of loss. Secure the bladder under some cockpit tiedowns so it doesn't move about or get under foot
- Keep your cockpit clean so the sand and grit doesn't abrade your water bladder
- A backpack style Camelbak or Kokatat hydration kit (fits to a PFD) is another option - balance the convenience of carrying your water on your back with the added weight
See our Youtube video for how to make a drinking tube holder: