Rapids Transit Systems

Whitewater Gear

Jul 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

(1) WildWasser Sport's Hipster spray deck ($135; 303-444-2336; www.wildnet.com) solves the problem of water pooling on your lap with a tentlike design that slightly raises the deck. Even better, the Hipster is very supple, making it easy to get on and off the cockpit rim and comfortable to wear.

(2) That old hockey helmet won't cut it anymore. Grateful Heads Helmets's DropZone ($120; 301-689-0915; www.gratefulheads.com) is a Kevlar-reinforced shell; foam liners of five different thicknesses are available to customize the fit. True, the helmet's six-way strap system can baffle even the brightest boater (no comment), but once you figure it out, you can lock your adjustments in place.

(3) Paddling can bring on carpal tunnel syndrome as easily as pushing a computer mouse. Not so with Werner's 39-ounce Double Diamond ergonomic paddle ($425; 800-275-3311; www.wernerpaddles.com); the shaft is curved at the handholds to keep the wrists in a relaxed position instead of bending them upward as a straight shaft would do, and the hand position (slightly forward of the shaft) seems to better transfer power to the lightweight blades.

(4) Designed by a surfing physician, Doc's Proplugs ($10; 800-521-2982; www.proplugs.com) are the off-the-shelf alternative to custom earplugs. They cost less, prevent excruciatingly painful eardrum ruptures, float, and (bonus) you can hear what's going on around you. ("I said eddy out, you idiot!")

(5) One pull of the straps on the Extrasport RetroGlide Avenger PFD ($115; 305-633-2945; www.extrasport.com) and the front and back panels suck into the body while the top wraps down around the collarbones. It's an instant fit that's abetted by neoprene side panels that stretch when you stretch.

(6) The SOG TiNi AutoClip knife ($60; 888-764-2378; www.sogknives.com) clips easily to a PFD. And with its durable Zytel handle molded in a woven texture, it feels secure in wet hands. One push reveals a serrated titanium blade, and you can even adjust the release tension. It's almost as trick as your one-handed air blunt.

Filed To: Whitewater Kayaks

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