Choosing the Best Swimming Caps – Capping it All Off

swimmer-1434868_640There is a whole different array of swimming caps and types all over the internet the main worry is what is the best one to choose and how do you know. As an avid swimmer, I use a cap for a variety of reasons. I only swim in indoor pools. However, I’m also a hydrogen peroxide enhanced blonde so I know the chemicals in indoor pools can turn me from Rapunzel to Shrek so the use of a swimming cap is great for me.

There are a lot of different chemicals used in indoors pools including chlorine to keep the pool water clean and safe for everyone’s use. For instance, chemicals like can greatly affect the health of your hair especially if you a swimming in this type of water frequently as it can increase the damage to your hair.

On the other hand, if you prefer to swim in open waters like the sea a swimming cap can also help to protect your hair against the damage that salt water could cause and any other chemicals that could be present in the sea. So, a swimming cap is best used whenever you swim.

If you are looking to get into competitive swimming it is not secret that wearing a swimming cap will make you faster this is because it reduces drag from your hair. Silicone swimming caps are used by a majority of all professional swimmers. This is because the smooth and round surface reduces the resistance and drag when swimming thus improving the speed and performance of the swimmer.

Another benefit of wearing a swimming cap is the obvious but sometimes overlooked, it keeps your hair dry. Now although no swim cap can guarantee dry hair every time you swim, proper use and selection of cap can help with this most of the time. Wet hair is a big and time consuming problem for swimmers with long hair as it can take hours to dry long hair again. Some swimmers even use two caps in to solve this problem.

Choosing a Swimming Cap

Swimming caps can be made from a variety of different materials and all have different properties, so how do you choose the best cap for you?

  • Silicone Swimming Caps – silicone swimming caps are the most common, because silicone is extremely durable. It’s popular among most competitive swimmers as it’s long-lasting. It is also easiest to remove and doesn’t pull on hair when it is removed.
  • Latex Swimming Caps – latex is a thinner material than silicone, however it is less durable and has to be taken care of properly to last. Latex swimming caps are however lighter and more breathable, making them more suitable for swimming where water temperature is quite warm and where overheating may be a factor. Latex swimming caps are cheaper than other types of swim caps but due to their thin properties are not likely to last if some others.
  • Polyester and Lycra Swimming Caps – for comfort the then look no further than polyester and lycra swimming caps. The softer fabric doesn’t pull or catch on hair and gives an easy fit. The only hold back with Polyester and Lycra caps are that they are completely porous and therefore your hair will get completely wet.
  • Bubble swimming caps – bubble caps are normally made from latex rubber and have quite a retro look, these types of swimming caps are good for people with longer hair as they give more of a generous fit compared to some other types of caps. The thicker material used to make these are ideal for swimming in open water as they keep the head warm. Bubble caps also tend to cover the ears as well as scalp ideal for adding warmth and blocking out Nosie.
  • Neoprene Swimming Caps – as more and more people compete in triathlons and open water swimming the rise in neoprene swimming caps has risen with it, that’s because this swimming cap are nearly thermal and keep the swimmers head warm when swimming in open and cold waters. Neoprene is what is used to make scuba diving wetsuits, the way it works is that it allows some water in and keeps this water close to your body making it heat up and insulate.

So, what’s the best swimming cap for you to get there is so many on the market now and knowing what you want is the key. If you’re looking for something long lasting and use in the pool. Then you should be looking at the ‘Original Silicone Swimming Cap’.

It’s a durable silicone swimming cap, made with extra thick material to protect the cap from tears. It has design grips on the head to stop the cap riding up as your swimming either for leisure or competitive. The cap also cover your ears of that it can protect you from painful ear infections.

Speedo Moulded Swimming Cap

To kick things off we have a model by the household brand that is Speedo. This is a basic model of cap, but does have some good features and is suitable for the everyday swimmer. Available in a variety of colors, this probably isn’t something that is going to last you a lifetime, or work well for outdoor swimmers, but for the average everyday indoor swimmer, Speedo’s moulded swim cap does a decent job.

i-Swim Pro

If you have longer hair and are looking to have a comfortable fitting cap as you are swimming, have a look at the i-Swim Pro Silicone cap.

Like a bubble cap this has a retro look on the outside claiming that this bubble design helps displace the surface tension of the water as you are swimming. Meaning that your speed can be increased as the resistance is reduced. The material is made from silicone material and the seal still protects hair from maximum chlorine and water damage.

If you’re an open water swimmer looking for the best thermal cap from swimming then this might be the cap for you. This particular cap is made from neoprene and comes with a built in chin strap to ensure that the cap stays in place tightly when swimming also providing ear coverage for protection in open waters.

Using Your Swim Cap

Now a swimming cap is only as good as how you put it on, if you put a swimming cap on incorrectly it may increase drag or make your hair wetter than needs to be. So to properly place a cap on there are a variety of different ways. To make sure that the cap is protected and has a long life when putting it on and looking after the cap ensure that fingernails are not sharp or ripped and is stored away from the zip of a bag to ensure that the swimming cap material isn’t snagged or can be torn. This also goes with keeping it away from jewellery or other sharp objects.

If you’ve got longer hair its best to place it in a bun or a pony tail to make it easier for you to keep all of the hair in the cap avoid using bobby pins and hair bands with a metal clasp as these could get caught when trying to put a cap on and could possibly damage the cap.

It is a matter of preference whether you want to wet your hair before placing the cap on most swimming pools have clean water showers before you enter the pool area this s the best water to use as it doesn’t have the chemicals in the water that the pool does. If you wet your hair prior to putting the cap on it is easier to ensure all wispy bits of hair and placed under the cap.

If alternatively you want to put your hair dry in the cap. Some people like to put talcum powder into the cap prior to wearing it the best way to do this is to put it in the cap and rub the cap in between your hands ensuring that the talc is spread evenly throughout the cap.

Now, to put the cap on your head the fun bit. Hold the cap wide open so you can see the inside ensuring your fingers and thumb are on the inside of the cap making a sort of L shape with both hands. Now starting at your forehead, slowly pull the cap from your forehead over your hair and down towards the bottom of your neck. The cap should be tight, against your skin but comfortable. Once the cap is on if there are any bots of hair that your missed that you can carefully push these under the cap by lifting it slightly with your fingers.

To make sure that your swimming cap lasts a long time you need to look after it well so make sure that you always give the cap a quick rinse off after swimming use fresh water to do this this will help get rid of any of the chemicals used in the swimming pool. Then dry off your cap either with a towel or hanging it to dry make sure that your cap is stored in a cool dry placed. Caps made from latex or silicone will ruin them.

Summary

So to sum up there are a lot of different choices in regards to choosing the right swimming cap for you. From competitive swimming to leisure there’s lots to consider so when choosing your cap do your research know what you’re looking for and look at suggestions in order to make your informed decisions.

Happy swimming!

Best Solo Canoe – Which Canoe is for You?

kayaking-1149886_640A solo canoe, as you probably already know, is a type of canoe with just one seat, designed for solo adventurers out on the sea or on lakes and canals. The canoe will likely have its seat at the very center of the canoe, and of course will be designed to carry the weight of one individual. Many models can be converted to tandem canoes, but in today’s reviews we’re looking at the best for a solo adventurer.

Choosing a solo canoe depends on the activity you want to use it for, as well as your own preferences and of course your build. There are a ton of water sports and activities which can involve a canoe, and this means different models are made with different uses in mind. You may well need a solo canoe for short trip, cruising, fishing, sport, and in many different water settings such as on a lake or river, from open calm lakes to whitewaters with choppy conditions. 

So, what makes a good Canoe? We’ve got a few different criteria for trying to decide the very best:

  • Durability. This almost goes without saying, you need something that is not going to get scuffed, scratched and even broken easily. Modern technology and materials mean that canoes can be tougher than ever.
  • Portable. Is it easily portable and relatively lightweight? Nobody wants to feel like they’re lugging a ferry out with them, a canoe should retain some flexibility and portability in spite of being durable and hard-wearing.
  • Speed. Not always top priority, but for some of us, a canoe that will cut through the water and help us travel at a fair speed will be a big plus point.
  • Comfort. Trust us, you’re going to want something that doesn’t get too sore after a long day sitting in it.
  • Storage. So many of the uses for a canoe, fishing or otherwise, require some sort of storage, which is something most of the models of solo canoe have on offer. Storage means how much weight they can carry as well as space. Nobody wants their cargo to sink the canoe!

We’ve explored some of the top options in the world of canoeing, which work perfectly for just one person. Canoes, as with a lot of different water sports equipment, are not cheap! It is well worth doing a bit of research up front to make sure that you are happy with the decision you make.

The following solo canoe reviews are based on our own experiences, and those of other consumers who have purchased the canoes and shared opinions.

The Grumman 12’9” Solo Canoe:

This is one of the best solo canoes that are very easy to control and it glides across the water with ease using a solitary or dual bladed paddle. It weighs under 50 lbs, but in spite of this it boasts a large carrying capacity of over 500 lbs, meaning it is a great choice for those who will be carrying equipment around with them (if you’re looking for a solo fishing canoe, this could be your answer). This canoe is described by the manufacturer as being as strong as nails, and it is hard to disagree. The clever craftsmanship and aluminum design mean that it remains tough whilst still being fast and maneuvrable. It is much lighter than many high capacity kayaks, at 48lbs. Though it is certainly not one of the cheapest canoes you will come across, it is worth your consideration. A quick look at other reviews of the Grumman will show how happy most of those who purchase are with their decision. Well worth the money if you have the budget.

Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Discovery 119 Solo Canoe:

Into the realms of affordability now. This particular solo canoe is efficient, lightweight and constructed for years of use, even coming with a guarantee. It has a rigid design as well as comfy, long-lasting nylon seats. It is made for solo use and is suitable for use with a doubled blade paddle. It weighs around 49 lbs and reports of even large fishermen and canoe enthusiasts using it with no worries at all, so sturdiness is not a concern. For comfort, ease of use and value for money the Discovery 119 scores very highly and is worthy of recommendation.

The Classic Hornbeck:

Hornbeck are a manufacturer whose boats and canoes tend to be mostly used for fishing and birding. Their 12′ solo canoe is very responsive and quick, and feels slick when you are paddling. Although being described as a solo canoe here, this model can be used as a tandem and extra foam seats and backrest mean it can quickly be converted to a tandem canoe. One of the speediest canoes we’ve looked at. These are custom made, and don’t be shocked to see the price quickly mounting, these are certainly more of an expensive model of canoe, and are great for more advanced users, rather than beginners.

Wenonah Canak

The Wenonah Canak is really interesting, and has been described as a cross between kayak and canoe (hence being called a Canak). It has a large capacity and still offers portability and ease of use. It is one of the fastest of all canoes currently on the market and is designed to withstand heavy equipment and lots of cargo, as well as choppy weather conditions! It has slip on covers which keep the water out, so it comes with convenient dry storage, always good for those long days on the water and making it a great choice for campers who need to keep a lot dry.

Conclusion

The fact is that in spite of our guide, this isn’t going to be the easiest decision to make. The difference between the cheapest solo canoe and the most expensive is absolutely huge, and you need something to fit your budget as well as offer all the features you need. Inevitably, the kayak vs canoe debate is bound to come up, as people look at a kayak or inflatable kayak as an alternative. If you want portability, this could be wise, but if it is stability you’re looking for, canoes are hard to beat, especially if carrying cargo. Evaluating which features you need can go a long way to deciding what is the appropriate canoe for you!

The Best Yoga Paddle Boards (SUP’s) – Walk on Water!

yoga SUPTo call yoga a new trend would be incorrect, the art has been practiced for thousands of years. That said, in recent years, we’ve seen a resurgence and yoga has become recognized for the amazing benefits it can have on your strength, flexibility and health, both physical and mental. People from all walks of life are trying out yoga and many people are doing so on the water via a paddle board or SUP. In this article, we look at the best paddle boards for yoga, for beginners and experts who want to buy a new SUP to take out on the water.

There are many reasons for practicing yoga on a lake or other body of water. For one, it creates more of a challenge. Naturally, water is going to be less stable than dry land, and so gives you a chance to hone your balance and other yoga skills. As well as that, the environment is very peaceful, and one of the reasons a lot of us try yoga is to get away from the rest of the world and enjoy some tranquility. Being out in the water and at one with nature is good for the brain as well as the body, and the challenge of yoga on the sea is one more and more of us are starting to attempt.

As with any SUP, there are some choices out there to make, and criteria that make certain boards the best for yoga. What is the correct choice for one person may not be so for another, and your individual needs are something to consider when looking at paddle board reviews, checking out the features and deciding if one is right for you. Our list of the best boards has looked not only at features, but at prices too. If you need a beginner SUP for yoga or are on a budget, you’re probably going to want a good cheap SUP, so we have included something for all budgets and sizes.

As a short aside, you might have heard the term BOGA used to describe ‘boot camp yoga’ which incorporates the use of yoga on stand up paddle boards. The criteria are exactly the same, and the best boards for BOGA are the same models mentioned below, of course. There is no difference in the SUP part of boot camp!

If you need any more convincing about the amazing benefits of this hobby, the huffington post have made an amazing article exploring some of the benefits!

ISLE Airtech Inflatable Yoga Stand Up Paddle Board

It is little surprise that a lot of the models we’ve looked at are made specifically for yoga, and the ISLE airtech inflatable yoga SUP has been designed exactly for the needs of yoga lovers. The company have been making products like this since 2004, and have really considered yoga when designing the board. Its wide nose and tail bring a lot of stability which means that it is not difficult to ride out and that it also stays relatively stable whilst performing your moves, poses and exercises. The last thing you want when trying out a new pose is a board that wobbles everywhere, and though SUP yoga will always test your balance, the ISLE airtech does a great job of giving some support under you.

One of many great things about this iSUP is the fact that it comes with everything you need. People just getting started on this journey are unlikely to have  huge amounts of SUP equipment and knowledge, especially if you’re just coming from a yoga background. This has an inflatable paddle, accessories bundle and even a travel bag. Which leads me nicely to the next benefit of the ISLE iSUP, the portability. Of course, it is inflatable, so can easily be thrown in the car and taken to a lake or to the sea. Not having to worry about a roof rack or difficulties taking your paddle board to your destination is definitely a plus point.

This board is also great for paddlers of all different shapes and sizes. It can handle weights of up to 255 lb but the manufacturers also say that some riders who exceed this may still be fine if they are experienced. Is this the cheapest yoga SUP? Absolutely not, you will have to part with a bit of money to get your hands on the ISLE Airtech iSUP, but if you want something that is an all in one solution, that is well made, durable and stable then look no further. You get all of the accessories you could possibly need and are ready to go as soon as your SUP is in your hands, and there is even a money back guarantee if you find anything is not to your liking. Deserves its place on our ‘best of’ list.

Ten Toes Board Emporium Weekender Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

On the whole, paddle boards aren’t the cheapest product, but the Emporium Weekender is on the more affordable end of the scale, making them a good choice for those on a budget, and offers excellent value for money. It is another inflatable model which makes it a top choice for portability. This is a 10′ model, and ten toes have products which are bigger, great for gliding and touring, or smaller, which won’t be big enough for yoga.

The Ten Toes weekender comes with an adjustable paddle, easy to use carry case and even has a one year warranty. Rolled up, this SUP is just 11″ x 36″, so it is easy to see why people opt for an inflatable model in order to make the storage and transportation so much easier. In terms of its durability, this is described as ‘virtually indestructible’ by the manufacturer. It would take more than a little wear and tear for anything to happen to this paddleboard, especially if being used for yoga and standard paddling. This will last many years, and considering the fact that this is already cheaper than many of its competitors on the market, the value for money offered by the Emporium Weekender is excellent. The maximum rider weight is 275lb meaning that even those with a larger frame can use it safely and with no fear of running into troubles.

A quick look at the ten toes weekender reviews on amazon or elsewhere will show that the vast majority of people who have taken the plunge and bought the Weekender ISUP are very happy with their buy, and a huge amount of five star reviews show that this is definitely one of the best options for yoga enthusiasts.

Lotus YSUP Inflatable SUP Board

We’re completing our list with another very high quality inflatable board. To be honest, it was hard to find any boards that aren’t inflatable and are designed to be used specifically for yoga, and that is understandable, the pros of a board being inflatable, especially for a hobbyist, outweigh the cons.

The Lotus YSUP is an exceptionally crafted, luxury SUP board with a huge amount of positive reviews online. Most people who have used the board seem to be exceptionally happy with it, and a huge amount of five star reviews suggest that in spite of being a bit more pricy than some of the other SUPs on the market, the Lotus hits the nail on the head.

This board has a thick, six inch covering material which is designed for yoga sessions, they’ve made sure they don’t have a carrier handle in the center of the board which would inevitably get in the way, so they’ve considered the needs you will have for a productive yoga session. A shoulder strap is the alternative and keeps it easy to carry.

Yoga SUP Accessories

There are many accessories out there that can make your life easier, too. Whether you already have a board or are buying one for the first time, many accessories are worth considering. Of course, there is some obvious equipment such as the SUP paddle, any storage accessories you may need and a carry bag if you’ve gone for an inflatable model, but we’ve put together some of the more specific yoga accessories.

Surfstow Paddle Board Mat

A paddle board mat can help to convert an ordinary SUP into something a bit more suitable for yoga. Slipping can be a big issue with many paddle boards, and having a good quality mat over the top can make things a lot easier for you. It simply attaches with a suction system and is very good at staying put once it is on there. If you have a specific yoga SUP then this may be overkill, but if not, it could just become your best friend.

Paddleboard Anchor

There are a number of anchors available, and they can help greatly with the stability on offer. Of course, you have to balance (no pun intended) a need for an anchor with a need to take something out on the water, a huge anchor isn’t going to work, but many of the anchors you can buy are just a couple of lbs in weight, and are easily portable, yet are able to grip in many conditions that can help to keep your paddleboard in one place.

Conclusion

This is a hobby that can have huge benefits, and there are a lot of reasons why it is growing at a rapid rate. Doing some research up front and exploring the best products for SUP yoga can be very beneficial in the long term, and ensure it is something you stick to for the long term.

Keep it Dry – The 4 Best Dry Bags for Kayaks, Boating, Surfing and More

kayak dry bagDry bags have always been an important piece of kit for those of us who take part in any sort of water sport. If there is any chance of coming into contact with water, then you need one of the best dry bags to ensure that the contents don’t get wet, or worse, damaged. Our devices have become an integral part of everyday life. The chances are, you’ll want to take something electronic, whether that is a specific water sports device such as a fishfinder to take out on the sea, or is just something as simple (but important) as a cell phone. Whether you need a dry bag for fishing, kayaking, boating or scuba diving, we have some options included within this article.

Choosing a Dry Bag

The process certainly isn’t as simple as just grabbing the first dry bag you see. There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to buying a dry bag. Your own individual needs are vital, too. Giving a little thought to the circumstances in which the bag will be used can help you make the right call. There are certain criteria by which we judge the best models of backpack or waterproof bag.

Material. The material that a dry bag is made of is key to its effectiveness. The two most common types of material we see are vinyl and nylon. Vinyl tends to be used for smaller items and holders for devices such as phones and tablets, though some of the bigger models are vinyl. Nylon is the most popular, as well as being lighter weight and very durable. The density of the nylon can be measured so if you need a tougher bag you can judge by the “D” value in the description of the bag.

Size. Naturally, as with any bag, you need to think about the size you need before buying. You may just need to take a few items out and can get a five liter bag or smaller, or you may need to think about the best option for sleeping bags, changes of clothing and more. Dry bags come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, with 20 liter, 30 liter, or even 40 liter models not uncommon.

Durability. Most of us expect these items to get beat up a little when we take them out with us. Nobody goes on a kayaking trip without expecting to take a few bumps. The bags all need to be pretty durable in order to make sure they don’t rip and expose whats inside or not give enough protection to the contents.

Straps: Dry bags vary a great deal in which type of straps they have. You can have a duffel type which goes over the shoulder, or backpack straps, and some even have replaceable or changeable straps. As more companies innovate, more types of strap become available and the one to suit your needs is easier to find.

D-Rings: This is one of the more unique features we see over and over again in dry bags. D-rings are of course a D shape and are attached to the bag, they then make it easy to string the boats up either to the side of a boat or elsewhere. This makes it a lot easier if a boat or kayak should capsize, and will be easy to grab the bags rather than looking around in the water for them.

So, the criteria have been set out. Time for a dry bag review or three!

Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag

The first review is a dry bag that has truly taken the market by storm, and received endorsements from some really big names. The Earth Pak brand has a lot to offer, and seem to have thought of everything in designing their waterproof dry bag.

Features of the Dry Bag Include:

  • Durability and protection. These are designed to be waterproof even in the most testing conditions, and are built to last for a long time.
  • A single shoulder strap design, adjustable from 24-42 inches. They also come with backpack style straps and a sternum strap.
  • Comes with a certified waterproof phone case designed to fit pretty much any phone you can imagine. They work with phones up to 6.5 inches in size.
  • Available in sizes including 10L, 20L, 30L and even a massive 40L, one of the biggest dry bags you can imagine.
  • Comes with sturdy D-rings for strapping to the side of boats or elsewhere.
  • A roll top and buckle closure system means this is totally air tight and water tight.
  • Padded shoulder straps for your comfort.
  • Can even be used as a camping pillow and are designed to be comfortable when used as such.

The Earth Pak team have really thought of everything when it comes to these dry bags, and in our opinion they are definitely worth considering. The fact that they come in different sizes means they fit a variety of needs including fishing, kayaking and more. Convenient, durable, flexible and easy to use, it is easy to see why these have become one of the most popular models.

You don’t just have to take our word for it, either. The vast majority of reviews on amazon and elsewhere on the internet are not just positive, but glowing. Not only are these such high quality, they are good value too. The price is far from extortionate, especially when you consider the fact they are built to last years rather than months.

Odyssey Waterproof Dry Bag

Another good option for fishing, camping or other outdoor or watersport activities. The Odyssey waterproof dry bag also comes with a phone container to keep your smartphone from damage, and has some similar features to the Earth Pak.

These are made of 500D PVC, in their words “the toughest waterproof material known to man”. There’s little denying that these bags are protective and they even have heat resistant, stain resistant and temperature resistant qualities. It is almost impossible to tear and easy to lead, with easy to use straps. A cheap option perhaps, these certainly don’t cost the earth, and though the only model we’ve seen is a 10l, this is a good option for those who don’t need massive capacity.

Såk Gear Premium Waterproof Dry Bag

Okay, so looks certainly aren’t the priority, and they’re not something we are judging the top dry bags on. However, if you do want something that stands out a bit in terms of aesthetics, the Såk gear waterproof dry bag could be for you. It has a reflective trim for high visibility, very cool branding, and is available in loads of different colors. This has a functional benefit too, if more than one of you are buying the bag, you can ensure you have different designs to not get them mixed up.

Besides the awesome look and feel of this dry bag, the features are good too.

  • Available in both 10l and 20l sizes
  • Protective in all sorts of weather and immensely strong material to ensure it is watertight to keep your equipment and clothing dry.
  • An outer pocket for quick access items such as identification or money.
  • Reflective to help with visibility, good for not only whoever is wearing it, but for finding it should it go overboard.
  • Removable shoulder strap. Choose whether you want to put it over your shoulder or just use the attached handle.

Best Small Dry Bag

Binmer Sports Waterproof Dry Bag

We wanted to include a smaller option within our list of top dry bags. The Binmer is available in multiple sizes, but they tend to be a little smaller, and perfect for day trips and those who don’t need to carry a lot of stuff.

This comes in 2 liter, 5 liter and 10 liter sizes. It may not have all the features of some of the models already mentioned above, however it is a decent option, especially if you want something small. The PVC material is pretty durable, and though this may not be the most professional, all singing, all dancing model some of us need, for a beginner or hobbyist who just wants to take a few items out with them then this might fit the bill. The Binmer dry bag reviews elsewhere online are pretty positive, and it is worth a look.

Conclusion

We all want our dry bags for different reasons. People from motorcyclists to fishermen, swimmers to surfers and kayakers all have some need for a dry bag. As such, there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution. This article is designed to be a guide, and assist in working out which is the best for you, and all of the models of waterproof dry bag mentioned are commendable. If we had to pick one ‘best’ option, the Earth Pak brand fits the bill in so many ways, and the brand have thought of everything.

Choosing a dry bag can be an important choice, and can save a lot of hassle and even expense in the long run by preventing damage to your treasured items.

 

Cover it Up! 5 of the Best Boat Covers

boat coversUsing a cover for your boat is one of the best ways you can delay the natural effects of wear and tear on your pride and joy; your boat. On a daily basis, your boat is likely affected by a cycle of temperature and condition changes as the weather and even time of day changes. This daily routine often leads to expansion and contraction which is not the best for wood and takes a toll on the gel coating and wooden materials from which the majority of boats are made. Covers are useful for protection from the air, pollution, dirt, rodents, birds, adverse weather, and just about any of the situations that could risk the condition of a boat that you have probably paid a lot of money for.

Of course, investing in a good boat cover isn’t likely to be a bad idea given the important role it plays in protecting your boat from fading or becoming damaged. However, there is another benefit often overlooked. A boat cover can also be useful for the covering of valuable equipment you may keep on board, and that may not be easy to remove.

There are many different types and designs of boat, and this is something to consider when you are taking the plunge and buying a cover for your boat. Fortunately, the covers are quite flexible. Some of the types of boat you can get specific covers for include:

  • V-Hull Boats
  • Runabout Boats
  • Tri-Hull Boats
  • Fishing Boats
  • Bass Boats
  • Ski Boats

In order for you to have a better understanding of why it is so wise to invest in the best boat covers you can for your boat, we share with you some of the benefits of boat covers, what makes a quality boat cover, and even a selection of individual reviews of the top covers you can currently find for all different sorts of boats.

The Many Benefits of Boat Covers

The following are some of the benefits you will get from investing in a boat cover.

  • Protects your boat: Cover boats provide good protection for your anchored boat, at the dock or when stored on a trailer. There are different types of cover for different scenarios (more on this later).
  • Makes your boat durable: Covering your boats helps to mimimize the risk of damage from natural conditions such as the weather, rodents and other animals.
  • It protects your equipment: Cover boats protect the equipment within from prying eyes. Out of site, they say, is out of mind.

What Makes a Good Boat Cover? Our Criteria

Boat covers come with different materials and in different shapes and sizes too. It is easy to think that a cover is a cover, but this is not the case, and there are other variations. So, to choose the best boat cover for your boat, you need to be armed with the right information as to what makes the right cover boat for your individual needs. The following are some of the factors you should look for when next you’re shopping for a boat cover.

Storage vs. Trailer: These are two main types of cover. Storage covers fit the boat with a bit of give and aren’t the most tight or ‘custom’ fitting covers. They’re often more like a tarp or canopy that can quickly cover a boat while it is moored or stored somewhere. A trailer cover, as the name suggests, has been made for protecting the boat whilst it is being transported so will be hard wearing and more tight-fitting to the boat.

Materials: The material with which a boat cover is made is truly vital to determining its usefulness. The fabrics of your boat cover must be of the right combination in order to ensure that there is some ventilation as well as water repellency to stop the rain getting in. You may think that boats can handle water, and though the exterior is designed to handle water, the materials in the inside (the area being covered) are often not waterproof. A top-quality synthetic fabric is often used, great for durability and functionality.

Colors: Dark color materials are most suitable for a boat cover due to the fact that they provide great UV resistance from the sun and in turn contribute to boat longevity.

Size: Buying the right size of boat cover is also important when shopping for one. An oversized boat cover will sag under the weight of rain water, which collects and can be very awkward. Oversized covers can also get damaged when under serious windy conditions. On the other hand, if the boat cover is too tight, the seams and fabric could be stretched and are prone to tearing.

Reviews

In order to help you make an informed decision when choosing your boat cover, we have selected some of the top boat covers for you. Read on to see our review of these products.

RockyMRanger Heavy Duty Boat Cover

The RockyMRanger is one in a large range of covers for all sorts of products from BBQs to boats. This is a trailer design cover so can be used when you’re transporting your boat from A to B. The brand is known for its durability and some very positive reviews elsewhere on the internet back this up. as it is between 17′ and 19′ it has been a popular choice for sports and fishing boats and can cover a motor too. 8 hard wearing straps and one extra long strap as well as an elasticated bottom for the cover mean that you can adjust it and wrap it closely to the boat and avoid any issues with it coming loose.

Budge 600 Denier Boat Cover

The Budge 600 boat cover is a larger sized boat cover suitable for the V-hull boat with a T-top or hard top and cabin. This boat cover comes in five different sizes so is suitable for a huge amount of boats all the way from 16′ up to 26′. It is UV protective and has a lot of straps and ties to closely attach it to your boat and avoid it coming loose. Great protection from all of life’s awkward enemies for boats!

Yescom 600D V-Hull Ski Boat Cover

The Yescom boat cover is a relatively affordable choice that is a good option if you’re on a budget. Easily attached to your boat with a lot of clips and of course it is UV protective. It is designed to be a sort of ‘middle ground’ which can be good for short term trailerable use (transporting) or longer term storage. It also comes in three different colors and has a convenient storage bag for when it isn’t in use.

Classic Accessories StormPro Boat Cover

The Classic Accessories StormPro is a heavy duty boat cover that has become a popular choice for bass boats and V boats. It comes with a pole, which stops the cover from sagging so water can build up. The StormPro has given a lot of thought to the weather (as the name suggests) so it doesn’t allow rain or snow to build up, good for trailer transport. Made with quality materials and this even has an amazing five year warranty so you can tell that the manufacturer has full faith in it.

Komo Heavy Duty Trailerable Boat Cover

The Komo model is another trailerable boat cover suitable for most mid-sized boats with a V Hull design. It comes with a carry bag. The Komo boat cover is double stitched with an elastic material making it fit your boat ideally. However, it also comes in a lot of different sizes so all boats from 12′ up to 24′ are likely to be compatible with some version of this cover. The low price is actually pretty surprising considering the quality and this is available in two colors as well as the aforementioned sizes. This has definitely earned its place on our list of the best boat covers.

Conclusion

No doubt, a boat cover provides both protective and maintenance functions for your boat. It also safeguards the rest of your boating equipment, thereby, helping you to save money in the long run. It isn’t the most glamorous aspect of boating, but it is an important one, and taking the time to pick a boat cover for your runabout, ski boat, fishing boat or other boat can be well worth it in the long run and make sure you don’t do any unnecessary damage.

What is Stand Up Paddleboarding? A Beginner’s Guide

ocean-1804114_640Many have described stand up paddleboards or ‘SUPs’ as the fastest growing trend in the world of water sports. Considering the fact that if you saw somebody stand on a board and start to paddle 20 years ago you probably would have been more than a bit confused, the sport has become pretty mainstream.

Legend has it that Hawaiian surfer Laird Hamilton in the 90s started paddling with a canoe paddle on his biggest surfboard to try and bulk up for big waves. He found it to be great exercise and it stuck. While this is likely one of the reasons it is so popular today, SUP’s of some form have been used in Hawaii, South America and Africa for thousands of years. Hawaiians describe it as Hoe He’e Nalu, a term you’re likely to hear if you visit the surfing hotspot.

So why has it caught on so much? Well, as already briefly mentioned, it is great exercise for a few different reasons. As well as the balance and weight distribution in your legs, your upper body gets a workout whilst propelling you across the water. Paddle boarding is a great way to vary what you’re doing on the water and give different muscles a workout. On top of this, it isn’t the most intimidating of board sports. If you look at a surfer or skimboarder for instance it can be intimidating, and a huge amount of skill is required to reach the top level. Paddleboarding isn’t easy as such, but it is more simple to pick up the basics and start to propel yourself along.

So You Want to Start Paddleboarding

There are so many places you can get started with your SUP adventure. Choose a lake, river or coast with pretty tame waters for your first trip and make sure it isn’t too windy. There are a few pieces of equipment you absolutely need to start off. These can sometimes be rented from water sports stores but buying a beginner model doesn’t have to cost the earth and if you plan to head out regularly it can be well worth it.

  • The Board – you need a board, and a suitable one for your size. Some boards come in multiple sizes, and all will tell you how big they are before you buy it, the bigger the board, generally the more stability you will have.
  • Paddle – you need a paddle to propel yourself, this will sometimes come as part of a set with the board. They can be made of fiberglass or metal materials.
  • Leash – this is vital and will ensure that the paddle doesn’t get lost! If you drop it in the water it can be hard to ever get back, and you don’t want to make a habit of losing your paddles.
  • Life Jacket or Life Vest – as always with any water sport, you have to take the adequate safety precautions.

Tips for SUP Beginners

  • Keep an eye on the weather. There is nothing worse than finding yourself on the water in a storm or windy conditions if you’re not yet comfortable on your board. Be sure that you stay in calm waters.
  • Face the right way. It sounds a bit rudimental but some beginners get confused which way to stand. The narrower ‘nose’ of the board should face the way you want to go, this is the front of the board.
  • Long strokes, hold the top of the paddle. If you hold it at the bottom or like a broom you’re not going to get the most of the propulsion your body can create.
  • Don’t rely on your arms. Most of the ‘heavy lifting’ should be done by your back. Ensuring you stay upright and looking forward rather than looking down will help this.
  • Fall away from the board. If you fall on the board or manage to get it to fall on you, it hurts. If you feel yourself going, jump away from the board and fall straight into the water.

Conclusion

As well as being amazing fun, going out on an SUP can be an amazing exercise, and it is no wonder this is a hobby which is catching on as being one of the most popular water sports. It is an accessible sport and one you can get started with pretty simply. Follow our basic tips and have an amazing time on your board!

Plug Those Lugs – The Best Earplugs for Swimming

earplugsIf you enjoy swimming or other water activities and sports, it is inevitable that at some point you will want to think about your ears, and if you need swimming earplugs to block out the water. There are numerous reasons why you might want to do this. You may be looking for peace and quiet, but it is more likely that you are worried about swimmers ear, which can be a real source of pain for those of us who love to swim. A lot of people don’t like the sensation of water in their ears, and use plugs to try and avoid this. Whatever your reasons, we’ve compiled a list of the best earplugs for swimming to ensure you get something you are happy with and that suits your own needs.

Whether you are looking for yourself, or need the best ear plugs for kids, we’ve got something suitable on our list.

Insta-Putty

Insta-Putty is a very good brand of ear plugs and is designed to be used for all sorts of water uses, even showering and bathing, but of course swimming and watersports are the priority. It is great for reducing noise in a lot of different circumstances but for swimming use they do a great job of keeping the water out, especially considering how flexible they are, molding to the shape of your ear.

They are marketed as reusable, but eventually they will get dirty (never a good idea to put something dirty in your ear) or will lose its flexibility and not stay in place. This is perhaps the reason why they’re sold in such big quantities.

As you’d expect, they’re non-toxic and hypoallergenic so you have some peace of mind regarding your ear health. They don’t specifically have to be used for swimming, but are a great choice for water uses due to their reliability, flexibility and comfort. The vast majority of reviews are very positive with people complimenting how hard-wearing the earplugs are. They may not be the nicest looking product ever, but they’re great quality.

Speedo Ergo Ear Plugs

Speedo is a brand synonymous with swimming and swimwear, so it is only right that they continue the heritage of their products with a range of ear plugs. The Ergo (presumably short for ergonomic) earplugs, live up to their name, with a very comfortable design which slips in easily and conforms to the shape of your ears. The snug fit also ensures that water is properly blocked out and that any noise is reduced too.

These come with a branded Speedo box for storage and ensuring that it doesn’t get dirty or damaged, and can be bought alone or as multiples in order to make sure you have spares. The Speedo Ergo is designed to be reusable, and is a lot more reusable than a lot of its competitors, but whatever earplugs you buy, they probably wont last for years. These are well reviewed and provide a lot of quality, as we’ve come to expect from the Speedo brand.

Macks Soft Flanged Aqua Block Earplug

Macks are another manufacturer who provide a lot of earplugs for swimming. As well as being some of the cheapest earplugs they also offer a lot of quality, and the main benefit of the Soft Flanged Aqua Blog is the amazing comfort. To look at this product you would probably think it looks anything but comfortable, but the three flange design is incredibly comfortable as well as effective, triple the protection!

  • Wonderful for preventing swimmers ear and surfers ear
  • Cn be used for swimming, water sports and even swimming and showering.
  • The pre-molded earplugs are made of soft, comfy silicone which fit in with ease.
  • Designed to increase sealing and comfort with the triple flange style.

Macks offer other earplugs too, but these are perhaps their best for swimming and strike the perfect balance between comfort and effectiveness. Without getting a custom fitting product you’ll be hard pressed to find something much better, especially at the price range. A huge amount of positive Macks earplug reviews show you all you need to know.

Docs Proplugs Medical Grade Ear Plugs

A lot of the ‘basic’ ear plugs are designed as one size fits all and do a basic job of keeping the water out, which may be all you need, but these are designed to be ‘medical grade’ and are great for those already suffering with swimmer’s ear, infections or other issues.

One of the other key features is the fact that you can buy multiple sizes, this allows you to find the perfect fit and maximum comfort. For this reason, I consider these to be the best swimming earplugs for kids, and the ‘tiny’ and ‘x-small’ sizes are great for little people and adults alike!

The promotional material for this product states that they’re recommended by ENT medical professionals as a preventative measure and for those already suffering with ailments relating to the ear or sinuses. The reviews of this product are generally immensely positive about the features including comfort and effectiveness at keeping the water out of your ears even if you have existing issues.

Decibullz – NRR 31 Custom Molded Earplugs

Custom molded earplugs such as the NRR31 from Decibullz are something of a ‘holy grail’ in terms of earplugs. As such, the cost is definitely more, as you are paying a premium for the personalized nature of the product, but if you can afford it, the extra cost is easily justified.

Immersed in hot water, the Decibullz become pliable and allow you to mould them to shape. Simply put them into your ears firmly and allow them to adopt the correct shape and size. As well as this, they’re re-moldable, so if you need to alter them it is easy to do.

They’re designed to cut audio volumes by 31 dB, which is excellent if you want to isolate the noise, but in terms of their merits for swimming, the excellence comes from how effective the perfect size and shape can be for stopping the water from entering your ears.

They are very unlikely to fall out or be uncomfortable, and if this does become an issue you can just mold them again to make sure they are perfect. A huge amount of five star reviews show how happy people are with the noise reduction and watertight properties of the NRR31 from Decibullz. If you want something you can mold yourself at home that will be more effective than the generic earplugs, these come with our recommendation.

What Makes a Good Earplug for Swimmers?

So, as you can see from the above models, there are certain criteria that ensure that a set of earplugs is good quality and appropriate for swimmers. If you simply search for ‘earplugs’ online you’ll likely be met with a lot of models made of foam and other materials that aren’t appropriate, so you need to get something that is watertight such as silicone. The trade off here is that it can sometimes be less comfortable, which brands have tried to tackle with the ergonomic design, alternative sizes and flexibility of their products, and in doing so have made some great options.

Ease of use – Some earplugs are much easier than others. Is the insertion a simple process? Can you quickly make sure that they’re comfortable before swimming? The best earplugs will not take up a lot of time before you take to the water.

Effectiveness – This is one of the more obvious ones, but they’ve got to do the job properly. There’s no point in earplugs that don’t keep the water out, or that fall out when you’re diving or taking part in watersports.

Moldable and Customizable – Being able to mold them to your own ears is the best case scenario. The cost is more, but for obvious reasons they are more effective, and having them perfectly snug within your ears is great for comfort, plus minimizes the chance of any water sneaking through.

Reviews – As with most products, there are some options on the market that aren’t the best. Luckily, we live in an age of product reviews and recommendations and it doesn’t take long to investigate and work out which products are not the best quality.

Avoiding Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is a very unpleasant ailment, and is the reason a lot of people will be looking for ear plugs. It stems from water remaining in the ear after you’ve been swimming or in the water for another reason, which makes bacterial growth easier and leads to infections. It can be very painful and irritating.

The inside of your ear is not an easy place to dry, so the only measures you can really take are preventative, and the way to avoid it is to make sure you have an effective set of plugs that keep the water out well. Custom plugs are amazing for this, but many of the standard models will do a good job too.

Conclusion

There are multiple reasons people buy ear plugs, and even multiple reasons to have them whilst swimming, but it is generally accepted that they are a pretty good idea, and if you are frequently in the water, we would definitely recommend owning some. You don’t have to spend a huge amount of money, with many earplugs available under $50 or even under $20 that will do a fine job, and some of the more disposable models are just a few bucks. The recommended models within this article are well reviewed, and you should quickly be able to work out which are best for you.

Choosing the Best Skimboard for You – Skimboard Buying Guide

skim-board-1830034_640 Skimboarding is taking the world of watersports by storm. It is similar to surfing but the boards are smaller and a bit more nimble, and designed for use in shallow water. With the best skimboard, you can do a load of incredible tricks, and use your board at the beach or other bodies of water such as rivers. Skimboards can also go along wet sand at beaches and you can build up a lot of speed, great for tricks and for the rush you get from most types of watersport. One of the main benefits of skimboarding is that it is pretty cheap to get started, the skimboards themselves aren’t the most expensive items, especially when compared to surf boards, and though the hobby takes a bit of getting the hang of, it can be so rewarding and fun.

As Skimboarding continues to grow and more people find out about the sport, more manufacturers are creating products! Skimboard reviews used to be hard to come by, but now it is relatively simple to make a list of the best skim boards, and to compare the features of each brand. The features of each skimboard will be appropriate for different people depending on your size and speed, so the model best for one person may not be the best for someone else. The best skimboards for beginners may not be the best for a more advanced boarder. We’ve created a handy buying guide and some skimboard reviews to make sure you pick the best for you.

Considerations

Tempting as it may be to find a recommended model of skimboard and just go for it, you’re a lot better off thinking it through first, and even doing a small amount of research on the types of skimboard out there. Giving some thought to the below considerations will ensure you’re making the right choice.

Size – The boards generally are somewhere between 45 and 60 inches in height, and 17 and 23 inches wide. Which one you choose depends on how big you are, and how you plan to ride it! When finding the right height, as a general rule of thumb, it should come up to your chest when held out in front of you. If you’re not in a store and are buying online, you can quickly measure how long this is. The width and thickness are decisions you should make largely based on your level experience and how you plan to ride it. If you can handle a thinner board with less thickness in the material then you may be able to move very freely, but if you’re a beginner then this may not be advisable whilst you are finding your feet.

The following should help as a reference based on what you weigh, but can slightly vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Don’t panic, as when you choose a skimboard to buy it will tell you the recommended size of the rider.

  • 80 – 140 lbs: 45″ or below (Small)
  • 120 – 160 lbs: 45-47″ (M)
  • 140 – 180 lbs: 47-49″(M/L)
  • 160 – 200 lbs: 49-51″ (L)
  • 180 – 220 lbs: 51 and up (XL)

Foam vs Wood

The material which makes up the core of your skimboard will likely be foam or wood. Some other materials such as fiberglass can be used. Foam boards are a little more expensive than the wooden boards as they have more that goes into the process of making them. “Foamies” as they’re often called by watersport enthusiasts are made to skim across waves, and they’re incredibly light and flexible. This means that even if you use them a lot or in choppier waters then they are less likely to break or warp. Wooden boards can be good for stability if you are an absolute beginner, and of course are a cheaper option, some people prefer them for non-coastal waters or calmer currents. If, however, you think you will be using your board a lot, the foam or PVC materials are probably a better option due to its flexibility and durability. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the wooden model is more durable, but due to the fact it has no flex when pressure is applied, and will simply crack or break. Some skimboards are better than others at this.

The shape of a board is also something to think about. You’re likely to hear the term ‘rocker’ when it comes to skimboards and other types of surf boards, which is basically how much of a curvature the skimboard has. A lot of curve can make it easier to maneuver through the water and the sand, but it can also make the board slower. If you want something that will be quick across the water then a shallow curve or ‘rocker’ is probably the best option for you. Tails also have different shapes, some are square or ‘W’ shaped, which are great for flexibility. A ‘pintail’ shape is better for stability and allows you to keep steady and balanced in the water.

The “Wrap”

Having talked a little about the core of a board, it should be noted that there is also a ‘wrap’ around the outside. This material has an impact on how durable a board is and even how it performs. There are a few different wraps you’re likely to come across. E-Glass is a popular choice for the cheaper, lower end models, which is pretty flexible but also not unlikely to break. Carbon is the higher end choice and makes the board very strong, even when it comes up against waves, rocks, shells and the rest of the perils of the sea! Mid range boards tend to be S-Glass or Texilium, it is much stiffer than E-Glass but doesn’t have the speed of movement you get from carbon.

The Best Skimboard Brands

There are so many models of skimboard out there, but in reality most of them are made by three or four good quality brands. One of the best ways to go through the recommended models is to discuss each brand and what they have to offer.

Zap Skimboards

Zap are a very cool brand in the world of skimboards. They’re based in Florida where skimming and watersports happen all year! The build quality on these boards is excellent and you can tell just from holding one that love and care have been put into the design and manufacture. Most of their boards are made with a foam core and are renowned for flexibility, which is why a huge amount of them are used by the professional skimboarders and watersport enthusiasts, as you can see on their website.

Zap’s boards are made in the UK with quality at the forefront of their design morals, and it shows. The slogan ‘handmade in the USA’ is emblazoned with pride on their marketing material. They’ve got quite the following and even sell merchandise as well as skimboard bags.

Recommended models of Zap Skimboard:

Amp – Zap’s Amp skimboards are fast, very fast. If you’re serious about the sport and want something with some serious go across the water, this is a great option for you. It is quite a thin and streamlined model with 3/4 tapered rails allowing you both a lot of float and the ability to maneuver across the water. It is available in the bigger sizes you’re likely to see. 50, 52, 54 and 56 inch models.

Pufferfish – A much more forgiving model of skimboard. It is longer and wider than a lot of the models out there and allows you to balance with ease even in slightly choppier water. Comes in a 53 inch size which is great for most beginners and those who are back foot heavy on the board.

Zap Wedge – The manufacturer describes this as the ‘work horse’ of their skimboard lineup. It is amazing no matter what your ability and comes in three different sizes so you can find something suitable no matter what your size and style. Not only is this great for beginners, as your skills start to grow you won’t find yourself restricted by the Wedge. Strong, durable and pretty simple to get to grips with, the Wedge is an amazing skimboard and one of the most popular we’ve come across.

M5 – If you’re looking for a model that is great for professional use, the M5 has the perfect balance of speed, performance and durability and is designed to be used in a professional setting. It costs a little extra but the quality is evident.

Victoria Skimboards

Victoria describe themselves as ‘the original skimboard manufacturer’. They have been manufacturing from their base in California for over 40 years and have skimboards ranging from beginner models all the way up to pro models.

Grommet – The Grommet is designed for mainly smaller built users and beginners, a lot of younger people learn to skim on the Grommet board which is lightweight and flexible whilst also being durable. It is easy to stay on top of as well as having enough maneuvrability to start to learn tricks. There are five different sizes available so you can find something perfect for you, but the smaller models are definitely recommended for children and younger people to get to grips with skimming.

Bigfoot – If you have a larger build, then it can be hard to find a skimboard to use, but the problem has been addressed by Victoria who made the Bigfoot. In their words it is ‘designed to take a pounding’ and we’ve found it excellent for anyone who still wants to be able to skim but is well over 6 foot or even carrying a few extra pounds. The best skimboard for larger builds.

The Woody – The Woody has been manufactured for nearly 40 years now and is nothing short of iconic in the world of skimboards. As you might have guessed, it is made out of wood, but not just any wood, Russian Birch is used to ensure that this can take a beating and is less likely to warp or break than a lot of the lower priced wooden models you can find under $100. The Woody is an ‘all rounder’ and is good for people of all different shapes and sizes, as there are six different variations which accommodate little people (from 30 lbs) all the way up to 210 lb riders.

Budget Option – Wave Rebel Local Motion

Skimboards can cost a fair amount of money and if you’re a beginner you may want to find something that doesn’t cost the earth but can still get you started. Some beginners are looking for skimboards under $100 or even under $50, and this can sometimes be tough, though there are some wooden options available for a good price and allow you to learn the basics.

The Wave Rebel Local Motion is a board with a lot of good reviews, and while it doesn’t quite hold up to the standards of some of the elite and professional boards, it is a decent beginners option or board for the casual user.

The board is made of wood and has a slight curve, and is made with a very sturdy design, easier to stay on top of than some of the more advanced boards, and therefore great for beginners. The board has 35 inch, 40 inch and 45 inch sizes all of which have slightly different capacities.

Conclusion

Our guide is designed to help you to work out the ins and outs of finding an appropriate skimboard for your use, whether you are an absolute beginner or a pro. There is a board out there to suit everyone, from children to teenagers, small adults to larger builds, it is simply a case of finding which one will best suit your own body type and needs. If you have any experience with the boards mentioned above, or have another skimboard to mention, feel free to leave a comment below.

Skimboarding is one of the most thrilling watersports out there, and it is accessible and simple to get into. It can be made a lot more fun by choosing the right board for you!

Overcoming a Fear of Water for Swimming and Watersports

overcoming fear of waterWatersports and swimming are growing in popularity all the time. They’re great for your fitness, can be very refreshing and such great fun whether you’re alone or with others. Speaking as someone who has experienced fear of water in my younger years, I’ve put together a guide on how to overcome the feat of water and to make the most out of everything the water has to offer.

The science of our fears and where they come from is often hard to comprehend, but working out where your fear came from may be pretty simple, and can go a long way towards working out the method to conquer it. Many common causes of a fear of the water are listed below. Remember, it isn’t unnatural to be scared of it, and most of us at some point have some sort of trepidation.

  • If you have had a bad experience involving water, it is likely to have a big impact on how you view watersports and other activities involving scenarios where you can end up in the drink!
  • If you have been taught how to swim before, in school or otherwise, you may not have enjoyed it, and sometimes swimming teachers can be pushy, this can cause some anxieties about swimming later in life.
  • If you have grown up with parents who are scared of the water or who have an anxious nature, this may have been passed along to you, subconsciously or otherwise.
  • Biologically speaking, fear can just be inherent. The sea must be respected and can cause injury, so in the same way we may be scared of snakes, water can be a scary prospect.
  • It may not be the water itself, but what is underneath it that is worrying. This fear is more justified in some parts of the world than in others, and precautions should be taken.

As already mentioned briefly, there’s no shame in being a little afraid, and it is perfectly natural, but the truth is that if you let this affect how adept you are in the water, you could be at more risk should something happen. The safest way to take to the water is confidently, and having at least some basic skills could even save your life. Being comfortable underwater or at least in the water is important.

Here are some of our tips and exercises for getting more comfortable with the water

  • Head to the pool before the sea. As well as having lifeguards (many beaches will have this too) you will take a lot of the natural uncertainty out of the equation in a ‘controlled’ environment.
  • DON’T “jump in at the deep end” – this is a cliche, and not one that works. If you take it too fast then it will likely show and you will put yourself off. Go at your own pace and success is much more likely.
  • When it comes to submerging your face (something most of us struggle with) go a little bit at a time. Start with your mouth, then gradually nose, ears and eyes, each one has its own challenges as your senses get altered, and you don’t have to take them all on at once.
  • Start out where you have something to hold. Going into the middle of a pool is probably not the best idea. Whilst developing your skills, stay close to the edge of the pool where you can grab the sides if needed.
  • Go with a friend. This not only helps in terms of moral support, it also gives you the peace of mind of knowing should anything happen you have some help.
  • Practice floating. This is an unnatural thing at first, but humans are buoyant by their very nature, and if you’re not floating it is because you are resisting. Practice makes perfect.

When you’re learning to swim, getting used to being dunked in the water during surfing or other watersports, it is important to be safe at all times and not go out on your own. Taking it at your own pace is vital, and as the old saying goes, ‘don’t run before you can walk’. Be in the water as much as you can and get comfortable and confident at your own speed.

Four of the Best Bodyboards Plus Bodyboard Buying Guide

best bodyboard reviews and buying guideBodyboarding or ‘boogieboarding’ as it is sometimes called, is a fun, tough and rewarding water sport. It can trace its origins to hundreds of years ago but has become popular in the mainstream in the last 40 years or so. A bodyboard is a relatively simple concept, but finding the best bodyboard for your own needs can be the difference between surfing the waves with ease and ending up frustrated trying to pick up the hobby.

Bodyboard Basics

A bodyboard is a short square or rectangle made up of hydrodynamic foam, and tend to have a plastic bottom, as well as a softer top, also made of foam, this is known as the ‘deck’. The foam sides of the board are commonly referred to as the ‘rails’. Different models make these out of different materials and this can give the user of the board different levels of control and flexibility.

Modern bodyboards tend to have some sort of carbon or graphite rod within them, this is designed to make the board a little stronger and reduce the chances of it warping in shape. It also helps add speed and power to the user and give you more control on the waves you’re inevitably going to be surfing.

Boards tend to have different shapes and curvatures which will have an impact on how it feels to the user and the characteristics of the ride. If it is wider near to the nose then it is good for prone riding (with stomach fully on top of the board) and more of a narrow design at the nose is better suited to stand-up or drop-knee surfing as your body weight will be further back on the board.

As you can tell, there are a few technical terms involved, but they’re not overly complicated and are easy to get used to, especially if you’re already a surfer or know a little about bodyboarding. If you are a beginner, don’t worry, as our bodyboard reviews will talk you through the pros and cons of each model, and whether it is suitable for you.

The riding forms of a bodyboard are vital to understand. Check them out in the bodyboard wikipedia page for an understanding of how you can ride a bodyboard.

Buying Guide

Here is a quick run down of the inevitable considerations when it comes to buying your bodyboard, and the features to look out for when trying to find the most suitable board.

  • Size. This is vital, and your weight as well as your height should be considered when you are deciding. As a rough rule of thumb, the board should reach from your knees to your chin when you hold it. If you’re a bit heavier, then you should think about a wider bodyboard which will help you to float and ride with a lot more ease.
  • The Nose. This is the part at the front of the board as you lay forward on it, and it will have an impact on how you move across the water. A wide board will be 11-13 inches, great for prone riding. This is designed for stability, but if you are going to ride drop-knee then you will want something 10 inches or lower. Choosing something too wide can cost you a lot of your manoeuvrability, but if you go for something really narrow the control can be difficult to master. It basically depends how fast you want to move.
  • Your ability. This will make an impact on your buying choice, the best bodyboard for beginners is not going to be the same as that for a pro. As you get better, you will likely know which features you prefer and can sacrifice a bit of the stability for speed and flex.
  • Price. Finding the best cheap bodyboard or at least a good value for money bodyboard (under $100) will be high on the list for a lot of people. Price tends to play a part in the buying choice.

PE vs PP Bodyboards

These are two terms you’re likely to hear on your search for a bodyboard.

Extruded polyethylene (PE) is also sometimes referred to as Dow Core, but different chemical companies sometimes give it different names. They’re historically the most popular material of bodyboard, but as it has become an environmental concern and the strength has been compromised recently some people have turned to PP. PP is also a good choice for beginners. PP offers water resistance, durability and is very light.

There is no simple ‘best’ between PE and PP and different models of bodyboard make the most of different materials, so it is worth looking at the individual bodyboard reviews below to decipher which is the best for you.

Bodyboard Reviews: Counting Down the Best Models

Best Morey Body Boards:

Morey are a brand with a lot to offer in the world of bodyboards, and we have a few of their products on our ‘best of’ list. The story behind the company is awesome. From their own website:

“On July 7, 1971, the bodyboard was born. Tom Morey borrowed an electric carving knife and a household iron, whittled some scrap polyethylene foam into a small rectangular mat and covered it with newspaper. He trademarked the name and placed and placed an ad in surfing magazine. By 1977 he was producing 80,000 per year.”

Morey Cruiser 42.5″ Body Board

Designed as a full sized board which is great for those just starting out as well as intermediate and advanced users. The board has a crescent tail, a bottom skin with channels and a wrist leash to make sure it doesn’t slip off and go missing. They’ve built it to be used by riders who are 5’9 and up and who weigh somewhere between 160 and 185 lbs, but there are reviews where people larger and smaller have said that they use this board with no issues. 42.5 inches is a versatile size and can be used by a wide range of users.

Versatility is one of the positives of this board, and it offers a good middle ground where it gives plenty of buoyancy and stability whilst still being fast across the water and great for those who want to learn more and become more advanced bodyboarders. The Morey Cruiser gets the thumbs up from us, all at a pretty good price, too!

Morey Big KahunaThe Big Kahuna is a bit more of an intermediate to advanced version that can still be bought at a good price. It is 44 inches and this makes it great for slightly larger users and those with bigger builds. Extremely durable and in their own words this is designed to ride ‘hard and long’. Big Kahuna reviews are generally very positive and show what a reliable brand they have become. The features include:

  • 44″ design perfect is for people over 5’10″/185 lbs or more.
  • Strong carbon tube within the board provides a lot of strength and solidity.
  • PE (polyethylene) core, strong and suitable for both cold and warm water.
  • Crescent tail assists in your body positioning and gives a lot more control over the board.
  • Extremely durable and high quality whilst retaining quality.

662 Sixsixtwo Splash Bodyboard

The SixSixTwo splash board is made of high quality EPS foam with a slick bottom. The performance of this is very good, which is further helped by its crescent tail, which makes it a very manoeuvrable model of bodyboard which is very strong and stays water resistant in all sorts of conditions.

It has a leash to make sure that the board doesn’t slip off and can stay attached to you at all times, and there are fin tethers included which keep the fins in place. The bottom of this board is very fast and slick and lets you swoop across the water at some speed.

This model may not be the best choice for a 6 ft 5 bodybuilder, but it is great for children and those with a smaller frame. Its 36 inch design is amazing for those looking for a high quality small and flexible board which can give a lot of speed across the waves.

Bodyboard & Full Beach Pack by BPS

BPS is short for Bulletproof Surf, and the brand are making a name for themselves in lots of different areas of water sports. Their offering in terms of bodyboards is a ‘full beach pack’ with everything you need to get out on the water on your bodyboard.

This comes with an ultra-lite body board, which is available in multiple sizes (this is a real plus point and not something every bodyboard brand offers). It also has a leash and a set of tethers to keep your swim fins attached and ensure they don’t get lost at sea.

This is one of the cheapest bodyboards we’ve seen on offer and though it may not be as rugged and durable as some of the high end models, it is great for beginners and the fact that it comes as a set is a real positive. Perfect for families and hobbyists who want to try bodyboarding for the first time. It probably won’t be the fastest, but the lightweight, portable and easy to use board set is great value for money and a good starting point. It is also available in blue and pink, especially good if you’ve got kids and can let them choose their favorite color.

Conclusion

Once you get past a bit of the jargon and understand what criteria make up the best bodyboard it is relatively simple to pick the best one for your own needs. As you can see, the size and build of the user is going to play a big part in the decision. There are certain brands in the world of water sports we have come to love and trust, and in the bodyboard world this is no different, with Morey and BPS being among the best.

As we’ve alluded to, what is best for one person may not be best for someone else, and taking a little time to delve into individual bodyboard reviews and learn what you like when out on the water, as well as evaluating your own skills, can play a huge part in any buying decision you make.

Whether you call it bodyboarding or boogieboarding, this is a very rewarding and enjoyable sport that can help you enjoy the sea, stay fit and have a great time either alone or with family. Getting the right board is vital.