Red Flags To Look Out For When Renting Paddling Gear (Plus Safety Tips)

By Tom Gaffey.

When you go paddling on vacation or are visiting a new aquatic location on a whim, then you need to find some paddling gear. Unless you bring an inflatable kayak or SUP board with you everywhere, then this means renting a paddling vessel and all the equipment that goes with it. In most parts of the world, this is a fairly simple and affordable process, but there are some potential dangers to keep in mind.

While many paddling rental businesses take amazing care of the gear and pride themselves on quality, this is not necessarily a universal standard. In fact, the more I travel the world, the moreI have found myself in situations when the gear that is handed to me is not only junky but flat-out dangerous. The good news is it is usually easy to request better and safer items, but knowing what to look out for is the key.

Some major red flags to search for when renting paddling gear include large dents, gauges, or cracks on either the paddling vessel or the paddle. Look at any ropes or bungees and check for wear and tear, especially fraying. Ensure the life jacket has all its parts, and the buckles and straps are in good shape. Check the reviews online for the company before renting, and read through the liability waiver carefully.

Renting paddling gear is something every kayak and SUP lover and novice alike will do when visiting iconic paddling destinations. Regardless of your skill level, you must keep an eye out for potential safety concerns with the rental equipment you are given. Keep reading to learn about all the major red flags to look out for when you rent paddling equipment and tips to help keep you safe when paddling with rented gear.