Kayak Maintenance & Organization Checklist (aka The Lemonade Challenge for Kayakers)
If you’re like most of the world right now, you’ve done enough of social distancing and sheltering in place to last a lifetime. Being stuck at home or at your business can feel isolating, not to mention boring.
To try to make lemonade out of the lemons we’ve all been given, we created the Lemonade Challenge. The challenge is targeted to anyone affiliated with kayaking, whether that be individual paddlers, non-profit or veterans adaptive paddling programs, or kayak retailers or rental facilities.
How Kayakers Can Make the Most of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The rules are simple: complete at least one of the suggested activities for each of the challenges. Some are geared to individuals (noted with an I), some to paddling-related businesses and organizations (noted with an O). You choose the timeframe for completing each challenge. Maybe it’s one challenge per week, one every three days, or if you’re really ambitious, one every day!
Each challenge will focus on a different area of life, including health, finances, administration, family/co-workers and social life. Angle Oar LLC will release a new challenge roughly every three days. As a new one is released, we’ll add them to this blog. You can also look for them on our Facebook page, Instagram and other social channels.
Once you’ve completed each challenge, post a photo of your accomplishment and tag us at @AngleOar
Challenge #1: Get Organized!
Build or purchase a storage system for your kayaks. There are lots of options, including wall mounts and hooks, floor stands or ceiling hoists. You might even have enough spare wood, brackets and hardware around to create your own. While you’re at it, de-clutter your garage or storage space. (I or O)
Find out the renewal dates for your fishing license, boat launch permit or park passes and take care of them now or put a note in your calendar. (I or O)
Organize your fishing gear. Inventory all your items (e.g., lures, hooks, rod holders, leader lines, safety equipment, nets, etc.). Eliminate unnecessary duplicates or broken items and identify any items you’d like to add to your collection. Take the time now to re-tie lures, re-spool reels and handle any other tedious chore you put off during the regular season. Once you’ve organized your gear, watch this video from Paddling.com to learn how to stay organized when you’re actually out fishing. (I or O)
Take an inventory of all equipment in your adaptive paddling program, rental facility or outfitting business, making note of quantities, brands and condition. Note any needed repairs or missing parts. Eliminate duplicate or obsolete items. Start an equipment wish list and research pricing. Maybe you’re thinking of adding an adaptive kayak paddle, like Versa or perhaps some stabilizing outriggers. (O)
Challenge #2: Maintain Your Gear
Do a maintenance check on your kayak(s). First off, make sure it's stored properly, ideally, out of the elements in a cool, dry place; if outside, in shade with cockpit side down or covered. Inspect the kayak. Do any holes need to be resealed or repaired? Is there any loose hardware? Have handles, bungees or mounts broken and need replacing? Are the mounting tracks functioning properly or are they filled with sand or debris? Are fish finders and other battery-, solar- or motor-powered equipment all in working order? Are your rudders or outriggers in good shape? (I or O)
Whether you're a kayak rental company, universal paddling program or simply a conscientious paddler, check the safety of all your equipment. Is the PFD functioning properly (e.g., no missing or torn buckles)? What about the paddle leash, bilge pump or safety whistle? Does your primary paddle have any cracks? Do you have an emergency backup paddle for each kayak? (I or O)
Clean your kayak(s). Rinse it with a hose, then use soapy water and sponge, and rinse again. Some anglers use bug spray or stronger cleaners to remove blood stains and debris. Don't forget the console, foot braces and seat. If you live near the ocean you might even consider getting out a handheld vac or hose attachment to get stubborn sand out of cracks and crevices. Just be sure your kayak is dry when you do. Finally, use a spray protectant when you're done for added UV protection. (I or O)
All that caked on live bait, dried blood stains and weed remnants aren't going to clean themselves. It's a yucky job, but somebody's got to do it: clean your fishing gear, that is. Use your garage or storage area, or if it's nice out, do it outside. Take this time to rinse and wipe bait tank, clean gunk of stringers, hooks and gaffs. Check your tools. Could your reels, rods or lures benefit from some TLC? Don't forget the anchor, rudder and outriggers. (I or O)
Challenge #3: Stay Connected
Write and send three handwritten notes of appreciation to past or current customers, co-workers or volunteers. If you're not associated with a kayaking organization, mail notes to old college friends, an older relative or a word of encouragement or thanks to a local small business. (I or O)
Host a Facebook Live event to preview new equipment or demonstrate a skill or try Skype, WebEx or Zoom to host a virtual get together. (I or O)
Post a favorite paddling picture or article on one of your kayaking social media groups and/or forward this challenge to a paddling colleague or organization. (Hint: Click on the three vertical dots on the top right of this page to share.) (I or O)
Reach out to a long-lost friend(s) to plan a paddling trip or get-together for later this year. If you're an organization, pick up the phone and pull together that joint event or collaboration you've been thinking about for so long. (I or O)
Challenge #4: Get Healthy
Do an outdoor activity that will build your endurance for the season (e.g., cycling, hiking). Bonus points if you do it with a family member. (I)
Calm your mind with a meditative activity like gardening, a puzzle or even a mandala coloring book. (I)
Improve your flexibility and joint health by doing an online yoga or stretching class geared for paddlers, such as this one. (I)
Find and complete a kayak-specific strength-and skill-building video, like this one from Kayak Angler Magazine. (I)
Declutter one room of your home or business. It can actually reduce anxiety, and you’ll feel more relaxed when things are in order. (I or O)