In the Summer, a swim suit would do when paddling. On breezier days, a t-shirt, rashguard (a long-sleeved top with materials made to protect the skin from the sun), board shorts, or any other clothing made from synthetic materials could be worn. To protect your skin, choose materials with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating, and a hat. To protect your eyes from the sun’s glare, have a pair of sunglasses ready. The sunglasses also help to prevent water from being splashed into your eyes. If you are going to wear glasses, be sure to secure it to yourself with a cord. At one time, a member lost his $400 pair of glasses which fell to the bottom of the lake. For the newest fashions in Summer paddling clothing, have a look at clothing for surfers.
In the Winter, the clothes to choose are synthetic layers. As the saying goes, cotton is rotten when it is wet. Long sleeves for tops and long pants in polyester or wool should keep you warm and repel some water. Neoprene tops and bottoms will do as long as you do not mind struggling to get in and out of your gear. Get a light water repellent jacket to go on top of the layers. As for your feet, choose neoprene socks to keep your feet somewhat dry and warm. It does get uncomfortable when your bare feet touches the cold, wet, metal foot brace. Shoes are not permitted in the kayaks or canoes. For fashions in Winter paddling clothing, visit a store for whitewater kayakers.
Lifejackets are recommended for athletes 16 years old and under. If you fall into the water, you will use less energy when swimming towards the shore. Unlike sea kayaks, you cannot “roll” in a sprint kayak. Once you fall out, the only way you can crawl back in is if you are a super athlete with excellent balancing skills. Have a pealess whistle attached to the lifejacket to let the person in the safety boat know where you are. A lifejacket with pockets is handy for holding extra stuff you want to take with you.
When in competitions, it is a rule to wear a singlet to let the judges know which club you belong to. To get one, ask your coach or a club executive.