Summer Essentials for Dragon Boat Paddlers

With summer approaching for those of us in the northern hemisphere, paddle season is getting under way and we are heading back out onto the water. It’s an exciting time. We are dusting off our summer gear and perhaps looking for some new favorites. I wanted to share with you a few of my absolute summer must-haves. These are things that I can’t live without and, whenever possible, I have included a photo of me using them, just to show you how much I love them! I promise to only recommend things that I absolutely adore, so you can be sure that these products are 100% amazing.

1) My Nike Featherlight visor is my lucky visor. It is super lightweight (hence the name), provides great protection from the sun, and comes in loads of fun bright colors guaranteed to match any team jersey (if you’re into matching your outfits). They also have a men’s version. I love my visor so much that I have been known to turn my crew around during practice to go pick it up in strong winds if it flies off my head and ends up in the water. (You will see this visor in most all of my photos…)

Paddlechica Visor


2) My friends know how much I love my flip flops. I spend my life in them. OluKai Ohana flip flops give me great arch support and the footbed is super soft. As a bonus, they are waterproof, so I can go in and out of the water whenever I need to (which is pretty much all the time).

Paddlechica Flip Flops 3

Yes, I have a thing for taking pictures of my feet in cool places. This was in La Jolla, California, near where I grew up.


3) Roxy boardshorts with elastane have that nice stretch to them which makes them super comfy and fast-drying. You can reach and rotate without being constricted by your shorts. I wear them in all different colors, but also love the fun patterns. I tend to wear a pair of compression shorts underneath them for a little extra paddling to avoid those dreaded butt blisters.

Photo: Didi Fisher Weinreb

4) I love my Hornet paddles and now they have loads of awesome new designs! Enter code “paddlechica” for a discount on your new Hornet paddle.

Paddlechica Hornet Paddle In the Water

Sporting my American pride with my Hornet paddle.

5) Sea Specs are by far my favorite sunglasses for paddling. They have an adjustable non-removable strap that is super comfortable, really secure and easily adjustable with one hand. The polarized lenses help me spot cool things underwater like sharks, rays, dolphins and manatees. And the best thing? They float if they (or you!) fall in the water. So, if I huli on my OC, I won’t lose my Sea Specs!

Paddlechica Sea Specs Nike Visor 2

Loading up the boat for our paddle through the Panama Canal, wearing my Sea Specs and lucky Nike visor. Photo: Sandra Gordon Foley


6) My Volcom rashguard protects me from the sun and keeps me cool. I wore it on my three-day paddle through the Panama canal and never once got burned or felt hot and we were only 9 degrees north of the equator (so you can imagine how HOT it was!). When it gets wet, this rashguard actually cools you down.

Paddlechica Sea Specs Nike Visor

Keeping cool in my Volcom rashguard. Photo: Sandra Gordon Foley


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7) I have hunted and hunted for lip protection. Spending so much time in the sun, my lips were sunburned more often than not, which is really painful. I finally found Eco Lips, a great SPF 15 sunscreen for lips that has zinc as well as spearmint and peppermint organic essential oils. Their organic and fair trade ingredients are a bonus to how well their lip protection works!

Paddlechica Eco Lips

8) The Chill Pad cooling towel is a great way to keep yourself cool during those scorching practices or long days at the races. Just soak it in cold water, wring it out, snap it, and you are good to go. Not only does it come with a lifetime guarantee, but the company is so confident you will love it that they give you a money back guarantee. With that kind of assurance, how can you go wrong?

Paddlechica Chill Pal

9) If a race site has trees (or basically anything sturdy) nearby, you might have a tough time marshalling for your next heat when you relax in this hammock by Eagles Nest Outfitters. Made of breathable, quick-drying nylon, this hammock packs down to a small bundle the size of a softball, so transporting it along with the rest of your gear won’t be an issue. Adding in suspension straps will let you hang the hammock between 2 points up to 20 feet apart. Can’t find two trees? You can attach these to the roof racks of two parked cars to hang the hammock between them. How cool is that?

Paddlechica Eno Hammock Christianne Maigre

Photo provided by: Christianne Maigre


10) I absolutely adore my Thule roof racks. I have the square roof rack bars and the foot packs. I added on the fairing to alleviate the wind impact because when I first got my racks and drove at high speeds, it sounded like a jet engine was taking off on my roof. Thule has since made its Aeroblade roof rack bars, which seem like a quieter option. It’s important to be able to take your toys with you this summer. I regularly carry my OC or SUP on my Thule racks and even drove all the way from Miami to Toronto last week with both strapped on tightly.

Paddlechica Thule Racks Paul

My Thule racks easily hold my SUP and my OC. Photo Paul Verscheure


11) Speaking of straps, I fell in love with the Kanulock straps on my long journey north. These are stainless steel, padded straps which can be locked at the tie-down buckles and cannot be cut so you can leave your OC or SUP on your roof rack and not worry about it being taken.

Paddlechica Kanulocks

Paddlechica Kanulocks 2

They may not be easy to see (look for the green locking buckles), but the Kanulocks were awesome on my SUP board (in the turquoise board bag).


12) I love to capture fun things on my Go Pro, plus it often works well as a coaching tool. There are tons of great attachments to help mount your GoPro. I use the Jaws clamp mount, the suction cup mount, and the headstrap mount the most.  I always make sure to have a floaty on the back of my GoPro because I saw what happened to Bob Mina’s Go Pro in the Hong Kong Harbor! (Think of it as a life vest for your GoPro.)

Paddlechica GoPro Jan Oakley

I am using my GoPro on the Jaws mount here (though I didn’t clamp it to anything) with my floaty on the back. Photo: Jan Oakley


13) Moji is the best massage tool I’ve found. It has seven stainless steel massage spheres and an adjustable strap to fit comfortably around your hand. Simply fit it into your palm and start kneading those sore muscles. I was first introduced to Moji by a teammate when competing at Worlds in Hungary. I loved it so much that I immediately got online using my phone and ordered one. By the time I got back home it was waiting there for me and I have been in love with it ever since.

Paddlechica Goji Paddlechica Goji Arm


14) The Onyx belt pack life vest is a great way to stay safe without the bulk of the traditional life vests. I love the Onxy brand because it is nice and compact and has a small zippered pocket where I can tuck my key and my Eco Lips sun protection.

Paddlechica Boardshorts 5

Photo: Didi Fisher Weinreb

So, there is my list of favorite summer essentials that I can’t do without. Hopefully these will help you get ready for a fabulous summer out on the water as you and your teammates head into a great season. I’m always looking for new things to try out. What are some of your favorites?

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2 Discussion to this post

  1. TK (aka Takako Kimura) says:

    Last year, you wrote about a sunscreen product — AVASOL. Based on this recommendation, I bought some. I love the stuff!!
    Do you still use this product or do you have other products you are trying/using.
    By the way, I am impressed how you can stand on the gunwales while steering!

    • Paddlechica says:

      I do still use Avasol and love it. I also use Bullfrog occasionally, but I certainly appreciate Avasol’s commitment to the environment.

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