• Beach Shack Surf School

Guide to Hiring watersport equipment

Here at Beach Shack Surf School in Hayle, Cornwall we don’t just do surf lessons, we also hire out a range of watersports equipment and kit. We check all our equipment and make sure our prices are reasonable (probably the best around). We also give guidance about using/wearing it to make sure you have the best experience possible, but we know from experience that unfortunately some places don’t.

Bearing this in mind we thought a guide to hiring watersports equipment and kit would be helpful to you, so that you know what to expect and check for. Hiring equipment can be confusing and sometimes a bit daunting when faced with watersport professionals that aren’t as helpful and sometimes honest as us here at Beach Shack Surf School.

So let’s get started.....

Wetsuits: Probably the most popular thing we hire out. We hire out 3/2mm full length wetsuits (Summer suits). This means the thickness of the suit is 3mm thick on the chest and back and 2mm thick on the legs and arms. These suits are warm enough from May time through till October time, roughly when the sea temperature is between 11 and 14 degrees. The full length means it has long legs and arms.

There are suits that are 4/3mm, 5/3mm and 5/4mm, but these are less common in hire shops. We have 5/4mm (5mm chest/back thickness and 4mm legs and arms), but they are mainly used for surf lessons.

When hiring a wetsuit make sure the suit is tight, if it is easy to get in the chances are it is too big. It is never easy trying on a suit, but a handy tip is to put a plastic bag on your foot to slide your foot into the suit. Make sure it is not inside out as this is how they are usually hung to dry and maybe handed to you inside out. The zip goes at the back (usually, unless its a chest zip). Make sure before trying to put your arms in that the suit is fully over your hips and not all bunched by your ankles. Get one arm fully in before putting the other one in. If you do find the suit rubs your neck (which can happen) a good blob of vaseline around your neck will stop this. The wetsuit should be tight on the legs and shoulders especially, but not so tight you can’t move!! The suits will loosen up as soon as they get wet and if they flush water in, it’s too big. The hire place should let you swap to a different size at no charge.

Check the suit has no holes and the zip works, as you usually have to sign a form to say any damage you cause has to be paid for. The suit should be in good condition but just in case check it over!

Boards/Kayaks: Whether it is a surfboard, bodyboard, kayak or stand-up paddle board, you must check it over. Check the fins in the stand-up/surf boards are secure and don’t wobble (there are usually 3, but could be 1). Pull the leash at the board end hard and the other end to make sure it is strong and then open and close the Velcro to make sure it is sticking well. The leash attaches you to your board so it needs to be working for your safety, plus if you lose the board you will have to pay for it.

If you are hiring an inflatable SUP make sure it is solid, it should be REALLY hard. Ensure your paddle is in good condition. The hire shop should check you know how to paddle it, if not at least show you the basics. They should also size up your paddle for you, if it has holes for changing heights be aware this will sink in the sea, so hold onto it!!

Same with inflatable Kayaks which are less common, they should be solid. You should be given a paddle and shown how to paddle. You should be issued and fitted with a buoyancy aid, it should be tight and not come over your head. Check the equipment again especially the buckles and zips.

Most kayaks are the sit on top versions now which are very hard. When you are assigned one, lift it from one end and sway it side to side, if you hear or feel movement inside it probably has water in it which just needs to be emptied out. If there is loads in it, then there is a hole somewhere and don’t take it. There are bungs (usually at one end) which you should make sure is done up tightly.

The main thing when hiring any watersports equipment is to check it is in good condition, hire equipment gets used a lot so it may have the odd mark etc, but if you are worried just ask the shop. Most places you hire from will be happy to help and if you have any questions just ask. I know that here at Beach Shack Surf School we pride ourselves on being helpful and will go above and beyond to help you out.

Anyway we can't think of anything else at the moment, but if you think of anything or have any questions drop us an email: beachshacksurf@yahoo.com we would be happy to get any feedback or other ideas.

He is our hire/rental price list below and we hope to see you soon at Beach Shack Surf School, Beachside Holiday Park, Hayle Cornwall.

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