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Nose Plugs and Ear Plugs

by Jim Sullivan

Have you ever flipped over and experienced the terrible, incapacitating, sensation of water rushing up your nose, leaving you sputtering and coughing upon resurfacing? Water up the nose might be one of the most unpleasant experiences in all of kayaking, and I never go out on the river without a pair of Cottonmouth Nose Plugs. It’s hard to predict a swim, but when you know you’re in a rapid or a feature that has a good chance of flipping you, it might be a good idea to throw on those nose plugs before dropping in.

Yes, they’re not the most attractive thing to have dangling off your face or your shiny new helmet. You might even get some flack from your fellow paddlers who swear they don’t need nose plugs when they flip upside-down. Don’t let them bring you down! It’s all about being comfortable when you roll up or wet exit and being able to focus on whatever’s next. They also help keep you from feeling waterlogged from a bunch of rolling practice.

Another often overlooked, but very important paddling tool are ear plugs. Our favorites are Docs Pro Plugs. The design mimics what you could get from a professional doctors office and even has a small vent hole that allows you to hear. The best part about these is that they don't push gunk deep into your ear canal. If you plan on paddling often, they really help prevent surfers ear, a slow bone growth inside your ear canal that eventually may have to be removed surgically. These little guys help prevent that painful surgery. They are easy to clean and care for with a quick alcohol pad before use. It's important to be sized properly for them so come on in and our professional staff will get you measured up.

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