Kayaking can definitely be a fun activity as long as you are in good health and adhere to the safety norms. It is not only about your physical fitness level or any health conditions that you should take into account. You may or may not be suitable for kayaking after getting a tattoo done. While getting a tattoo on your arm, neck and other body parts may make you look suave and stylish, based on the healing stage, you may not be ready for kayaking. It is better that you weigh the pros and cons before heading to paddling post getting a tattoo done.
So, How Long Should I Wait After A Tattoo To Indulge In Kayaking?
In most cases, veteran tattoo artists offer aftercare instructions to their customers. So, the artists should update you about the expected recovery period and guide you regarding steps that promote faster healing. Ideally, you would be told not to expose the skin area to water for a number of days. Based on the design and size of the tattoo, the healing period can stretch into 2- 3 weeks. Tattoos are, after all, like open wounds in skin and they need some time to heal. You may ask the tattoo artist about the timing deemed safe for kayaking after getting the job done. On an average, you should be able to do kayaking after 3 weeks of getting a tattoo.
What Are The Risks That You Should Be Concerned About?
The major risks of indulging in kayaking after getting a tattoo are:
- If you have delicate skin, the risk of getting a skin infection is very much there. The tattooed skin is vulnerable and exposure to salt water can cause infection. It can also enhance the pain in the area. So, the healing process can get slower.
- If the tattoo is not dry, the ink may get washed out to an extent. That may not look nice and the skin area may have a washed out look.
Does The Tattoo Location Matter Here?
The answer is yes, to an extent, it does. If you have got the tattoo in a part that is less likely to get exposed to water, the risks are less. The clothing that you use also comes into the picture here. If the tattoo is covered by layers of clothing, even partly, that may be safe. Tattoos done on body parts that move a lot, take longer to heal.
Can Wearing Protective Clothing Help?
A lot of people resort to wearing dry suits or waterproof clothing to indulge in kayaking after getting tattooed. This can be helpful to safeguard the tattooed skin but it is not exactly a fail-proof solution. Besides, you have to think of the climate condition. In winter months, wearing extra layers of clothing for kayaking is prudent. However, the same cannot be said for kayaking in humid days of summer. Wearing an extra layer of clothing in summer can make the skin sweat profusely, which will only worsen the situation.
What If I Choose A Calm Water Body For Kayaking?
Kayaking in a calm water body does help reduce the risk of tattoo getting exposed to water, to an extent. You may choose calm artificial lakes, for example. However, some amount of splashing may still take place, at times. It is better to evade kayaking in rivers with strong currents or the sea when you have got a tattoo done.
What If My Tattoo Has Already Been Exposed To Water While Paddling?
It may so happen that despite taking required precautions like choosing a calm water body and using protective clothing while paddling, your tattoo has got wet by splashes of water. All is not lost though! Take remedial measures as soon as you get back home. Clean the tattooed skin region with a mild antibacterial or herbal soap to reduce the risk of infection. Then, pat dry using a soft dry towel. Follow it up by using aloe Vera lotion or skin cream with antibacterial ingredients in it.
Can Paddling Hurt Tattoo Done On Arm And Shoulder?
It is a fact that a new tattoo makes the skin sore and itchy and this sensation persists during the healing period. Paddling does put some amount of stress on shoulder and arm section. So, you may want to think twice before paddling if your arm or shoulder tattoo has not healed completely. To be on safe side, try paddling in a small water body with little to no waves.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.