Dress to get wet. Wear a pfd. Practice remounting. Practice remounting in the conditions you paddle in. The pacific northwest has lots of ski paddlers and we've had a few coast guard rescues and 1 death that are all from people not being able to remount and stay in their ski. Look for oscar's remount video on Epic's youtube channel.
A full- 4/3 wetsuit is the preferred dress for winter paddling here. 40F air and 50F water.
For warmer conditions, NRS 3mm rodeo pants or 0.5mm hydroskin shorts, pants and tops are also popular.
I started with a Epic V10 sport moving from a 21" sea kayak and a 20" SOT. I found the ski pretty stable and only swam about 6 times my first year. Skis are really sensitive to conditions. A boat that feels great on calm water can feel ridiculously tippy in a little chop.
There is a big speed difference between paddling just to stay upright and paddling correctly.
Get a weedless rudder and weed guard if you paddle anywhere with surface weeds. Save the surf rudder for bigger conditions. A chunk of milfoil will knock almost 1mph off your speed.
Pull-Up Strap Handle Kit
Touring Kayak Paddles
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