Fitting and Outfitting
This used to be a misnomer when talking about squirtboats, in fact it was common knowledge that “if your boat don’t hurt it don’t squirt.” With new designs and better sizing, modern squirting can be relatively comfortable. By checking a couple of things you can find a boat that will work for you. Make sure you are in the boats specs: weight, shoe size, and inseam. Then decide how aggressive of a chop you will want: regular (freestyle and river running) to expert (mysteries).
Paddle vs. Hand-paddles
Although there is some debate between squirtboaters as to the merits of a paddle vs. hand-paddles, most squirters go both ways. Paddles provide more torque, easier freestyle and confidence going downriver, but they are less stable and require lots of practice to achieve control during mysteries. Hand-paddles are stable and provide easy control during mysteries, but make freestyle tougher and lack power while running rivers. These are just generalizations of course, many squirtboaters tear it up with the paddle type of their choice.
When sitting in a squirtboat, ideally you want to be leaning slightly (5 deg) forward. If you are primarily running rivers, it is best for the bow to ride slightly higher than the stern. For mysteries, you want the boat to be perfectly even on the bow and stern when sitting correctly. Paddle users will need to sit farther back, because the squirter’s arms and paddle will shift the weight forward. A hand-paddler sits with arms at their sides, so their weight stays in the center of the boat.