6 Tips For The Fair Weather Or Iced In Paddler
As winter draws in and the air and water gets chilly, some of us might experience the winter blues, with some rivers and lakes even freezing up, it may seem hard to work out a way to spend those weekends without a paddle. Here are some ideas for those of you who are frozen up or are a more fair-weather paddler.
If you had a kick-ass start to the season back in spring, then why not grow from those important decisions and plans that made your experience so good. Grab a journal and pen and some maps and begin to plan an awesome trip for the upcoming spring. There is a wealth of resources online to utilise including forums for specific counties and rivers. Get digging and post in online discussion boards, head to paddling events and clubs and begin to scour and scrutinise topographical maps for new runs. Once you have an idea of your plan, head there and check it out. Spend the time blocking out days or weeks for your future kayaking trips.
2. Stay paddle fit
You may not fancy slipping into a dry suit every weekend and heading down to the frigid water all winter, but that doesn’t mean you cannot maintain a great level of fitness to keep you ready for your next paddling session. Try picking a more fair-weather activity like yoga, running, swimming or indoor climbing, and if available some cross-country skiing to keep you strong while still giving you that adrenaline fix.
When you’re not sat in the kayak gunning down the rapids, or gliding across a creek, stay inspired by reading about the sport and locations you love. Read anything from kayaking specific magazines, white-water rescue techniques and manuals to fiction and historic interest. Get a good stack of books on the coffee table so you can last the ice out. A really great place to start would be Jack Boudreau’s. White Water Devils. A book bursting with historic accounts of the brave souls who have sent themselves down the rumbling rivers.
4. Pimp your ride
Make your ride paddle friendly. Start an ambitious project, like that van to camper conversion you have been promising yourself every year. Start with some small logistical details that you know fall through the cracks. When on your paddling break, make those little tweaks to your vehicle that will make kayak shuttles and road trips so much smoother. Maybe a new and improved padded roof rack and webbing. A tarp spread over the boot to hold wet gear, a permanent stash for dry clothes and non-perishable snacks. Or maybe just give it a good clean, you’d be surprised how much mud and pine needles can enter a kayaker’s ride.
5. Admin your gear
Love your kit. Nourish it and repair it and it will love you back. Take the time to lay out all your paddling gear, look at what needs repairing or replaced. Replace the gaskets in your dry suits and top halves. Patch repair small holes that have occurred in your skirts and patch up any cracks and duct taped up holes in your kayak; wash and dry your PFD and add any bells and whistles to it as required, such as new dynemma gear tethers, a fresh safety knife and whistle. The extra effort you put into it all now will keep you from worrying about any kit problems when it’s time to get back on the water.
As we know, one of the most rewarding parts of being into kayaking is the community. Get engaged with a local white-water or kayaking club, join trips to events such as outdoor movies and presentations. Some swimming pools also hold winter sessions for training, such as learning to roll a kayak; so even if your roll is solid, you can always go and help out. This is a fantastic way to meet new budding kayakers and hear about different places to kayak.
We hope we have inspired the fair-weather paddlers and those who get iced in all winter. If you have any ideas then leave a comment, and if you are looking for an upgrade or are just beginning, check out our beginner’s guide to kayaking and also have a look at our touring kayaks for sale.