Top Tips for Cold Weather Paddling
Nights are drawing in, and temperatures are getting colder; it feels like winter is already here. As much as we love the crisp mornings seeing our breath in the air, the simplicity of basic clothing to wear paddling has gone, though being Britain, the water is going to be cold no matter time of year.
Before Your Paddle
Leave a float plan with a friend before setting off, listing where you are going and how long for. In the event of an accident, someone needs to know where you are.
Check the weather forecast before leaving, noting the wind direction, tides, air temperature and any other factors. A barometer or online live-weather chart will also let you know if a storm is coming. Even using apps on your smartphone can provide useful data for checking the local weather conditions. And if it is too severe, don’t risk it.
It helps immensely to stay warm on the water, and what makes this easier is making sure you are warm before even changing and getting on the water. Try standing on some foam pad and leaving your coat and hat on until you have to remove them.
Put gloves on to do the heavy lifting such as getting the board off the car.
Have a warm drink with you to take before getting on the water. Add an energy bar to this, so your energy levels are up, and you aren’t distracted by niggling hunger.
Though storing extra gear, such as batteries for your headlamp, in your car, should be done throughout the year, re-check it is all in place for any cold weather paddling. Gear that is frequently forgotten includes gloves, warm hat, extra car key, heat packs, water, spare hot drink and food.
On the Water
Always wear a personal floatation device (PFD) and dress for the water temperature even if you don’t plan on getting wet. A PFD may be bulky, but they help keep your core body temperature warm. They also provide pockets for an energy bar, torches, camera, watch, phone, whistles, compass etc.
Always wear a leash if you are going out on the water.
In the shorter winter days, attach a white light to your board and body to give you better sight, especially if you head out in the late afternoon. Invest in waterproof lights too, as they are suitable for all water sports.
Carry a dry bag on your deck with extra clothing or to store layers you may want to remove. An extra pair of gloves or a hood can be stored in the bag, along with a warm drink in a Thermos.
Put bright coloured or reflective, high vis tape on your paddle, so if you drop it at night or in rough water, you can easily find it.
After the Paddle
Put your board on the car first, tying it down securely before removing your wetsuit, PFD, hood and store your gear away.
Start your car and get the heat going, so it is warm for when you are ready to drive home.
Remove your wetsuit while standing on your foam pad. This will stop your suit from touching the ground after removal and keep your feet warmer than if they are on the ground.
Pour hot water on yourself to warm up, which will also wash off salt water.
Keep warm, dry clothes in the car, ready to put on for your drive home. Go for gear that is loose and warm, such as fleeces or joggers, and a dry pair of thick socks. Warm, dry feet can make a huge difference.
Bring a Thermos of hot soup or a drink to keep in the car, ready for when you are finished paddling. Having something hot to eat will warm you up quicker than you can imagine.
If you are looking for a SUP board for sale that will last you throughout winter and into spring and summer, take a look at our online shop. Be sure to check out some of the accessories we have too.