Winter SUP Riding Tips

One of the great things about using one of our inflatable boards SUP for sale is that you can get them out on the water at any time of the year. Though the thought of grabbing a SUP board and hitting the water in the winter months may send shivers down your spine, with the right preparation and equipment, you can experience the joys of winter paddling without freezing.

Riber SUP board lying on the ground

Heading out on a beautifully crisp and sunny morning is a great way to clear your head, and the surfing conditions are often more exciting in winter due to low pressures. Below you will find some top tips to help you ready for some winter SUP riding.

Before Hitting the Water

Get an old yoga or foam mat and use that to change on before your SUP session, so your feet aren’t on the cold ground.

When getting changed into your wetsuit keep your hat and top half layers on until the last moment, so you’re not unnecessarily exposing your skin to the cold.

Eat an energy bar and have a warm drink; stick to drinks which do not have a lot of caffeine, such as green or lemon tea or hot chocolate. Caffeine dehydrates you so keep the triple shot coffee until after your session.

Man in a winter wetsuit carrying an SUP board

Find the right clothing for before and after your paddle session, as paddle boarding in the cold is an activity which is hard to find the proper clothing for. Paddleboarders who do it year round know the struggles. Thin and lightweight clothes you can easily layer are the best option.

If you can afford it, invest in two wetsuits, so you can have one dry and one in use. It can be a struggle finding the motivation to get into a cold and wet wetsuit, even in the summer.

This applies to the whole year, but more so in winter when conditions can be extremely unforgiving; ‘if in doubt, don’t go out’. It’d be almost stupid to head out paddling when the conditions are too dangerous.

On the Water

If you are taking your stand up paddleboard on flat water, opt for wearing breathable clothing over a wetsuit. Wetsuits don’t breathe and may lead to you overheating quickly, so thermal wool leggings and tops combined with a breathable waterproof jacket are your best option.

Invest in a neoprene beanie and palm-less mittens for those extra cold days, to prevent heat from escaping from your head and keeping your hands warmer when they are continually gripping the paddle.

For any activity you do in winter on the water, it is important you invest in the best wetsuit booties you can afford. We suggest liquid sealed 5mm boots. It’s a good idea always to take care of your feet, as your toes are the most perceptible to frostbite, and getting cold feet can turn a lovely paddle into a chore.

When you go paddling in the winter, it’s unlikely you want to stay out on the water for hours. Set short goals for your session and stick to them. Remember the term ‘trophies are won in winter and collected in summer’.

Try and keep your winter paddling session fun; if you don’t get enjoyment out of it, it’s difficult to find the motivation to go out again. Going paddleboarding with others can keep the moral and motivation up and make it more fun and safer.

Man in a winter wetsuit on a SUP board

Make sure your wetsuit is for winter, and have beanies and gloves too. Even if the day is warm, you should dress for the temperature of the water if you don’t plan on getting wet; accidents do happen and falling in is a possibility!

Always wear a leash when paddleboarding, no matter the time of year. In winter, strong winds and cold water can make for a horrible and extremely dangerous retrieval swim.

For those who enjoy lake or river paddling, we suggest a dry bag. You can use it for extra layers if you’re cold or storing items of clothing if you get too hot! Neoprene gloves and back up dry clothes are also great to put in your dry bag along with power bars and a drink in a Thermos to keep you hydrated.

Add reflecting and high visibility strips around your paddle, in case you drop it when in low light. The strips mean you can quickly locate it again. If you need a break from paddling, make sure you keep hold of your paddle, such as tucking it into the elastic straps or hooking your leg over it.

Join a club that doesn’t take a break over winter, as having like-minded people keeps you motivated and the events they have will be something to look forward.

After the Paddle Session

Once you get out of the water, heading back to your car quickly will keep you warm. Have a flask full of a hot drink ready to warm you up, and pouring hot water over your suit will add some warmth while you change. We know some people who can get into dry clothes in 30 seconds!

A Thermos flask on a bench overlooking a lake

If you live within close driving distance to where you have been paddling, you may want to jump into the car, placing a bin bag over your seat to keep it dry and changing in the warmth of your shower.

Having something warm to eat when you get home is a good idea, as it’s one of the quickest ways to get your energy levels up and feeling warm after spending time in the cold outside.

Take a look at some of our other blogs on stand up paddleboarding:

Taking care of your inflatable SUP board

What people don’t tell you about SUP

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