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Winter SUP riding tips


One of the great things about using one of our SUP inflatable boards is that you can take them out onto the water all year around.

The thought of grabbing an SUP board and hitting the water during winter is enough to send shivers down most people’s spines and have them heading back to their duvet. With the right preparation and equipment, you can experience the joys that winter paddling can bring such as beautifully crisp and sunny mornings and better surf conditions due to the winter low pressures.

Below you will find our top tips for getting you in the cold water and SUP riding this winter:

  • Grab an old yoga mat or foam mat and use that to change on before your SUP session.

  • When getting changed into your suit keep your beanie and top layers on until the last moment.

  • Eat an energy bar and drink a warm drink, stick to drinks such as green or lemon tea. Caffeine dehydrates you so keep the triple shot latte until after your session.

  • Find the right clothing; ”paddle boarding in the cold European winter is probably the hardest thing to find clothing for and finding motivation to get out there is sometimes even harder. Every paddle boarder who paddles year around knows the struggles of finding clothing which is suited for any winter condition but it’s difficult to get the right balance of function and warmth.” – Peter Kosinski

  • If you can afford it, invest in two wetsuits, there is nothing worse than finding the motivation to climb into a freezing and wet wetsuit.

  • If you are SUP’ing in flat water away from the ocean, opt for wearing breathable clothing over a wetsuit. Wetsuits don’t breathe and may lead to you over heating quickly, 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.

  • Invest in the best wetsuit booties you can afford. We suggest liquid sealed 5mm boots. NZ based SUP’er Bryce Dyer recounts; “My father (who was ex-army) told me repeatedly when I was a kid to look after your feet and your feet will look after you. That message holds true for SUP. Even if you skimp on clothing, invest in a good pair of winter booties. Cold extremities can turn even the nicest paddle into a painful chore.”

  • Paddling during winter can make you cut sessions short, set goals for your session and stick to them. Remember the term ‘trophies are won in winter and collected in summer’.

  • Make sure there is an element of fun to your sessions, if you don’t get any enjoyment out of riding an SUP it’s going to be hard to find the motivation to get into the cold water.

  • Dress for the temperature of the water if you don’t plan on getting wet… accidents do happen!

  • Always wear a leash, 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 uses it for extra layers if you’re cold or hopefully storing items of clothing if you get too hot! Neoprene gloves as well as back up dry clothes are also great to put in your dry bag along with power bars.

  • Another tip for the flat-water paddlers and items to put in your dry bag; a thermos! Nowadays you can pick up small thermos’s almost anywhere, fill it full of your favourite drink or soup and stop for a warning brew halfway through your session.

  • Find a like-minded fellow SUP’er for your winter sessions. You’ll both encourage each other on those extra cold sessions in February.

  • This applies all year around but more so in winter when conditions are extremely unforgiving; ‘if in doubt, don’t go out’.

  • Wrap illuminous tape around your paddle shaft in case your drop it in low light conditions.

  • When needing a break when SUP-ing put your leg over your paddle when resting, this limits the chance of losing it in unfavourable conditions.

  • Find a winter race club or surf club. Having like-minded people around you as well as events to look ahead to will keep you motivated during the dark British months.

  • Once you get out of the water a brisk pace back to the car will keep you warm. Keep a flask of hot water ready to pour inside your suit and then change as quickly as possible, we know people who can get of their suit and into dry clothes within 30 seconds… impressive stuff!

  • For those that live within driving distance of the beach we suggest driving back home in your suit, throw a bin bag over your car seat and get changed in the warmth of your shower.

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