Enjoying time out on the water with a stand up paddle board (SUP) or and inflatable stand up paddle board (iSUP) is not limited to warm weather and sunny skies. SUP enthusiasts can also ride in cold weather conditions if they take the proper precautions to remain safe and comfortable. The following tips will allow you to enjoy the great outdoors on your SUP well into the winter months when the water is cold!
Prep Before SUPing
The most important part of a SUP trip is the planning stage. Being well prepared will cut down on the risks involved, make for a more comfortable adventure, and gives you the time to gather the necessary supplies and information to keep you safe when going it alone.
Check the Weather
Do your research, check websites, and real-time webcams available for the stretch of water you are planning to ride. Keep up-to-date on weather conditions, including air temperatures, wind speed, the tide, and the latest forecasts to determine what you will need, when to depart, how long to stay out, and if you need to postpone the trip entirely.
Neoprene or dry suits are the best choices to keep dry, but layers will keep you warmer. Some SUP enthusiasts will wear both types of suits for the extra protection from the elements and the added warmth. It is also recommended that you wear neoprene gloves and booties to protect your digits. A warm, woolen hat or cap is another item that you cannot do without if you want to keep warm on the water.
While you get ready to set out, leave your coat and other outer clothing on until the last minute to retain as much body heat as possible. It is also a good idea to drink a warm beverage before heading out. Bring a jug of hot water to keep in the car when you get back in.
Bring a waterproof dry bag filled with essentials that may come in handy. Some items you should have on hand include:
- Waterproof flashlight
- Extra clothing, gloves, and a hood
- Energy bars
- Thermos filled with a warm beverage to keep your body temperature steady
- Cell phone in a watertight case
- A whistle
- Compass, map, and tide charts
Before heading out, always tell a friend or family member your plans. Include where you intend to go, how long you plan to be out, and when you expect to return.
On the Water
Once you are out on the water, it’s up to you to make sure you take care to remain safe and warm.
Check Your Leash
Keep a leash secured to you and the SUP at all times, especially if the water conditions are not ideal. Cold weather is serious and you want to be able to retrieve your SUP as quickly as possible to get back out of the water.
Personal Flotation Device
PFDs are not always popular, but in cold weather, they are another layer of protection and warmth. They can also store essential items that you would want readily available on your person.
Packing Up After SUPing
Returning after taking your SUP out in cold weather means you will need to spend some time getting your body temperature back up to keep healthy.
Deal with Your Board First
Secure your SUP on top of your car and stow all of your gear first, so you can focus on warming up.
Start your car and crank up the heater to allow it time to warm the car before you get down to business. Douse yourself in the warm water left in the jug of hot water you placed in the car before you set out. Remove your suit, draping warm clothing or blankets over your body as you go to limit exposure to the cold. You can also stand in front of the tailpipe to take advantage of the heat coming from the exhaust.
Drink warm soup or tea from a thermos and eat an energy war to refuel the body. If you are careful and take the proper safety measures, ride a SUP in cold weather will be as enjoyable as it would in the heat of summer!