Just because the temperature dips down doesn’t mean that you have to stop taking your SUP out. However, it does require a bit more planning with some different gear, unless you happen to live somewhere like Hawaii or Southern California where the water temperatures don’t get down to freezing.
The cool thing about SUPing in the winter is that you get to see your favorite paddling spots in a whole new way. From snow on the shore to having the place all to yourself, cold weather paddle boarding has a lot to offer. If you’re ready to enjoy your favorite water sport in the cold, winter temps, then follow our tips below for the safest excursion out on the water.
Use The Proper Safety Gear
If you’ve never been out on the water when the temperatures are this cold, then you will be in for quite a shock if you fall into the water. The super cold temperature will literally take your breath away when you get submerged. Because of this shock, it can be confusing and even a challenge to make your way back to your board as soon as possible. For this reason, we definitely recommend that you use a leash for your winter paddle boarding. This will make it so much easier for you to quickly find and get back up on your board out of the cold water.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re wearing a PFD when you take your paddle board out. This will give you some much needed buoyancy so that you don’t spend too much time with your body submerged in the frigid waters. We suggest wearing one of the jacket-style PFDs during these colder months. Why? So you don’t have to fumble with the inflatable ones while you’re in the cold waters.
Never Paddle Board Alone
While you should never go out on the water alone, regardless of the time of year, this is even more important during the colder months of the year. You definitely do not want to get stranded if the temperatures fall below freezing out there. So, even if you are normally the type of paddle boarder who goes solo, take a long a friend when it’s cold out there.
Dress For Warmth
Not only will you want to dress for the temperature of the air, but also the water. If you happen to fall in the water, then you need to be wearing stuff that keeps you warm and dry. For those who are SUP surfing, choose to wear a wetsuit to prevent hypothermia from setting in. Ditto for some good neoprene surf booties and a hood. If you’re doing some flat water paddling or touring, then dress in layers. Since it’s less likely that you’ll end up in the water, you likely don’t need the wetsuit, but we still recommend warm surf booties cause your feet will be the first bits of you to freeze if it gets too cold out there.
Get Warm ASAP When Finished
Once you’re done paddling and you get out of the water, you need to warm up your body as quickly as possible. Definitely do not expose your bare skin to the cold air outside. If you’re wearing a wetsuit, leave it on and be sure to have a waterproof cover on your car seat so that you can drive home while still wearing it. It’s a good idea to have a warm thermos of soup or broth waiting for you in the car so that you can drink it and warm right up from the inside out. You should also have a drinking thermos or flask with hot tea, coffee or another warm beverage.
Refuel With A Big Meal
SUPing the the cold weather actually burns more calories due to the shivering that your body does involuntarily. As a result, you need to consume more calories, both before and after your time out on the water. A large protein-packed meal is a great way to refuel your body after a paddle boarding session.
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