As hard as it may be to believe, Summer is less than three weeks away. Before we know it all these tempestuous storms, huge winter swells and frozen winds will disappear for a while, making way for higher temperatures, longer days and warmer water. Summer might be the fairer season, but there's opportunities to get some serious paddling and surfing done if you plan things correctly - alongside plenty of relaxation. Today we're going to look at five ways to make the most of summer.
5. Embrace Change
SIC Maui athlete Lincoln Dews on a downwinder. | Photo courtesy: SIC Maui
Summer means different things to different regions. In some parts of the coast, the warmer weather is accompanied by large high pressure systems, which cause steady onshore winds - this churns up the ocean and causes waves to break in in every direction. It's no good for social paddling, but can be great for down winders. Alternatively, if you live inland or in a protected part of the coast, there will be no wind and this'll flatten out the water completely. One way or another, every new season is a new opportunity to experience a different side of this sport and lifestyle.
Use the change in conditions to grow your skill set by trying something new. If the waves are bad, find a calm space to go work on fitness - or to just enjoy the sunshine. Not every paddle has to be about breaking boundaries or pushing limits. Sometimes it's fun just to get into the water and enjoy the elements with friends and family. If you haven't tried SUP fishing or SUP yoga, stretch yourself in other ways and give them a try.
4. Get Connected
No better way to connect than to connect with the ocean. | Photo courtesy: Starboard SUP
The forefathers of our Stand Up Paddle Boarding scored perfect waves during all four seasons by using their intuitive knowledge of the sea and weather conditions. By simply sniffing the air, glaring up at the clouds and monitoring which way seagull droppings were falling, they’d know where the best waves would be. Part of adapting to summer is learning about the weather and its affect on the oceans, rivers, lakes and waterways we use as our personal playpen.
Spring and Summer can be predictably unpredictable and prone to sudden changes that create pockets of perfection for people in the know. Technology has come a long way since the days of using a barometer to predict changes in wind direction; nowadays weather apps, surf report apps, web cams and predictive technology pretty much outlines the conditions perfectly for us. Note: With great power comes great responsibility. If you're a SUP surfer and you know the waves are firing, don't invite every friend on Facebook down to the beach at once.
3. Buy Sunscreen
Time on the water means sun exposure! | Photo courtesy: Pau Hana Surf Supply
With every decent guide to summer, there's always the mention of sunscreen. Skin cancer is a killer. Be prepared and make sure you've got something in the factor 30+ for hotter days where you'll be in the sun for more than an hour - especially if it's between midday and 3p.m. If you're not surfing or paddling in wild rapids, there's no excuse not to wear a decent hat once in a while. It doesn't matter if you feel stupid wearing one - you'll look worse with malignant melanomas.
Hydration is key. | Photo courtesy: NSP / Peter Lintner
As the temperature increases, you'll want to make sure you're taking in enough water during your session - especially if you enjoyed the summer weather over a few beers around the BBQ the night before. You lose more water paddling in the heat and dehydration is a pretty miserable way to ruin a perfectly good day in the sun. At the same time you need to make sure you're paddling in the right gear - a 4 mil wetsuit is no good when the water's warm and it's 75 degrees outside. Invest in a good pair of trunks and a decent water bottle you can take along on paddles.
1. Have Fun
What's more fun than bringing your pup along?! Board pictured: Bay Sports Seek. | Photo © Supconnect.com
'Tis the season to be jolly - for reasons different than Christmas. Summer can be whatever you want it to be; a season of training, of adventure, travel or just complete goofing off. It's entirely up to you.
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