Photo via: Andrew Dima
Community Assistant Alex Mauer gives us some tips on how best to prepare for paddling during the winter months.
Paddling season is the only season I believe in. I love Standup Paddling so much I continue to paddle in rain, snow or shine. Before paddling during the winter it is important to assess a few variables and safety measures. Here are a few things to think about before heading out in the winter months:
What is your skill level?
Are you 100% comfortable on your board?
What is the water temp?
What's the air temp?
Is it raining, snowing or is the sun out?
Photo via: Igor Goni
Addressing these variables will greatly influence what you paddle in. For example, I know that I can paddle flat water without falling in, even if the water gets a little choppy. So, if it's a really nice day and the sun is shining I may paddle in board shorts and a BIC SUP tee shirt.
If, on the other hand I feel like playing around and getting wet or paddle whitewater, I will chose to paddle in a wet or dry suit. I prefer a dry suit, especially when it's snowing. This way I know that even if I fall in I will be dry and warm. The gear I would suggest for a winter day paddle are a dry suit, fleece layering, hat, gloves and a warm water shoe.
It is always important to expect the worst. This way you are ready for the worst. I would strongly suggest taking a first aid class, this way you can learn about hypothermia and frost bite and how to treat the symptoms. You can also follow a few tips to help keep you safe:
- If paddling alone, let someone know where and when you are paddling.
- Keep your phone close by so it will be easily accessible during an emergency.
- Keep a warm change of clothes and a towel in your car.
- Always have access to an emergency blanket and first aid kit in your car.
- And to celebrate after the paddle a hot thermos of hot chocolate, coffee or something warm to warm up your body!
Photo via: Steve Chrapchynski
Don't let the chill deter you from paddling, if you prepare yourself correctly you will be just fine!