Cold Water SUP Guide 101
by james bourassa on Oct 26, 2022
Did you know that it is possible to have fun on the water even after the summer heat?
It is possible to be comfortable despite the cold days that are becoming more and more numerous!
Imagine extraordinary landscapes; an autumn with its changes of colors, magnificent snowy landscapes, and to finish a serene nature with nobody on the water!
How to dress?
Choosing the right equipment for the season is essential to extend your SUP season!
First, you'll need good boots to keep you warm. If the air is cool, the exposed skin on your feet and hands will get cold. It is therefore essential to cover yourself with water shoes or boots. Ideally we recommend a neoprene boot. This is the same fabric that is used to make wetsuits. It is a material that is not 100% waterproof. Surprising, isn't it? It is precisely this particularity that brings warmth to the snowboarder. The principle is simple, a small stream of water slips between your skin and your wetsuit which regulates the temperature according to your body heat.
Then we strongly encourage you to wear a wetsuit! The wetsuit is especially recommended for safety reasons. Depending on the water temperature, the risk of falling in the water and of course the distance of your hike, the wetsuit will allow you to leave with a clear conscience.
As for a hike, we advise you to equip yourself with several layers before leaving. First, a base layer to wick away moisture, then additional layers for warmth and wind protection (jacket, windbreaker, gloves, hats, etc.). For your legs, running tights are a great choice. Much of the heat is lost through the head, so wearing a lightweight hat is a great idea. Avoid cotton materials and clothing, as well as anything that does not layer easily.
Remember that a wetsuit can get very hot, especially out of the water, but if you fall off the floor, you'll appreciate it!
Safety on the water
Although fall temperatures are often good and refreshing, be aware that the water temperature is getting colder.
First, always wear a flotation jacket. Cold water (less than 15°C) automatically puts your body into thermal shock. Once in this state, it becomes more difficult to make informed decisions, such as the simple action of getting back on your paddleboard.
Also, always stay close to shore, don't paddle too far. Off-season paddling (fall, winter, spring) is not the best time to try to push your limits or try to break personal records. It is also recommended to look at a weather report before going out on a trip.
It is often thought that in flat water, an ankle strap is not necessary. Even the most experienced paddlers should use a SUP strap every time they are on their board. Your board is the biggest flotation device with you on the water, and a strap will keep it attached to you, and within 10 feet of you in case of trouble.
Finally, don't forget that if you are going out on your own, it is important to always tell someone where you are going and when you are coming back. When you are out of season, you may not see many people on the water. Stay alert and safe on the water.
Avoid the ice
What does this mean? Basically, avoid ice. Ice is heavy, sharp and unpredictable. It won't do you or your inflatable paddleboard any favors. If you go out on the water in the colder months, be sure to avoid sections of frozen water. Don't walk on the ice to get to the water and don't hike when large chunks of ice are floating around you.
For an ideal paddleboarding trip, look for a forecast with calm winds and clear skies. Fall and winter weather can change quickly, so don't be tempted to try to beat the storm when it's cooler. Rain and snow can make visibility difficult when you're on the water. This makes it easy to veer off course and for others on the water not to see you.
During the cooler months, remember that the sun sets much earlier in the day and the temperature cools down quickly before the sun has even set. Plan to be back on the water well before the sun is below the horizon. The local weather forecast should give you a time of sunset.
Post-hike tips and tricks
Bring extra warm clothes to put on after your SUP session. It's a good idea to keep a towel, warm sweater, pants and jacket in your car so that you have something warm and dry to wear after a trip on the water. You can also bring a thermos with something warm to eat or drink after your paddleboarding session to help you stay warm and energized after spending time on the water.