Daylight Saving is nearly over and we're all looking forward to that extra hour in bed on October 31st. After a busy summer season, is now the time to hang our paddling kit for winter or should we drag our boats back out during those crisp weekend mornings? I know what my joints are telling me, but prior preparation can make those chilly sessions all that more enjoyable. Here's our top 8 tips to make the most of those winter months.
Dress for the weather
When the air and water are both cold, nothing beats being prepared for getting wet. Not everyone will have a drysuit tucked away in their garages but your trusty wetsuit can still be a help should you get wet. Make the most of layering your clothes and grab a waterproof top and trousers to keep the typical English drizzle off of you. It's better to be hot and take layers off rather than be cold and regretting going paddling.
Keep your hands protected
Constantly exposed to the elements and frequently dipped in the water, our hands take a real punishing during winter paddling. When it comes to keeping them warm, paddlers fall into 3 different camps. Some go for neoprene gloves, others prefer pogies (mittens that attach to your paddle shaft) and some brave it and go bare skin. There is not a go to method that works for everyone but your hands are vital to your personal and group safety when out on the water and there is nothing worse than frozen hands fumbling blindly for your spraydeck handle when you're desperate for a wee.
When you're wrapped up and off out on an adventure, you're constantly losing thermal energy from exposed surfaces. Whilst not the 50% once believed, a whopping 10% of your body heat is lost through your head.
Our feet whilst often forgotten play a key role in your paddling with power constantly being transferred through your footrests. Those tight neoprene shoes often loved during the winter months now become the bane of your life. Their design often leads to reduced circulation which in turn causes those nasty cramps and bouts of pins and needles. We, at Prime, love a water based trainer with plenty of options out there on the market. They allow plenty of toe wiggle space whilst offering grip on those wet surfaces.
Stay warm on shore
It goes without saying that when you're out of the boat, you're most likely to get cold. Try to avoid standing still when prepping to go on the water and if you've ventured onto land for a coffee break then reduce your contact with cold surfaces. We love a perch on a rock rather than a full blown nap whilst nattering.
Try to stay upright
Those of you who have paddled with Alex and Nathan know that one of the duo prefers to get wetter than the other with Nathan often taking the first fall off of a sup during a taster session. Once the winter kicks in though even he’s not brave enough to fall in that often. Whilst the summer months often lead to paddlers enjoying the sunshine rather than getting wet we couldn’t encourage you more to occasionally practice those paddling skills so you’re less likely to take a plunge in the winter months. Don’t be afraid of getting wet, plan your packing to get dry again should it happen.
The post paddle pack down can seem like a chore but little treats like a fluffy jumper or a flask of hot chocolate make it go so much quicker.
Plan to have fun
Most of all plan to have fun out on the water. Carry on exploring those areas that you love, grab a friend to paddle with and you’ll soon see how amazing the world is on a crisp winters morning.
We hope you have an amazing winter paddling and would love to see your photos!