As much as we don’t want it to be the case, winter is coming. The clocks have changed, we need to get home extra early to be able to get out paddling on a weekday, and the weekends are colder and windier. For when we can get out paddleboarding here are some tips for making it a bit more enjoyable and safer at this time of year…
1.CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST
Have a look at local forecasts for calm winds. The weather is very changeable at this time of year so be prepared to cancel or change plans at short notice. Rain or snow can make it difficult to see and can make it easier to go off course. Remember the saying “if in doubt, don’t go out”.
2. WEAR SUITABLE CLOTHING
Dress in layers, thermals, layers for warmth and wind protection. Invest in a good wetsuit (5mm is good) or a drysuit if you can afford it. Wetsuit socks and boots are good, and a pair of wetsuit gloves. You can buy wax to put on your paddle handle to make it easier to grip with gloves on. Contact me for more info on this if needed. A lot of heat is lost through your head so a hat is a good idea. Avoid materials and clothing made of cotton and anything that doesn’t layer easily.
3. STAY CLOSE TO SHORE
Cooler air means cooler water. Stay close to shore so that if you fall in you can get out easily and quickly. Hypothermia is real and not something to be played about with. Cold water shock is also a factor and it is much harder to swim in water at this time of year. Paddle within your abilities and do not paddle alone. And keep away from ice!
4. USE THE LEASH
Your paddleboard is like a big life raft but if you don’t use the leash the board will easily drift away from you. It takes a couple of seconds to put the leash on, use it all the time.
5. BE BACK ON SHORE BEFORE IT’S DARK
This one is self explanatory. And it’s much easier to pack your kit away when you can see! Most weather forecasts will also give the time of the sun going down. To play it safe aim to be off the water atleast half an hour before sunset.
6. PACK WARM CLOTHES
Take extra warm clothes to change into afterwards, and perhaps a flask with a warm drink too. You will get cold quickly at this time of the year once you come off the water.
7. HAVE FUN!
Using these tips and good judgement it is still possible to have some good sessions out on the water. Have fun and keep safe!