Winter paddle boarding

Is it possible to keep paddle boarding through the winter?

by Andy Campbell - Co-owner at The Sup Shack

It always confuses me when I hear people say: 'I've packed my board away as it's the end of the summer'. 

Paddle boarding is such a versatile watersport – it can be done on most waterways all year round. 

It’s also a great source of exercise and good for mental wellbeing, so why should we stop paddle boarding when the weather takes a turn for the worse and it gets colder?

Unfortunately we can't do anything about the shorter days, but there are steps you can take to manage the weather and colder temperature to make it still an enjoyable experience.

Weather apps are great ways of keeping an eye on the conditions as they can change from day to day, so using things like XC weather, Magic Seaweed, Met Office, Wind Guru and many more you can pick days and locations to suit the conditions.

And don't forget, you can always call your local watersports shop to ask advice on location and weather conditions if you are unsure.   

Keeping warm and comfortable is a key part to enjoying the colder months on your paddle board.

You need to assess two main features when going paddle boarding, one being air temperature and the other being water temperature. 

We can tend to dress for the air temperature and not the water temperature as we assume we will be staying above the water, which in most cases is the right thing to do. 

It might sound obvious but you really need to dress for the water temperature too, just in case you fall in.

This does and will happen. Therefore, you want to make sure you have the right kit to deal with it, as you can get extremely cold very quickly.

I was told years ago you should always dress for immersion which is very true, and something you should always consider too. 

For instance, you can easily have a mild day in February with the air temperature being around 12 degrees celsius but the water is around 6 degrees celsius – which is a big drop in temperature, and would be a big shock to the system without the proper equipment.

Drysuits are a great option but are quite an expensive investment for anyone just looking to paddle recreationally.

Growing up on and in the sea I always turn towards wetsuits as i've spent a lot of time surfing in the winter so understand how warm they keep you when the weather turns. 

A good wetsuit is essential and using reputable brands that have a history in making winter suits is key to make sure you have something that works and keeps you happy while you're on the water, or in it.

There are good ways to bulk up your kit in case you start to get cold.

Cags or spraytops are great ways of bulking up against the wind and makes us feel like we have a thicker wetsuit on as it is keeping our core warm which is key when paddle boarding in colder conditions. 

Also if you start to over heat in the cag/spraytop to can simply take it off to leave just the wetsuit. 

Neoprene beanies are another big asset to have to keep your head warm, and being neoprene it will work and get warmer if it gets wet.

I am a massive fan of neoprene beanies and they are worth their weight in gold in rubbish conditions. 

Winter booties and gloves are another way to keep your extremities warm.

Your hands and feet are the first things that will feel the cold, so giving them the protection and keeping them warm will make the paddling experience much more enjoyable.

Extra layers and even a flask with a hot drink is another way to warm up if you start to feel the cold.

All of this extra kit can be put in a dry bag and stored under the bungees on the front of your board so you can call on them if you need to, and if you don't need to then they can just sit there on the front of your board just in case you or another paddler need them.

Also having warm clothing and changing robes are a good way to warm back up after getting out of your water kit. Don’t forget that hypothermia can still creep in after a session.

I hope you found this article useful. 

Don’t ever let the weather stop you having fun on the water!