How To Get Your SUP Fix During Winter

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Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt

Does snow on the ground and ice in the water give you a heavy dose of the cold-weather blues this winter? Fortunately, we have a few remedies to both ward off the SUP withdrawals and prevent frostbite this winter. Here’s a list of cold-weather hacks to help you maintain your paddling habit through the frigid environs of snow season.

Wear Cold Water Submersion Gear

If you’re planning to paddle in water and air below 70 degrees this winter, cold-water submersion equipment is a necessity. Risking a plunge in frigid water without a wetsuit or drysuit can put your life in serious danger. But beyond the death and destruction factor, paddling without insulating attire is impossibly uncomfortable.

Always dress for immersion in the winter months. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt

The solution for SUP surfers is most often a thick wetsuit with neoprene booties, gloves and a hood that traps a thin layer of water inside the suit and uses body heat to insulate the paddler. For flatwater and expedition outings, a quality drysuit is normally preferred as it keeps the paddler completely dry and is usually paired with comfortable layers of fleece insulation. These two simple gear items alone can make all the difference in the amount of water time you clock come winter.

Rise Early

Now that you’re suited in cold water immersion gear, you’re free to SUP at all moments under the sun – regardless of water and air temperatures. Unfortunately, there’s less of those sunny moments during winter as last light typically casts in the early evening.

Early bird gets the waves. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt

The good news is that it also gets lighter earlier and one way to ensure you’re still getting those SUP sessions in is to incorporate early-morning paddle outings. It may be tough to get out of bed at first, but after a few days it will feel normal. Plus, it will get your blood flowing and help you jumpstart your day with a sense of accomplishment.

Travel Someplace Warm

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, and it’s probably warmer there, too. If you’re anticipating serious cold water blues this winter, consider booking your Christmas vacation somewhere closer to the equator. There are myriad sunbaked travel destinations and warm water SUP adventures to be had this winter, and some might be more accessible than you think. We recommend Hawaii, but have a look at our travel section for further inspiration.

Try Cross Training

Incorporating other athletics into your routine is a great way to round out your paddling any time of year, but winter gives us an opportunity to hyper-focus on cross training. Fluid stretching, cardio and strengthening activities such as yoga and swimming are great substitutes that will keep your body in tune when paddling isn’t an option. Land-based workouts, such as this routine recommended by pro paddler Carter Graves, are another great cross training option. Whether in a gym, on a trail or down a ski slope, keeping your body active and challenging yourself is critical to staying on top of your SUP game in the offseason.


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The article was originally published on Standup Paddling

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