Hala’s Cold Weather Paddling Tips
October typically marks the end of paddling season for many. If you’re not quite ready to put your board away yet, here are some cold weather paddling tips.
- Check the Weather
- It’s important before setting out to know what the overall forecast will be for the day. The air temperature and wind direction is helpful but it will be good to know if a storm is headed your way. There is nothing worse than heading out only to be caught in a rain or windstorm.
- Make sure you still have all your essentials:
- PFD – In colder weather a waist belt will not cut it, I always wear my actual PFD, not only will it keep your head above water it’s an important layer of insulation when it gets cold.
- Leash – It’s even more important in colder water that your board does not get away from you. Make sure it is securely attached to you and your board. If you are river paddling make sure to use a quick release waist attachment on your leash.
- Helmet (whitewater)
- Shoes or Booties (in the river)
- Layering is your best friend:
- Move to a thicker wetsuit, if you typically paddle in a 3/2 mm thick wetsuit, depending on how cold it gets in your area you might need a 4/3 mm or 5/4 mm wetsuit. I use a 5/4 mm wetsuit when I know I will be doing a lot of swimming in the winter (river surfing or whitewater)
- If you are not wearing a wetsuit make sure to layer with synthetic materials. Make sure none of your layers are cotton. Start with a good base layer in the fall and add more as it gets colder out. A fleece or neoprene top and/or bottom make great base layers. If you are paddling in the middle of winter or cold water conditions (like we have in Colorado) it might be a good idea to invest in a dry suit.
- With colder conditions it will become even more important to cover all exposed skin. This might mean using neoprene socks, paddling gloves, a hood, or fleece hat. For shoes I always go to my Astral Brewers with my drysuit or Astral Hiyaks with my wetsuit for warmth.
- Be sure to layer for the water temperature even if you don’t plan on falling in.
|Water Temperature:||Hypothermia Risk:||Layers:|
|60F and up||Low||Dress for the weather|
|54-59F||Moderate||3/2 mm wetsuit, splash gear|
|45-55F||High||4/3 mm wetsuit, drysuit recommended maybe gloves and insulated booties.|
|Below 45 F||Extreme||5/4 mm wetsuit or drysuit mandatory with gloves, hood, and insulated booties.|
- Make sure you eat a good meal earlier in the day before you go out.
- Consider carrying a hydration pack with you. Hydrating will minimize your chance of getting hypothermia.
- Carbs and high fat food will provide you with energy and warmth. Eat a good breakfast with carbs and healthy fats to prep your body for your paddle.
- Consider bringing a thermos with hot soup, tea, or hot chocolate in case you get too cold. Its also a great thing to have in the car for after your paddle.
- Paddle with a partner
- In the event of hypothermia your paddling partner can save your life. Familiarize yourself with rescue techniques and what to do in the case of hypothermia.
- Tell a friend where you are going and when you will be back.
- Falling in cold water can lead to cold shock, cold incapacitation, hypothermia, and in extreme cases death.
- I like to use my Astral Greenjacket. The front pocket allows me to carry lots or snacks and a hand warmer I can activate incase my hands or feet get cold.
- Bring a drybag
- Paddling with a dry bag allows you to carry extra layers (or if you are overheating and need to shed layers), food, a cellphone, camera, and maybe a Luci Outdoor collapsible solar light in case you’re out past dark. Watershed makes a great drybag called the Aleutian that clips into the D-rings on the deck of your paddleboard. As the season progresses it’s important to remember that the days are getting shorter and that it’s going to get dark sooner.
We all love to go out and paddle on a beautiful sunny warm day, follow my tips above to have a fun and safe time out on the water year round!
Praise the inflatable SUP!
Inflatable SUP’s…your finest adventure pal. They are there for you any time of day, any time of year for an epic quest or a quick jaunt on water in your backyard. They never call in sick or get too busy to share in your enthusiasm and passion for the outdoors. Whether you’re an inflatable junky, or an intrigued adventurer, we are all guilty of taking our SUP’s for granted. So, let’s band together as yogis, racers, whitewater crushers, surfers, enthusiasts, and future explorers to sing our praise to inflatable SUPs and all their glory.
Where your Inflatable sleeps:
Inflatables are perfect for those who are weekend warriors and spontaneous adventurers. And as much as we would all love to paddle everyday, many of us have other responsibilities to stay true to. It’s important that our hobbies fit into our balanced lives rather than intrude upon them.
Inflatables are designed to roll up easily and be there when you want them, but tucked away under the bed in anticipation when you don’t. Your car shouldn’t have to shiver outside while your garage fills with toys. And unless you convert your board into a table, my guess is that you’re SUP isn’t quite as fun when it’s just another scrounging friend overstaying their welcome.
Let your board be a positive addition to your life rather than an unwanted guest creating FOMO.
Just remember you’re adventure’s in the bag:
If you have an all terrain bad ass truck or a private helicopter to cater to your excursions, power to you. However, most of you are probably like I am and don’t have a transformer on call. And this means your adventures can be limited to where the road ends. Unique destinations seem just out of reach.
Inflatables break the shackles and free you from the limitations of the paddle scenes. You can go beyond “the road less travelled” to where there’s no path at all. That alpine lake that you daydream about gliding across as you fly over the rockies? Or that whitewater that is so secluded it seems to only be roaring for you? Those untouched waters, isolated from society, can be yours. Let loose, and adventure off course with a portable board that goes where you choose, not where you’re told.
How does your best friend keep it all together?
Like a good friend, inflatable SUP’s are supportive, stable, and reliable. There is no lingering question in your mind; they will always be there and will happily exceed your expectations.
So what qualities define your board as a reliable companion? It starts with a strong core and thick skin (like our lightweight Fusion Drop Stitch™ material that is made out of PVC* and has a rugged construction and can take anything you can throw at it). And you want a friend that will never come unglued. (Hala’s glue holds so strong that the PVC*’s cohesive bond melds the seams as one creating lasting strength). But the best of friends go above and beyond, always growing and improving as you do (like Hala’s new upcoming 2017 line which includes Carbon Hybrid Inflatables™ a platform for a friendship to thrive).
*(Polyvinyl chloride, more correctly but unusually poly(vinyl chloride), commonly abbreviated PVC, is the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, after polyethylene and polypropylene)
We’ve Got Your Amigo’s Back:
Sometimes we’re careless. We have much fun out and about that we forget to make sure our friends get home safely as well. Majority of the board damage that we see is on that staggering walk home, where you and your bud are arm and arm, dragging along the road as you go laughing and enjoy the moment. It isn’t until after that you get back and realize one of you has road rash. As life goes, sometimes we play too hard and can be lackadaisical in the aftermath. Things get bumped and bruised while you’re creating memories together. Never to fear. We’re here to help. A simple patch at home or quick trip to Hala’s professional repair shop gets your friend promptly mended so more adventures can be had. And the three year warranty gives your board the best coverage in the industry.
“We Finish Each Other’s Sentences”:
The bond between you and your board should be so tight, that your relationship comes naturally. It’s that friend that you haven’t spent time with for weeks, months, even years, but as soon as the two of you are reunited, you don’t miss a beat. Your friend knows what you’re going to do before you even do it. And when you are together, everything seems effortless and free. This is Hala’s goal. To create an unbreakable bond that just simply happens. No matter the circumstances, no matter the day, you fit. Just you and your friend, sitting side by side enjoying life and all it’s beauty.
Cheers to our inflatable boards!
Inflatable SUP’s are more than toys. They are your pal, you’re bud, your first mate that will never let you down. They are patiently waiting for you whenever you’re ready. They give you the power and capability to explore further, creatively, and in more diverse ways. The foundation of your friendship is sound, reliable, and constantly improving. So cheers to these boards and all the joy they bring us! Free yourself and wander with an inflatable SUP. You’re very best friend.
*Watch out for these zero-meaning marketing terms:
- “Military-Grade PVC”: There is no standard that defines PVC as Military-Grade. This was used in the SUP industry early on, and now many me-too companies try to utilize it as a marketing pro. Milspec is a term that the military uses to standardize materials, but military grade is meaningless.
- “Handmade boards”: All inflatable boards are made by hand. The key is where the manufacturer chooses to use cutting and gluing machines for quality and consistency to the hand-assembled product. Many companies do not choose to afford this more-sophisticated manufacturing approach to add quality and durability.
- “Lightweight”: On this one, consumers you need to do your research on how the manufacturer is cutting weight. Are they using thinner materials? Or is weight shed through using advanced techniques (the way materials are built and layered)? Hala’s lightweight boards are made using Fusion Drop Stitch™ and leading machinery to bond multiple layers at the raw material stage.