Original story by Tahoe Sup
A QUICK GUIDE TO STAYING ON THE WATER YEAR ROUND.
As the old Scandinavian saying goes, there is no bad weather, just bad clothing. And that is really the key to taking your love of SUP to a year round affair. Flatwater paddlers who see the change of seasons as solitude from summer crowds and the return of buttery, boat free glassy conditions, will tell you how they look forward to Labor Day and beyond. With all the new technical fabrics and paddling specific products on the market now, jumping on your paddle board on a sunny January day is as easy as going for a trail run.
Of course, winter hits some parts of the world harder than others, so understanding and respecting the effects ofexposure to cold water and making decisions based on safety is an absolute must.
The temptation for that snowscape SUP selfie is strong, but the true enjoyment of year round paddling comes from being prepared with the knowledge and gear that keep you confident and WARM.
With some advice from our EXPLORE Project team who has been on their boards in just about everything Mother Nature can deal out, we’ve compiled a few tips that will at least help extend your SUP season into the colors of Fall and get you on the water at the first hint of Spring.
CHECK THE FORECAST BEFORE YOU TRANSPORT THE BOARDS TO THE WATER
Wind direction and speed matter exponentially when temps are tumbling and bikinis and boardshorts are way out of season. Excessive side and head wind increases the degree of difficulty because there is so much surface area when you are standing.
A calm and sunny 48 degree day can have you shedding layers on a flatwater outing, but the wind chill from just single digit wind speed can make it feel like it’s in the 30’s and have you wishing you stayed in the car, heater blasting.
Become familiar with how certain wind directions affect your favorite SUP spots and you will begin to make decisions based on how you would prefer the water conditions to play out for your session. Watching the water before heading out speaks volumes and helps make better decisions. Check out maps and forecasted wind directions and you will soon be discovering the stretches of water that are tucked out of the wind from any point on the compass.
Paddling in choppy and windy conditions for any level of paddler in cold weather carries an increased risk of falling in. Safest decision is to always assume you will get wet and pick your attire accordingly.