If you want to go winter paddleboarding but don’t really know where to start – or even what to wear for paddleboarding in winter – let me help.
There’s no need to put your paddleboard away for the winter months, as I’ve come to realise with my ventures out winter paddleboarding in Hampshire. Sure, you might need a little more time to prep, but cold weather paddleboarding can be even more rewarding than in the summer.
Paddleboarding in winter? Check the weather
Winter paddling needs a bit more prep than in the summer. I’d strongly recommend you check the temperature on land, the water temperature, and the wind and currents too. You can do this on the Willy Weather app, and the Met Office app.
You can also take your own equipment to double check. The weather apps are never right for my local, Southsea Beach!
As well as the knots of wind, you need to know the wind direction.
If you still need to buy an inflatable paddleboard, check my tips to make sure you get the right one for you.
What to wear for paddleboarding in winter
Cold weather paddling is a whole other ball game from the joys of summer. I’ve been paddleboarding in Hampshire, the county I live in over the last few weeks, and I think I’ve honed my equipment down to perfection.
Let me show you how I keep warm when I’m paddleboarding in winter.
What shoes to wear paddleboarding?
You need to buy these neoprene watersports boots – Two Bare Feet are always a good shout when it comes to SUP equipment. Don’t wear socks underneath them as your feet need to be in contact with the neoprene for the full effect.
The neoprene boots will protect you enough to walk down to the water (over shingles here in Southsea) and will keep you warmer on the board too. It’s likely you’ll still get some water in there, but at least you can warm that bit of water up with your body heat.
Make sure you wash the wetsuit boots out when you get home and dry them, to look after them properly.
Wetsuit or drysuit?
I’ve been winter paddleboarding in the sea, and I chose a wetsuit over a drysuit.
I just wore a bikini top underneath rather than a base layer, as the wetsuit is specially designed to be in contact with your skin and warm up that way. Science!
Make sure you get a wetsuit one designed for freedom of movement. I have the Vision 3 Triathlon Wetsuit, which is a little excessive for paddleboarding but I was sent as a press gift it a few years ago. You really don’t need to be this fancy, there are some popular Gull ones for around £40 or you can check out the wetsuits on Amazon too.
Get a long one, at least 3.5mm thick. This would be great for wild swimming too.
Do you wear a tshirt winter paddleboarding?
Wetsuits are snug. I feel more comfortable out on the water paddling if I wear a tshirt over my wetsuit. Any one will do. Bigger the better!
How do you keep your hands warm paddle boarding in winter?
If there’s one thing you definitely need for winter paddleboarding, it’d be a pair of waterproof gloves. Your extremities can get very cold out on the water, so it’s important to have as much warmth and protection as possible.
I have these wetsuit gloves from Amazon. Highly rated they come in three different sizes and will keep your hands toasty warm while still having enough grip for the paddle too.
It’s essential to keep your head warm winter paddleboarding…
Always, always take a beanie hat for extra insulation. Not one that’s precious but just a thick, cheapo one. We all know we lose so much heat out of our heads, so you might as well put a stop to that.
This layer of warmth will really help in any wind chill.
Old sunglasses that you don’t mind losing are great for winter paddleboarding too, the sun can really reflect off the water.
This Jobe bodywarmer doubles up as a personal floatation device, which is pretty cool. Think I’ll be investing in one of these one day.
- 50N ISO-certified (buoyancy aid)
- Always a perfect fit: more comfort and safety
- Available in plus sizes
- Safety D-ring attachment to attach an emergency cord
- Water drainage system
All of these things will keep you warm while paddleboarding, meaning you can just enjoy going out and don’t need to worry about the cold.
What to pack in the car for after winter paddle boarding
After cold weather paddleboarding in my wetsuit, I’m actually really hot by the time I get out. I have a dry robe from Moana to get changed under. With this ‘throwbie’ I can get that wetsuit off straight away!
I do have warm socks in the car, and my old Mahabis to quickly slip on after I’ve taken my wetsuit socks off. If you want to be super prepared, wool socks are the best option for warmth.
Have some warm clothes ready to go in the boot, so you can get warmed up right away.
I have some oversized Adidas joggers and a big Canada hoody, which are easy to get on no matter if I’m wet and cold. I will also take an oversized towel, just in case I do ever fall in (not yet, thankfully). This extra clothing is definitely needed for moving between the changing temperatures.
I’ve always thought it’d be nice to have a flask of hot water, for a tea too. But I’ve only ever paddled near home, and so can just do the short drive home for that.
Have a water bottle ready too. It can be surprising how much hard work paddle boarding in winter really is – make sure you drink enough water when you come back if you don’t take it out with you.
Where to go paddleboarding in winter
Choosing where to go for your paddle session in winter is important. I’d suggest sticking to places you know from summer paddling, if possible.
To start with anyway.
Because of living on the south coast it’s easier for me to go in the sea than to find flat water, but flat water is a much better idea if you’re scared of falling in
Cold water paddling tips & safety equipment
Can you SUP in the winter?
Of course you can!
As long as you’re safely prepared, and take these paddleboarding in winter safety tips on board – you’ll be fine.
If you’re paddle boarding in the cold I’d strongly recommend taking some sort of mobile / cell phone out with you. You never think you’ll get into trouble but the weather in winter is obviously way more interchangeable, you can also get tired quicker and so get into trouble.
Your mobile phone could be your lifeline if you’re paddleboarding solo in winter.
If you do fall in, colder water will tire you out quicker. No matter how fit you are, or a strong swimmer, the weather can be fitter and stronger.
I know the cost of this can add up, but if you’re taking your paddleboard out in winter, you need to be properly prepared for those cold days. Paddle boarding in winter will be a miserable experience if you don’t have the right equipment!
Always have your leash attached to you stand up paddleboard – does that even need saying? If you do fall off you want to know exactly where your board is so you can right back on again.
You’ll want to get out of that water ASAP!
Tips for renting a paddle board in winter
If you’re winter paddling I’d definitely recommend you have some fairweather paddling under your belt first. Falling in the water at such low temperatures can actually be quite dangerous.
If you feel safe and confident then the next challenge will be finding rentals to take out – most paddle board rental places are for the summer only.
If you’re renting then definitely get a personal floatation device too – all boards and waters are different and it’s good to have for peace of mind.
Benefits of paddleboarding in winter
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and tricks for paddle boarding in the cold. I was pretty nervous before I went winter paddleboarding for the first time, despite going out regularly over the summer. Always good to try new things though!
When it comes to what to wear for paddle boarding in the winter, the short answer is as much neoprene as possible!
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