Winter paddleboarding is not for the faint of heart. Just thinking about the number of layers of clothing you need to throw in (and thicker neoprene) would make you want to just curl up and hibernate until the first warm temperatures of spring come along.
Athletes do SUP paddling during winter time as this keeps their mental and psychical condition top and ready for the next SUP paddling event! For you, diehard SUP’ers, this can be a great opportunity to discover new and exciting spots to paddle.
So here are some friendly reminders for those dead-set on pursuing winter paddle boarding. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with playing hard as long as your safety remains your utmost priority.
Before Your Paddle
- Don’t take off your hat or coat when putting your dry or wetsuit on until you really have to.
- Make sure you have your neoprene gloves on before getting the board off your car.
- Grab something to eat to make sure you don’t paddle with an empty stomach.
- Drinking some hot choco or coffee also helps.
- Double check your gear before jumping into the water (energy bar, drinking water, extra clothes, nightlight, etc.). This could spell the difference between life and death situations.
- Make sure you have your leash attached.
- If you were too excited about this trip and forgot to check on the day’s weather forecast- don’t go. You need to know your local weather conditions ahead of time. Thus, it’s helpful if your smartphone has apps to know precisely what’s going on.
- Use the waterproof kayak deck bags to load your stuff on board.
- Don’t forget to store extra batteries because you might need this for your paddling or headlight.
- Secure other items such as gloves, hat, powerbars, drinking water, and other things you might need but usually forget.
- Make sure your phones or other gadgets are placed and sealed in waterproof containers during your paddle.
During Your Paddle
- Ensure you’re dressed warm enough for the cold water temperature.
- Don’t hit the water unless you have your PFD on. It’s a bit cumbersome, but it can save your life. Not only will it give you added warmth, but it also serves as storage for your light, food, water, whistle, flares and other important things you might need.
- Always wear your leash.
- If you plan to do your winter adventure at night make sure you have your waterproof white light on your body or on board to avoid collisions with other boats. Laser pointers are helpful as well, especially during emergencies. Don’t forget to secure them or tie them on a short string, so you don’t lose them on board.
- Have your extra clothes on deck such as your hood, neoprene gloves, etc.
- Keep warm by having a thermos of warm drink handy to keep you both hydrated and warm.
- Don’t be too adventurous by pushing through rough waters or going through night trips all by yourself.
- Make sure your paddle shaft has colored tape strips so you can still find them if you accidentally drop them at night.
Post Paddling Session
- Tie down your board in the car before you take off your wetsuit and gear.
- Have your thermos of hot soup or drink in the car to keep you warmed up.
- Wash the saltwater off your body with hot water. This will keep you warm up to two hours.
- Stand on a camping pad while removing your wetsuit to keep it from touching the ground.
- Once you get off the water, start your car immediately turn on your heater so it’ll be set and warm enough by the time you’re ready to go.
- Stack up on sandwiches or power bars in your car to keep the energy going.
- Keep your headlights on to make it easier for you to tie the board on the rack when night comes.
Now that we’re done with the safety reminders let’s go ahead and discuss the best places to discover for your winter paddleboarding.
Bengali Cave, Portugal
You can find this majestic cave 150 meters east of the small beach of Benagil in the village of Benagil. Words aren’t enough to describe its majestic beauty and wonder. You have to be there to see it and believe it!
For those contemplating about trying out SUP in Morocco for the first time, you’re in for a big surprise. There are so many countless spots to discover for SUP both on and off the water, and you’ll be thrilled and fall in love with the place simultaneously!
An entirely new and fun way to enjoy the sea. You can even find SUP camps offered for all levels such as beginners, intermediate and advanced courses. You’re free to come and take lessons with your family and friends, and they are open all year round!
If you love the wind and love the swells even more, then Maui surely is the place to go. It’s great to rent a board in one of their local shops and paddle in the morning before the wind picks up if you’re trying it out for the first time. But those who have tried it swear by it and keep coming back for more. Super fun!
If you love cruising crystal clear waters and the feel of warm sunshine on your face and body, then jump on a plane and head out to Barbados! There are numerous SUP instructors and watersports operators to choose from. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or a pro because once you’re here, you can always find something that’s right for you.
If these amazing images can’t convince you to try winter paddle boarding or SUP in general, I don’t know what will. But for those who were bold enough to try it even in the roughest weather conditions and lived to tell the tale, the experience was priceless!
What about you? Life is short, might as well make the most out of it.
Feel free to also check out my article about 6 Great SUP Locations for Beginners and Advanced Paddlers if you’re not 100% sure where to go for your next trip.