For many of us in the Pacific North West, paddling season never truly ends. This time of year can be especially beautiful - the water can be calm and quiet.
If you are looking to do some winter paddling over the next couple of months, here are some great winter paddling tips from our Paiwen Girl Ambassadors.
Alison Calder, Paiwen Girl
1. Be well prepared before you go outside and paddle. Bring a warm thermos of tea or hot cocoa (put it in a SUP Buddy), dress appropriately, tell a friend where you are going and let them know when to expect you back. When you arrive back on shore, call or text to let them know you got home safely. Dress comfortably and warmly!
Kate Watson, Paiwen Girl
2. When you take to the water this winter, it’s always a really good idea to gather your core and balance before you head out. Winter paddling can be one of the most beautiful adventures, as there is a different sense of calm on the water. Sometimes you even see more wildlife than humans, this can be a very special time to connect with nature. Be sure to make practice a few standing poses such as Tree, warrior 3, or dancers pose to get your balance, and fire up your core with a Pilates exercise called the hundred! The muscles we engage to make these exercises happen are the same ones we need to keep balanced on the board! Not to mention they will warm you up a little on those colder days!
3. I never paddle without a pair of booties on come winter, and for extra heat put your feet in hot water for 2-3 mins just before the booties go on to ‘lock in’ the heat!
Nikki Johnston Beaudoin, Paiwen Girl
4. Following from Kate’s point - wear your neoprene and especially your boots! A wetsuit is fine for this time of year, as well as a neoprene long sleeve top and pants. Some brands that make these include Roxy, Billabong, Vaikobi, to name a few. Ideally, add something that cuts the wind, like a shell jacket, or a proper paddling jacket that you can buy from any paddling outfitter. Blocking the wind will be the most important thing to do. For the most comfort and a bit of a bigger budget, you can also purchase dry paddling suits from outfitters like MEC.
5. Be mindful of the time, leave earlier and plan to come in early as it still gets dark out earlier than in the summertime. You might be prudent to pack a headlamp in your dry bag, as well as a deck light. Transport Canada regulations stipulate that if paddling after sunset, all personal watercraft should have a navigation light; ideally one that can be seen from 360 degrees.
Happy Paddling from the Paiwen family!
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