Winter Paddleboarding in London
Yes, you can SUP all year round in London. We asked our resident Finn (who else would know better how to keep warm in the cold?) for her top tips for winter paddleboarding.
This past weekend showed us that autumn and chillier weather has arrived. It’s time to get prepared for winter paddling in London. Staying warm on the water makes all the difference to make for an enjoyable SUP sesh. On Regent’s Canal, we’re never too far from civilisation and can easily get off the water at any point and get warm. Here are our top tips for what to consider when kitting out for flat water paddling in our urban SUP hood:
Booties – A good pair of wetsuit booties is a must for winter paddling. If you keep your feet warm, your body will follow suit. We recommend ankle-height in thick neoprene with a cozy lining. The thicker the bootie – 3-5-7 mm, the warmer they’ll be. If your feet get wet, the water will warm up inside the booties, so make sure they fit properly. Choose the bottom sole depending on how comfortable you want to be off your board, too.
Wetsuit – For our flat water SUP environment, full wetsuits can easily cause our bodies to overheat, unless you’re still finding your balance. We like 1-1.5 mm neoprene bottoms with thermal or athletic fabrics on the top, no cotton please, depending on how hard we expect to be working. We always carry a water/windproof jacket with us. For those few really chilly London winter paddles, a neoprene Long John/Jane is a great alternative, as it covers your lower back nicely and allows for greater movement and flexibility than a thick full wetsuit. The key to paddling in the winter is the ability to add and remove layers as you need to – and so avoiding sweating.
Buoyancy aid – PFD is another winter essential. Ignore your ego on this one. You may think you don’t need it, but it does keep you afloat if hit by cold water shock. It’s very useful in providing an extra layer of warmth. Many buoyancy aids also have handy pockets and clip points, so you can store some snacks or hang your lights from.
Gloves – Warm hands, warm heart. Cold hands, don’t even start. If your hands get easily cold, neoprene open palm mitts keep the chill off your fingers while allowing you to maintain the feel of the paddle. Wool is nice for keeping warm, but makes your hands slip on the paddle shaft.
Hat – Beanies, hats or hoods are another winter SUP essential. By wearing a hat, you will keep your whole body warmer. It reduces the amount of body heat that escapes from your head.
Dry bag – It’s a good idea to have a dry bag strapped to your board packed with some extra layers of clothing, a thermos filled with your favourite hot drink and an energy bar or two.
Like anything, prices can vary greatly so do your research. We’re not recommending any specific brands in this post but if you’d like some specific recommendations feel free to drop us an email.
See you on the water. x
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