If you’re anything like our dedicated team of stand-up paddle board (SUP) professionals, then paddling is a year-round sport for you and your squad. Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall prevail over your paddle boarding plans! At the same time, though, it’s imperative that you protect yourself from the harshness of the elements. A cold winter’s night is no joke! That’s why we’re here today to share our best tips for paddle boarding in the snow. Keep on reading to learn more!
Check the Weather Forecast
Before you do anything else, check the weather forecast. If it looks like you’re in for a nasty storm with lots of snow, then we recommend staying home. When in doubt, better safe than sorry. On the other hand, if you’re anticipating just a little bit of snow—and you’re comfortable being out there—then go for it, but please heed all of our advice below.
Dress for the Water Temperature
Don’t leave the house without dressing for the occasion; more specifically, please dress for the water temperature. Yes, the air temperature is important, but the water temperature is even more important. If you fall into the water, and you’re not dressed for it, then you’ll have a much more serious chance of experiencing shock, incapacitation, or even hypothermia. That said, please check the water temperature and dress accordingly.
As for what to wear, we recommend waterproof gloves, socks, and shoes as well as your choice of either a wetsuit or a drysuit. We also advise all of our customers to bring a bright, waterproof light. Not only will this increase your visibility but it will also extend your range of vision. This can be especially helpful if you’re stuck in rain, snow, sleet, hail, or any type of wintry mix. All of this, of course, is just the beginning; we still have a ton of tips and tricks for you, including which accessories will help you most, especially in the snow.
Winter SUP Accessories
As we mentioned before, your biggest concern while paddle boarding in the snow will probably be falling into the brisk and chilling waters. With that in mind, here are our top recommendations for the best winter SUP accessories.
First, in order to steer clear of health and safety risks, you’ll want to stay as close to your board as possible at all times. For this, we recommend our Atoll 10-Foot Coil Paddle Board Leash. In the event that you would fall into the water and experience any levels of shock or incapacitation, a leash can make a world of difference in preventing hypothermia, as it can help you get back on your board as quickly as possible.
Similarly, a personal floatation device (PFD), can be a real lifesaver, too. Again, if you fall into the water, a PFD will keep you afloat, which will also help with the recovery time of getting back on your SUP. Remember, the sooner you can get back on your board, the better chance you have of avoiding hypothermia and other cold-related illnesses. For this, we recommend an Onyx M-16 Inflatable Belt Pack.
Additional Tips, Tricks, and Safety Measures
Finally, here are some additional safety measures that can help to keep you and your crew safe out there. First, please tell someone about your SUP plans. This way, if anything would go wrong, you’ll have someone waiting in the wings, ready to help you in any way needed. Needless to say, this is an invaluable resource, especially when extreme cold and hypothermia are real possibilities.
Another classic way to brave the cold of winter adventures is packing a piping hot beverage, especially in a thermos or other insulated container. Trust us, this one is just as simple as it is effective. In the same way, we can’t overstate the importance of stretching, especially in the cold. By giving your body and muscles an extra opportunity to warm up, they are better prepared for anything that could happen during your ice-cold escapade.
Speaking of being prepared, one of the best things you can do ahead of an actual SUP session is a practice paddle. This can be extremely helpful if you’re worried about the weather, technique, or anything else that might come into play during your everyday paddling. For example, if you’re not sure about paddling in the snow, then plan on going out when there is a very light, minimal snowfall. By doing so, you’ll be able to get a feel for everything while also staying as safe as possible. Plus, if you want to take things one step further, you can always do another practice paddle when it’s more of a moderate snowfall, just to make sure you’re comfortable in more than a light storm.
Whether you’re going for a practice paddle or the real deal, another good tip is to stay close to shore. If you change your mind, fall into the water, etc, the closer you are to the shore the better. Trust us, you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of a wintry windchill.
Last but certainly not least, trust your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable going out in the snow, then please stay at home. Or, if you’re already out there and you don’t feel safe, then please turn around and head back to shore as soon as possible. Remember, the only person who can tell you what’s right for you is you. Trust your gut. When in doubt, better safe than sorry.
Now that you know our best tips for paddle boarding in the snow, you’re ready to get out there and have some fun! And when you do, please stay safe and sound from beginning to end. Remember, if there’s ever anything we can do to assist you, our team of SUP professionals at Atoll Boards will always be more than happy to help in any way we can. Just contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Happy paddling, everyone! Stay safe!