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When is it Too Cold to Go Paddle Boarding?

October 24, 2022
Paddle Boarder on Colorful Watery Surface with Mountains in the Distance

At Atoll Boards, we always do our best to make sure our customers have all the information and resources they need in order to stay safe and sound throughout every single adventure. Whether it’s a hot, steamy summer day or an ice-cold winter night, our team of stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) experts will always have some helpful insights and advice. For example, if you’ve ever wondered, “When is it too cold to go paddle boarding?”, then this is the perfect blog for you. For everything you need to know about safely paddle boarding in frosty conditions, keep on reading below!

Check the Weather and Water Temperature

First and foremost, when it comes to paddle boarding, please note that the best way to measure coldness is not the air temperature, but rather the water temperature. For instance, water temperatures between 60°F and 70°F can create difficulty breathing with a chance of immediate shock upon entering the water. Worse still, water temperatures between 50°F and 60°F are extremely dangerous and can pose several health risks, including shock, incapacitation, and hypothermia. So, how does one safely paddle board during these teeth-chattering temperatures?

Proper Preparations Before You Leave the House

After checking the weather and water temperature, make sure you dress and pack properly. Of course, you’ll want to dress in layers, but be sure to do so in water-resistant clothing. In addition to a dry or wetsuit, we also recommend thick gloves, a good hat, thermos socks, and other heat-retaining clothing. When selecting your warm clothing, remember to avoid materials like cotton, as it is especially bad for cold weather. If your cotton gets wet, then you will get soaked, and that could quickly cause hypothermia. Don’t worry, there are a few more things you can do to avoid dire circumstances like these. 

Hands in Mittens Pouring Hot Beverage Out of Thermos

Pack the Right Supplies

Start by bringing a thermos full of your favorite hot beverage. Sure, it’s a simple tip, but you’ll be glad to have those extra moments of warmth when you need them most. Speaking of warming up, be sure to move around and warm up those muscles before you begin your brisk paddle boarding adventure. This can make a world of difference if you fall into the water, especially if it’s cold enough to shock your system and freeze you up. Furthermore, if you do fall into the water, there are a few accessories you’ll definitely want to have.

Wear Your Safety Equipment and Accessories

As always, you’ll want to wear a leash, such as our Atoll 10-Foot Coil Paddle Board Leash. Additionally, we highly recommend a personal floatation device (PFD), such as the Onyx M-16 Inflatable Belt Pack. In the event that the cold water incapacitates you, a PFD can be a life-saver. For instance, if you fall into the water and you can’t seem to swim, the PFD will keep you afloat. Then, with the help of the leash, you’ll be able to pull yourself back onto your board. This quick recovery can be very important, especially when hypothermia is a real possibility. 

Paddle Boarder Holding Atoll Inflatable SUP

Additional Safety Precautions

Last but not least, here are some additional safety precautions that you can take before and after you leave the house. Before you step foot outside that door, be sure to mention your SUP plans to someone. If you want, you can also ask them to call you at a certain time if they haven’t heard any updates yet. Speaking of phones, make sure you put all of your valuables in a high-quality dry bag, such as our Atoll Overkill Dry Bag Waist Pouch Fanny Pack. Another thing you’ll want to have on your person is a waterproof and bright light, which will make you much more visible in the event of an emergency. 

And, if you’re worried about an emergency, play it safe and stay closer to shore. That way, if you do fall into the water, it’ll be that much easier to get back to land, warm up, and get medical attention, if needed. Finally, trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe out there, then don’t go paddle boarding; or, if that feeling finally hits once you’re on the water, then just turn around and head back to shore. If your instincts are telling you it’s not safe, then there’s probably a reason for that. In any event, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Paddle Boarder on Colorful Watery Surface


We hope this answered your question, “When is it too cold to go paddle boarding?” Remember, if you do decide to go out on the icy waters, begin by checking the weather and water temperature. Then, take care of all the proper preparations before you leave the house, including packing the right supplies and telling someone about your adventure. Finally, with your safety equipment and accessories in tow, you should be good to go! Stay safe, have fun, and happy paddle boarding!

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