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5 Things To Know Before Paddle Boarding in the Winter

paddle boarding in winter 5 tips

Who said you had to pack up your SUP board during the winter? Just because summer came and went doesn’t mean you can’t still participate in the water sport once the colder months roll around. However, there are some things you should know before paddle boarding in the winter—take a look at our tips below to ensure your safety on the icy waters.

Use Your Safety Gear

Safety gear is essential for paddle boarding, but they become paramount during the winter because the water is colder and far more dangerous to fall into. This includes wearing a leash around your ankle and a PFD (personal floatation device). The leash will keep you connected to the board if you fall, and the PFD could save your life if you need to swim through colder waters to get to shore.

Check the Weather Beforehand

Winter weather can often be unpredictable, and you never want to be caught in a snowstorm. Before you head out for your adventure, check your local news for the weather to ensure the conditions are safe for paddle boarding. Check the wind’s direction, strength, temperature, and overall forecast to determine if it’s appropriate for you to be on the water.

Pack Your Car With Warm Clothes for Afterward

One mistake you don’t want to make is not packing warm clothes to change into after your trip. While you will wear clothes to keep you warm during your journey, you will also want to be warm afterward. You might think you’re warm enough with what you have on, but if you fall into the water, you’ll be sorry you don’t have dry clothes to change into. You should even consider keeping a thermos of warm coffee or tea on hand, too.

Be Wary of Ice Forming on Your Board

When temperatures are below freezing, water can quickly freeze on your inflatable SUP board, making it much more slippery and hard to keep your balance. This is from dipping your paddle in the water, bringing it across your board, and dipping it on the other side. When you cross your paddle over your board, the drippage will land on your board and freeze. If this happens rapidly, you may need to cut your adventure short to avoid falling into the water.

Leave a Note Before You Go

One thing to know before paddle boarding in the winter is to let others know when you’re heading out on the water. If nobody knows you went paddle boarding at the lake near your home, and something happens to you, you might not get help in time. Sending a quick text to a loved one could save your life, and it only takes a few seconds to let them know where you are.

Paddleboarding in the winter makes for a fun new adventure, but it’s quite different from participating in the sport during warmer weather. Ensure you’re taking extra precautions and safety measures before heading out. Don’t forget any tips on this list, or you could find yourself in hot water—figuratively speaking.

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.