When you live in the Pacific Northwest (or any northern climate), this is the time of year when the jealousy of those beach babes in Cali and Florida starts to set in deep! For me, seeing pics of people on their boards in full sunshine (with no sweatshirts!!) is like the green monster twisting the knife just a little deeper! But with some special considerations paddle boarding can easily be extended to a year round activity… or at least April through late fall! If there’s ice floating by, consider me inside.
Safety issues are paramount for standup paddle boarding in cooler weather. This is a time to really honor your healthy respect for water. Here’s my list of what to do in chillier waters:
- Actually wear that PFD, not just have it on your board. NRS Zephy Inflatables have a super low profile (especially if you have a big sweatshirt on, you probably won’t even really notice it!) and don’t get in the way of most yoga poses.
- Paddle with a friend, or at least have someone in eyesight from shore. This is always good advice!!
- Have your whistle ready. In Oregon having a whistle while paddling is state law. Graced by Grit clothes all come with a whistle and have convenient places to attach the whistle.
- Paddle in areas you’re familiar with. Rivers can move a lot differently depending on rain and melts so you want to be sure that you are aware of your surroundings.
- Stick to poses that you are pretty comfortable with. Below are some of my favorite “low and slow” poses that you are unlikely to fall in while doing. Cold weather isn’t the time to practice your fancy new inversion that you are just landing, well, on land.
- If you are really new to SUP or just feeling off that day, there is no shame in paddling while kneeling or even sitting. A good, easy to adjust paddle makes switching between positions simple. The Glide Paddle by Sawyer is great for this.
What to Bring in Your Dry Bag and What to Wear
Cooler weather doesn’t mean no sunscreen! I like to pick products that still smell like summer- the more coconut, the better!! Chapped lips and dry skin post paddling are a concern in the fall and early spring. Urban Organics Lip Butter is awesome. Side story: my youngest son took a bite out of my lip butter, and because it is such a great, natural product I was not worried in the slightest. In fact, I figured it probably tasted good and hid it so he wouldn’t be back for more!
You also still need to stay hydrated even when it’s cold! I like to fill a Kleen Kanteen with either warm lemon-honey water or tea! I mentioned above how Graced by Grit has whistle connectors built in but another great cold weather feature is that their clothes dry ridiculously fast, which is super important when the water is cold. In all the photos below. I am wearing their Land & Sea Logo knickers. I prefer capris to full length pants, even in the cold. You are most likely going to be in the water up to your ankles and you don’t want your pants that wet. If you are going to be in really cold water, check out this article about what to wear: http://www.isupworld.com/cold-weather-sup-paddling-tips/!
Cool Weather Yoga Poses
Here are some poses that stay low to the board. Your chances of falling in are really low in these poses- stick to what you are comfortable with. Remember, SUP yoga isn’t a competition. These cooler months are great times to get in some quiet, restorative and meditative poses and not worry about rigorous asanas.
Discount codes for some of the products listed above:
- GRETCHEN10 for 10% off and free shipping at glidesup.com
- 20% off at Graced by Grit use GBGXOPRO338