4 tips with hacks for your cold-water surfing
We got some tips and hacks for cold-water surfing that will significantly boost your winter SUPing, kite-, wake- or skimboarding. They work for any sport you are into.
The fact that it is the cold seasons’ time to shine doesn’t mean that you have to pack in your surfing gear away and forget about your water sports obsession. All you need is good preparation, some reliable gear, and a buddy just as enthusiastic as you.
1. If you want to stay warm - gear up
Make sure to pick the right thickness (4mm and up) and size for your wetsuit. For example, the O’Neill Psycho Tech has a solid thickness of 6mm and an inbuilt hood. Also remember the accessories like neoprene gloves, boots, and extra neoprene wear, because when the cold hits your body, it automatically goes into ‘survival mode’, keeping the blood circulating primarily in your core area. This makes your hands and legs cool off even till numbing, which you definitely won’t like when actually using them.
- Hack: Apart from investing in some good gear, you can also prepare an emergency hot-water bottle to bring to the shore. If you start freezing, just get out and pour some warm water in your wetsuit.
2. Keep yourself safe
Safety should be a priority in the cold water! Pick a board with more volume to it, or a bit larger/ broader one to make staying afloat easier. A leash (and a life vest) is a good add-on if you don’t have one already and your sport allows it. Probably you know that cold water is heavier. Top that up with slower reactions from your side because of the ice-cream headaches, or the thicker wetsuit and you got yourself a quick recipe for an accident.
- Hack: Research the place you are heading out to beforehand. Look at weather forecasts and reviews to know what you can expect. Don't let yourself be surprised by the conditions when already into deep waters.
3. Warm your body up on the shore
You really need to get your heart pumping and pushing blood before you enter the water. A few active stretches and Jumping Jacks at the shore can do miracles and remember to keep moving constantly in the water as well.
- Hack: Keep your socks on while putting your wetsuit and while warming up - they make it easier to get the legs in and keeps your feet warm till the very moment you enter the water. While you are stretching, you can put your neoprene boots on top of them as well so you can keep the heat as long as possible. Get rid of them right before you enter the water.
4. Get a surf buddy to share your enthusiasm
Finding a partner to share your passion makes the cold session more fun and safer. As many of the beaches are not lifeguarded offseason, it is really important that you are not alone, out in the wild. Whether you are SUPing on a lake or kitesurfing in the ocean, it is always better to have two heads thinking (especially when you got a brain freeze).
- Hack: Make your own traditions and rituals, especially when it comes to getting used to the cold water. Take occasional small trips to the beach for cold dips in the water and cozy up with a hot chocolate afterwards. You will both built up to 50% better tolerance for the cold if you get your body accustomed to it.