Footwear for cold water

3 months 4 days ago #35234 by Arcturus
Hello from a new member—so new I don’t yet have my ski! But I want to get ready before it arrives. Been paddling sea kayaks since the early 2000s and have all the cold-water clothing. However, my intro to surfskis was in warm southern Cali waters, with bare feet. That leaves me wondering if there is any reason NOT to wear paddling booties in a ski.

Namely, will the soled heels wear away the gel coat etc? Assuming I use streamlined booties, I *think* they will fit in the footwell. There are whitewater kayaking “rodeo” socks made if soled boots are a bad idea. How about using whatever board surfers wear in cold water? Or do they go barefoot even in frigid conditions?

I live in SW Colorado. Going barefoot here only makes sense in mid to late summer, and even then hoofing it from vehicle to launch  means wearing protective footgear (sharp debris on the ground, esp. near boat ramps). I figure on strapping sandals to the rear deck for that.

Some of the videos here show people wearing drysuits and other cold-water clothing, so I am glad to know people are playing in the cold stuff, too. At least till “cold” becomes “solid,” anyway!

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3 months 4 days ago #35235 by robin.mousley

That leaves me wondering if there is any reason NOT to wear paddling booties in a ski.

Not at all.  Even here in relatively warm water, many people wear booties - personally I use Vibram 5-fingers booties which work extremely well.

The only thing to watch out for is that some surfskis have narrow footwells, which make bootie-clad feet a tight fit.

will the soled heels wear away the gel coat

I've never seen damage caused this way.

hoofing it from vehicle to launch  means wearing protective footgear 

Vibram 5-fingers absolutely ideal for this - they're narrow, have a hard protective sole and don't make your feet hot.

Welcome to the sport - you're going to have blast!

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...
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3 months 3 days ago #35236 by SpaceSputnik
I wear boots all year round. For warmer months here in Ontario I use 3mm ankle boots with soles and for the drysuit months I have a collection of oversized boots in the 3-5-7 thickness also with rubber soles. Usually 3mm non-zippered for anything but late Nov-Dec because they are easier to put on.
These are all the same type boots sea kayakers use. Never had an issue. Had to modify the strap on my Evo to fit, but the straps on the SES seem ok as is. Maybe when we get deeper into the cold season I'd need to do something to accommodate all the extra thickness caused by warmer socks.
It's more challenging to keep toes warm in freezing temps than in a sea kayak due to all the water exposure.
So just select your foot wear to conditions and the boat fit. As long as you are warm and not stuck in the footwell you should be ok. Obviously keep away from knee height expedition grade boots.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7
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3 months 3 days ago - 3 months 3 days ago #35237 by tve
Replied by tve on topic Footwear for cold water
Interesting posts... Just to provide some contrast... I avoid neoprene socks for as long as I possibly can. I'm paddling in SoCal, so water is just cold, not freezing cold.
The problem I have is that I only touch the rudder pedals with my toes, not the balls of my feet, and any form of bootie sole interferes too much for my taste. During a stroke I push more with the balls of my feet than the heels, so I don't want to try and move higher up on the foot plate. All booties I've tried also make my feet too wide to fit comfortably.
The solution I've come up with is to use 2mm neoprene socks. After a season the bottom is shot (mostly from rubbing against the foot plate), but they're cheap (~$15). I also have to make some holes into them from the get-go because otherwise they sometimes suck themselves onto my feet due to the push/pull movement during paddling and that leads to reduced blood flow ending in cramps.
Ha, to each their own :-)
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3 months 3 days ago #35238 by Arcturus
Replied by Arcturus on topic Footwear for cold water
Thanks to all of you. Sounds like I have suitable footwear already, ranging from 2mm socks (can fit in sandals when walking), to 3mm booties, to 7mm booties that I used a couple of times in the PNW. The 3mm booties are normally my choice, but as SpaceSputnik pointed out, exposure on the ski will make everything feel colder.

The real limitation will most likely be my willingness, or lack thereof, to wear insulated gloves. BTDT, and they extend the season but I prefer the feel of bare hands. Never was fond of pogies. This may be a moot point due to seasonal closure of lakes for administrative reasons.

Now back to figuring out what to do about ski leashes given what sounds like a poor record of durability and/or sturdiness. I’m happy that I won’t need much new gear other than the ski and a wing paddle.
 

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3 months 3 days ago #35241 by waverider
Replied by waverider on topic Footwear for cold water
I get numbing white fingers and find the lightweight nylon pogies sufficient just to keep the wind chill factor off as opposed to heavy numbing gloves. neoprene gloves dont stop the windchill and are mainly of any use if you end up in the the water. I simply cant paddle cool conditions with bare hands or I loose all feeling.

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3 months 3 days ago #35242 by Encino
Replied by Encino on topic Footwear for cold water
I live 2 hours North of SpaceSputnik,  FWiW,  it's my first year in a ski.   I've just started using 2mm neo socks, but will quickly be switching to 4 or 5mm booties as the water cools ...I have 8mm booties too, but by the time those would be necessary, the lake will be freezing over, and I'll be skiing on the snow.......though I probably should test them for ski paddling, as they do seem like they'd be difficult to use the steering pedals with.
I've been paddling (canoe and SUP) for the last 48 of 58 years of my life,  usually until there's enough snow to ski or the lakes freezes,and have always found a way to stay safe and warm regardless of the water or air temp....
Rule 1;  dress for the swim, always. End of story.

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3 months 3 days ago #35243 by Arcturus
Replied by Arcturus on topic Footwear for cold water
Waverider, the Glacier gloves I’ve used are neoprene with a rubbery outside (not cloth) and a short-fleeced inside, plus precurved fingers. Glacier used to call them ice-climbing gloves and later renamed them. They cut the wind chill and were warm enough for me, but they did reduce the feel on the paddle a little. I had to get used to them when switching for the seasons.

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3 months 3 days ago #35244 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Footwear for cold water
I get Raynaud's in my hands and can't cope without pogies.

The type that work for me are a heavy nylon with a reflective foil lining. Don't soak up water, stop windchill and keep cold from triggering the circulation shutdown.  In the UK they are sold by Marsport and via Ebay as Kosi Pogies.

Wouldn't want to use gloves, they are going to get soaked sometime and build blisters.

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3 months 3 days ago #35245 by SpaceSputnik
I use Glacier gloves as well, however this season I am having a bit of trouble switching to them. It's pretty cold in the morning already so I start off wearing them but tend to rip them off soon. They certainly not as tactile as bare hands or even 3mm neoprene gloves.
I want to try some non-soaking pogies, perhaps with neoprene gloves under when it gets even colder.
I was expecting to have a problem with a drysuit in the SES but surprisingly it's not a problem at all, feels just fine.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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3 months 2 days ago #35246 by SpaceSputnik

Encino wrote: I live 2 hours North of SpaceSputnik, 

Wow, that's serious business. I thought we get it cold here in Toronto, but that sounds quite a bit more extreme.

Rule 1;  dress for the swim, always. End of story.

Can't agree more. Most sea kayakers around here follow this rule. Surfskiers usually take a lot more liberties for some reason. I started off as a sea kayaker and while I don't really like sea kayaks I fully appreciate the heavily promoted safety mindset and a cold water safety as a big part of it.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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3 months 2 days ago #35251 by waverider
Replied by waverider on topic Footwear for cold water

SpaceSputnik wrote:

Encino wrote: I live 2 hours North of SpaceSputnik, 

Wow, that's serious business. I thought we get it cold here in Toronto, but that sounds quite a bit more extreme.

Rule 1;  dress for the swim, always. End of story.

Can't agree more. Most sea kayakers around here follow this rule. Surfskiers usually take a lot more liberties for some reason. I started off as a sea kayaker and while I don't really like sea kayaks I fully appreciate the heavily promoted safety mindset and a cold water safety as a big part of it.


I think surf skiers rely more on the ability to remount quicker, and not having to deal with a potentially flooded cockpit..Short of a structural ski failure there should be less time in the water  (in theory). Apart from the hardy souls its not as much of a cold weather sport that sea kayaking lends itself too. I think they also overheat more as they tend not to be casually loping along as you might in a touring sea kayak....

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3 months 2 days ago #35252 by SpaceSputnik

waverider wrote:

SpaceSputnik wrote:

Encino wrote: I live 2 hours North of SpaceSputnik, 

Wow, that's serious business. I thought we get it cold here in Toronto, but that sounds quite a bit more extreme.

Rule 1;  dress for the swim, always. End of story.

Can't agree more. Most sea kayakers around here follow this rule. Surfskiers usually take a lot more liberties for some reason. I started off as a sea kayaker and while I don't really like sea kayaks I fully appreciate the heavily promoted safety mindset and a cold water safety as a big part of it.


I think surf skiers rely more on the ability to remount quicker, and not having to deal with a potentially flooded cockpit..Short of a structural ski failure there should be less time in the water  (in theory). Apart from the hardy souls its not as much of a cold weather sport that sea kayaking lends itself too. I think they also overheat more as they tend not to be casually loping along as you might in a touring sea kayak....


This was rather in reference to a more serious situation when you either can't remount for some reason or get separated from the boat. Basically applies to any form of paddle craft.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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3 months 2 days ago #35253 by Arcturus
Replied by Arcturus on topic Footwear for cold water
Well, without a sprayskirt I expect to be wetter and cooler overall. It’s no big deal; I have  the necessary immersion clothing, including a drysuit and a full wetsuit. Not worn at the same time, of course. These go back to the days when I practiced rolling in cold water. Before I discovered the joys of practicing in an indoor pool, ha! No more ice cream headaches.

Yes, sea kayakers were/are always chanting, “Dress for immersion.” It gets drilled into us, even if we don’t always adhere to that. With the exposure on a ski, immersion wear iseems more appealing because it won’t be so darned hot to dress for the water on a sunny 68-degree day with 45-degree water.

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3 months 1 day ago - 3 months 1 day ago #35265 by agooding2
Replied by agooding2 on topic Footwear for cold water
I wear the Astral Loyak Spring/Summer/Fall and they are going on their third year.  They don't have neoprene so they don't rot or stink and I can wash my shoes out thoroughly after a paddle.  They have thin soles so I can push on the pedals without raising my legs too much and have good traction on wet surfaces.  They are a little more bulky than Five Fingers but not much more: https://www.astraldesigns.com/shop/footwear/mens/loyak-ms

In the winter I wear the Hiyak, but I can also wear the Loyak  with neoprene socks, so I only wear the Hiyak in the dead of winter.  They do keep my feet toasty and warm on a 0 degree C day though.

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3 months 1 day ago #35267 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic Footwear for cold water
If you're coming from a sea kayak background, I'm sure you are good to go. I paddle year round in Maryland on the Chesapeake bay. If it's not frozen, I'm on the water. I've managed to paddle my first year with a surfski with a 3/4 farmer john and various layers. I use 20 year old 5mm wetsuit booties. I tried paddling my ski in a drysuit, but it felt like paddling in a ziplock bag. I overheated almost immediately. Not sure what kind of surfski you have, but on my Epic and size 13 feet, anything short of barefoot is a tight fit.

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3 months 21 hours ago #35275 by Arcturus
Replied by Arcturus on topic Footwear for cold water
The ski will be a 520 S. I am a small paddler. From the responses to my questions, footwell size shouldn’t be a problem with 3mm booties. Whew.

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3 months 4 hours ago #35281 by kwolfe
Replied by kwolfe on topic Footwear for cold water
I have a 550 and with size 11.5 feet I can use 5mm neoprene socks in the winter without a problem.  There's really no room left but I can get in and out just fine.

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2 months 4 weeks ago #35283 by SpaceSputnik
Well, as it appears 5mm boots over drysuit socks over wool socks won't fit well into stock SES straps. Went with 3mm, that works fine, but for colder wether will need to do a custom strap.
Also used Stohlquist Toaster Pogies today for the first time. Like them. They are thinner than typical kayaker's pogies, didn't feel much of added weight even soaked.  The silver part is 2mm neoprene with some kind of skin coating and the cuffs are nylon.
Can wrap them around the shaft when not needed.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7
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2 months 4 weeks ago #35284 by kwolfe
Replied by kwolfe on topic Footwear for cold water
Yeah I have NRS mambas and they are really really warm.  For paddling flat water, I think I might try pair of Bracia's this year.  Look roomier and easy to get into.  My hands sweat in 25F in the Mambas and I wind up having to flood them to cool down and wash out the sweat.

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