× Tips and techniques for getting the most out of surfskiing.

Tips for Winter Paddling

4 years 4 months ago - 4 years 4 months ago #24892 by photofr
Surfskis originated for warm-water paddling. Over the years, I believe that many people have proven that surfskis also offer more safety during even the COLDEST of places.

While you may all have several tricks for staying warm, here's how to resolve some COLD FEET ISSUES:
1. Do not take your ski to a repair shop to enlarge the footwell. :(
2. Use 5mm booties with no soles, because you will not be walking much while in the ocean.
3. Booties with soles tend to be much larger, and will rarely fit a surfski footwell.
4. For max warmth, place booties inside your wetsuit.
5. For added warmth, be sure to minimize water flow at the ankles.

Perhaps you guys want to add some "unusual" tricks, or tricks that you have tried and that work well for you.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)
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4 years 4 months ago - 4 years 4 months ago #24893 by Uffilation
Replied by Uffilation on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
Ludovic,
I've already realized that you've been adding some valuable hands on advice in this forum, which actually made me register here to give you a thumbs up. I'd absolutely agree with your posts on padding.

Re: winter paddling, I use for the
- body: a drysuit and thermo underwear
- feet: 2mm thermo socks sometimes combined over "winter hiking socks" inside the dry suit and 3 or 5mm neoprene boots without soles on the outside (I still find too many footwells too narrow, even during summer with neo socks and I not have large/wide feet)
- head: a neo cold face mask/balaclava with a neo cap
- neck: synthetic tube-type scarf/muffler
- hands: neo gloves with cutaway palm region (DIY version) to have contatc with paddle shaft and dep. on temperature above that or alone neo pogies

I allways have a spare pair of dry gloves+pogies in a dry bag with me and gel hand warmers (similar to those magic heat pads).

Note:
I prefer the cowboy remount for narrow buckets/higher side walls, takes a few secs B) ... during summertime lol, in winter (inner lakes) I paddle an easy to remount ski (where I could spent hours in the side saddle pos.) with wider footwell, wider bucket and lower side walls as I do not enjoy remounting my Vajda Hawx with all that gear + PFD :S . The "remount in winter"-issue with the Vajda "might be only me" though, I have no issues with that ski during summer or with a neoprene + paddle jacket combo in autumn/early spring though.

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4 years 4 months ago #24894 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
Uffilation: Well… thanks !
I am glad that you find some of the stuff useful.

What part of the world do you paddle in, and what are the normal summer / winter temperatures ?

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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4 years 4 months ago - 4 years 4 months ago #24895 by Uffilation
Replied by Uffilation on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
Forgott to mention:
there are spray skirts for surfskis, but they cover "too much" for me ... I did not switch from kayak paddling to surfski just to end up in a spray skirt again lol.

However, that extra isolation by a skirt is nice, also that extra protection regarding splashing water (or dripping water from the paddles) ...

So I'll make myself a half-skirt for this winter > velcro fastened onto the ski or I'll thermoform /vacuum form a small hood myself of thin clear plastic > check Google for DIY vacuum forming with a vacuum cleaner :woohoo:

Actually I hate use/overuse of smileys

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4 years 4 months ago - 4 years 4 months ago #24896 by Uffilation
Replied by Uffilation on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
Southern Germany/Austria/Switzerland. I paddle as long as the lakes are not frozen, but I do prefer air temp. to remain above 0 °C though.

To keep in mind safetywise : all the stuff one finds on winter paddling reg. cold shock when falling in, e.g. dry suffocation upon shock etc.

I once fell in during winter (5°C water temperature, air temp. a bit above 0°C) with all that gear on in annoying chop and 50km/h wind after a nice but short downwind paddle with small waves 80cm. First 3 min. were reserved for the cold shock and hyperventilating. I was able to remount. Paddle a bit. Fell back in. Remount. Fell back in. Remount. Fell back in. For the 4rth try, I was totally exhausted (after a strong paddle 19km a few km downwind) and could'nt pull myself above the ski anymore and I decided to swim downwind 200m to the shore using the ski as a "sail" ... means I made a "_I_" with the ski, me being the "I" lying with my shoulders/head in the bucket of the halfturned ski and the ski being the "___" using my legs for propulsion and the wind towards the shore. It's a discussison point if that decision to "swim" was right, but I felt more comfy to move on asap, the drysuit still kept me warm and I was half in the buckte of the ski.

By the time I reached the shore, I was getting very cold, esp. when I got out of the water (strong wind took seconds to cool me further down). Although I found shelter from the wind immediatly, I seem to not gain temperature again. Biggest Problems were the hands (in those wet gloves), the cold seemed to suck any heat out of my body through the hands. As I paddled back near the shore (only 8km), this really became a concern, since the wet gloves did not get warm again > "dead cold hands". Which is why I now also carry a second pair of gloves/pogies in a dry bag and gel hand warmers with me.

Note I made a beginner's mistake: strong wind came up and I wanted to take that extra downwind surprise gift with me at the end of a nice paddle afternoon before leaving the lake. I was a bit cold already and exhausted. and I decided to short cut by crossing a part of the lake where during winter, I normally stay near the shore during fitness paddling.

Excuse any typos.

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4 years 4 months ago #24897 by [email protected]
Drysuit is warm but almost impossible to swim in!

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4 years 4 months ago #24900 by Uffilation
Replied by Uffilation on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
[email protected],

you refer to all drysuits on the market? or the only one that is on the market?

IMO that depends on
- the kind of the drysuit
-the thickness of the under layer and
- if it was "vented" correctly directly after taking on
(by kneeling down and venting via the arm or neck rings) or if it balloons in the water as it has too much air in it, too much air hinders Swimming.

well, and its wearer ...

Just my 2 cents.

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4 years 4 months ago - 4 years 4 months ago #24901 by Uffilation
Replied by Uffilation on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
see YouTube for example "Quick Tips How to Put On a Drysuit" from 1:50 min,

with a properly vented dry suit, one can swim ... not with a completely ballooning drysuit of course, that would be floating on the back.

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4 years 4 months ago #24905 by merijnwijnen
This thread may become a goldmine of good tips. Splendid subject.

Actually, today was my first winter day, we had the coldest 14 Oktober on record (4 deg), and it was raining.

I had a standard training paddle (flatwater) with the kids I train (age 11 / 12). All kids were dressed in neoprene, paddling jacket, PFD and some had the head covered. They lasted for 1/2 an hour, then the hands became to cold. Paddling season is over for them.

I have two options in winter (K1):
-Neoprene Long John with a craft shirt, a light paddling jacket, socks and 3 mm neoprene socks
-Drysuit with long underwear and extra layers depending on temperature. Neoprene booties or socks

Problem is always the balance between overheating and air / water temperature. Sea kayakers say: dress for immersion. On a surfski or k1 that is a difficult one. The top paddlers (k1) in my club just dress in running clothes and go out in the dark. It would not be my choice, but when you are competing at international level its different.

For the hands I use what we call pogies (those things that fit around the paddle shaft). They work very well and give a proper feeling of the paddle. Often I take them of halfway as they are to hot. But when you end up in the water they are useless. I do not have a solution for that. May be some palm less gloves instead of the pogies.
Another option is to put paddling gloves in the PFD, and use them when you fall in. More work at a critical moment.....

I am hoping for some bright ideas.

Seakayak, flatwater racing and a surfski on order.
Looking for other ski paddlers in South East Netherlands (Maas / Waal)

Surfski: Nelo 560 on order :-)
K1:Kirton Tor
Sea kayak: NDK Explorer HV
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4 years 4 months ago - 4 years 4 months ago #24907 by Uffilation
Replied by Uffilation on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
merijnwijnen,
see post #24893 reg. hands and spare glove/pogies

... below 15°C water temp. I usually switch to dry suit (from 2part neo with paddle jacket). Summer = neo shorts or long pants + whatever long arm shirt, maybe a second short arm shirt as a layer beneath if windy.

Rule of thumb I heard of for water temperatures below 15°C:
1°C less gives you 1min. less w/o protection (naked?),
means at 10°C = you have 10 mins. to get out onto your craft again to avoid cold incapacitation . If that is true you ask? I don't know, 0°C does not compute lol, neither does -5°C.

Google:
- cold water immersion paddling
- wetsuit vs. drysuit for kayaking paddlinglight
- Surfski-paddling-safely-through-winter
- Cold Weather Paddling: The Four Essentials – by Mark Cecon

Google four stages of cold water immersion:
1 Cold Shock Response
2 Cold Incapacitation or short-term “swim failure”
3 Hypothermia
4 Circum-rescue Collapse

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4 years 4 months ago - 4 years 4 months ago #24910 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
As a general rule, I will use the following…but keep in mind that I will take additional precautions while solo paddling in open ocean.

PERSONAL CLOTHING
20°C water temp: I am in shorts.
15°C water temp: lycra / wool mix pants (similar to cycling winter pants) and top .
10°C water temp: 1mm or 2mm neoprene pants, chest neoprene vest (no sleeves) and lycra/wool shirt on top.
9° to 6°C water temp: I use a 3/2 wetsuit.
Below 6°C water temp: 3/2 wetsuit, with wind breaker, and fake hair.

PRECAUTIONS
Note 1: I am sure that everyone is different, so you may also have to experiment.
Note 2: This is a partial list - do not copy senselessly.

Test your gear - near shore, with easy access to a warm shower / bath.
Warm up your core temperature before getting on your ski. For instance, run on the beach (this is by far one of the hardest thing to do during the coldest of mornings, but it works like magic).
I don't fall in very often, but when I do, I always plan on getting back in my ski within seconds. Upon remounting, it's sprint to sprint to SPRINT - in an effort to warm up as quickly as possible.
If you are too tired, already exhausted, above your limits or similar…when entering the water, your chances of survival upon submersion are greatly reduced.
One of the things that can be most helpful (and still better than not paddling) is getting a winter surfski - with huge amounts of stability. You never want to miss the first remount attempt.
Wetsuit and drysuit: two different schools, two different groups of people who will swear by their choices - so use what is best for your needs.
People who prefer wetsuits tend to use one size larger wetsuits for better freedom of movement. I couldn't agree LESS. In fact, wetsuits work with the principal of being wet, and collect a super thin layer of water that your body has to warm up. Your goals, while wearing a wetsuit, will be: a) make sure that it's super snug (as snug as you can bare). b) limit water flow so that your body doesn't have to heat up too much water. c) ensure that your wetsuit has very flexible arms and shoulders (which is pretty much standard on most expansive and latest wetsuits designed for surfing). Do not wear a wetsuit in super cold waters if it doesn't fit you perfectly.

As a side note, I once fell in a frozen lake while cross country skiing in true Wilderness - my clothing flash freeze upon exiting and my skis were collecting snow like snow magnets. I had to travel 8km to safety, soaked… and I believe that the only thing that saved me was: a) wearing wool and b) sprinting and forcing myself to keep on sprinting to fight the cold air temperature that was -14°C (negative 14 - which is probably warm for you guys up North).

Perhaps one way to look at it all is:
TV Couch is safer.
Summer paddling is the next "safest" thing.
Winter paddling is very dangerous, and shouldn't be taken lightly, but I feel like it's a 1000 times safer than serious alpinism. Know your limits, but feel free to also experiment.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)
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4 years 4 months ago #24917 by Flowmaster
Replied by Flowmaster on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
I've seen to many problems with drysuits with sup surfing people to trust it.
Maybe it's my surfing background, but I'm into wetsuits, the flexibel surfing kind and not the windsurfing suits.
Most of the time, in Holland you can get away with 4 mm, I almost never use my 5 mm suit.
Boots, 6 mm socks, gloves neoprene 1.5 mm with grippy stuff on the inside.

...ooooO...................
...(.......)......Ooooo....
....\.....(.......(.......).....
.....\.__)........)...../.....
...................(__./......
JUST LEAVE FOOTPRINTS
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4 years 4 months ago #24918 by Uffilation
Replied by Uffilation on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
Flowmaster thanks for your Input, I'd like to know though what kind of problems you refer to and to what years your experience date back to (in terms of,do you mean older models or state of the art types).

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4 years 4 months ago #24922 by BrettD
Replied by BrettD on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
I've just come out of the winter paddling in Tasmania. Water temperatures run about 12C most of the winter with air mostly about 5-12C. I'm 47 and been paddling for about two years and a swim is always a chance. Due to a very unpredictable work schedule I often paddle solo.

Clothing wise I bought a custom Kokatat Goretex drysuit with integrated Goretex socks last winter and thoroughly recommend it. It would be fair to say that I am not the most energetic trainer and layered with thermal or fleece under layers I have never felt as though I was too hot and find the Goretex plenty breathable. With the custom fit the suit is not at all restrictive and if you purge all the air I find remounts no problem. With 5mm booties and a fleece hat I feel warm and secure. Compared to a wetsuit it is actually a pleasure to step out of the suit at the end of the paddle and find yourself already in warm dry clothes and socks rather than cold wet rubber.

Other than clothing I think winter paddling should probably come with a different mindset than summer paddling. The margins for error in terms of time in the water before serious hypothermia set in are much narrower in winter and I plan my paddles accordingly. I always carry a PLB and mobile phone, a PFD and a leg leash, and often use a paddle leash. Unless it is calm I pretty much paddle close to shore where I can swim to safety if the remount fails or there is equipment failure. This often means paddling in shallow water with lots of reflecting waves from the shore but that is all good for balance practice anyway. In winter I always try to avoid offshore winds. I would rather be blown back to shore than further out to sea.

In my work we have protocols for emergency situations which we drill over and over so we are making fewer difficult decisions in stressful situations. In many cases these are time related. e.g. if X isn't improving things in 60 seconds, then try Y, then Z and so on. Paddling in cold water I think it is useful to have a similar process in mind before you enter the water. It will definitely vary depending on your expertise, experience and fitness but for me it is something like: If I capsize then within 30 seconds set up for remount and make your first attempt your best. If I can't remount within 3 minutes then I reconsider my options. Perhaps a brief rest, repositioning the ski and a further attempt is all that I need but sometimes the path to safety may not be on top of your ski. When this happened once last winter, my dry suit and my paddle route and the increasing onshore wind and waves meant I could afford to lie prone across the ski with my head out of the water and kick/be blown to shore within 5 minutes where I recuperated and was able to continue after the weather settled. If at any time I am not certain I am not going to be in a safe position (either paddling upright or ashore) within 10 minutes of capsizing then it's time to hit the PLB and hold onto the ski until I am hopefully rescued. So far this has never happened but that's why I carry it.

It may well be that my experience reflects a middle aged relatively inexperienced paddler who is a confident sea swimmer and that your abilities and conditions will be different. However I have found my current equipment and planning works well for me.
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4 years 4 months ago #24923 by Flowmaster
Replied by Flowmaster on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
The last problems are from last winter, winter is starting again over here now, so last year.
A kite surfer got tangled up with his lines after a crash, he was wearing a drysuit, people starred a resque but the waves and current where severe it took some time and the water temp was low.
After a while his neck started to leak, and a small amount of cold water came in, end off story, he survived but hypothermia was a big concern, also after the rescue in the hospital.

A sup surfer at my local spot, almost drowned, cause of a leak in his suit, his leash snapped, he had to swim, water in the suit and almost down and out.

Give me a 5 mm surfing suit, a modern and flexible one, and I can do two hours in February

...ooooO...................
...(.......)......Ooooo....
....\.....(.......(.......).....
.....\.__)........)...../.....
...................(__./......
JUST LEAVE FOOTPRINTS
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4 years 4 months ago - 4 years 4 months ago #24924 by Uffilation
Replied by Uffilation on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
Thanks a lot, as we know, there are two camps reg. wet- and the drysuiters, so I am not advocating either one, just wanted to know, thanks again. Leakage is often a maintenance issue or caused by having saved at the wrong end (buying used ones or keeping them for too long after intense use), imho.

Btw. you might wonna google > "IF THE SUIT FLOODS IT WILL DRAG YOU TO THE BOTTOM" from the diving board though ... Anyway time to do some remount training with gear next week, I wonder if I could persuade the local life guards to watch me swimming with an open zipper ... but'll also give the wetsuit a go at the shore see how much I can stand in full immersion in comparison.

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1 year 4 months ago #32749 by Wingnut
Replied by Wingnut on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
I've tried swimming with a properly vented drysuit and found it very slow going, much greater effort then swimming in trunks. Add a pfd and it's even harder. I'd recommend anyone that owns a drysuit to test swimming in a non emergent situation so you know your limitations.

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1 year 4 months ago #32750 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
Not sure if this applies here. I was out surfing in some relatively large surf. The back zipper of my wetsuit blew open and filled with water. I was struggling while being pounded by a multi wave set and tethered to my surfboard.
The thought of possibly drowning crossed my mind. Not a comfortable feeling.



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1 year 4 months ago #32751 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
Kirk, are those pics of you and is that nearby us? That's some legit surf. What's 'typical' and 'a big day' wave size for the winter here? I hear the winter gets bigger surf than summer.

I was out Saturday and last night in 4-5 footers per the nearest noaa bouy and had some of the best rides of my life! Im looking forward to more days like those this winter
cdip.ucsd.edu/?nav=historic&sub=data&stn...p1&stn=111&stream=p1

Looks like Monday/tuesday next week should be rockin' if the forecast is close :)

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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1 year 4 months ago - 1 year 4 months ago #32753 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
Marcus, yes and yes. The fuzzy picture is right there at Marina Park. Can't say publicly where the other spot is. :whistle:
Winter time ground swells are typically much bigger than summer sells. Winds are much more variable in direction and intensity with passing low pressure systems.
Yeah, a hurricane off Baja is sending some substantial surf our way and possibly some southerly winds. Surf forecasts are for waves with up to 15' faces at the beach Sat pm through middle next week.
Definitely be some forerunners during the race on Sat.
Wohoo! :woohoo:

Check out Emma Wood, aka Overhead reef during big swells. Pretty intense offshore reef break that can be ridden on a surfski with caution. STAY on the shoulder though! Get to deep and bad things happen.

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