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

Tips for Winter Paddling

1 year 4 months ago #32761 by SpaceSputnik
No way I can get away with a wetsuit in lake Ontario. Come late October, early November the water drops to 5-6 C. I tried 7 mm drysuit in those temps. It's cold and completely unsuitable for paddling (to the point I didn't even attempt it because it was completely ridiculous). Heavily layered drysuit is the only option for me.

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

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1 year 4 months ago #32766 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
Ludovic , love this post:

"Below 6°C water temp: 3/2 wetsuit, with wind breaker, and fake hair."

Well especially the part about "fake hair". :laugh:

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1 year 4 months ago - 1 year 4 months ago #32767 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
Maybe a cape too! some of the guys of the Missouri River 340 wear mexican wrestling masks and capes (and actually do quite well). For those of you who dont know about the MR340 check it out. Its a 340 mile / 550km continuous river race with a best solo finish of 36 hours 39 minutes and a tandem record of 34:34. many of the top finishers use 19-22" intermediate skis and do very well with them.
rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?board=Race

3/2 wetsuit in 7c/45f temps is chiiiiiilly though. Im in a drysuit under 50f/9-10c or so and am nice and comfortable and just adjust under layers as needed.

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 #32771 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
There are SO MANY ways to get away with "lighter clothing" during colder months of paddling. Here's to sharing what has worked well for me:

1. Gear up, and go for a 10 min run (running). My theory behind that is that it will warm all of my blood, and send some of it to my extremities.
2. Stretch your entire body in the cold. My theory there is that it will promote better blood circulation.
3. Go for another 10 min run.
4. Quickly grab your ski, and paddle your heart out.

There are times when I even fallen in the water and had long swims - in cold water. During those times, the key was to keep moving.

So the key may just be "Keep Moving".

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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1 year 4 months ago #32772 by SpaceSputnik
I sure don't want to be in the 6 C cold water awaiting a rescue without anything less than a layered drysuit. People have died that way.
In regards to moving. The cold water clinic I attended last year says that moving is not the best way to preserve warmth. They recommend energy saving fetal position. Swimming is only good when you are sure to reach the shore. If that's not possible call for rescue and preserve energy.

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

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1 year 4 months ago #32773 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
@Space:
Out of context, "moving will draw heat away from you faster" is 100% true, however, in the context of things, "moving will also generate heat".

With this in mind, we can swim from Alcatraz to San-Francisco in frigid waters, or we can swim with minimal layering in super cold water... AS LONG AS WE KEEP MOVING.

Goes to show that rescue classes are teaching a lot of "out of context" situations, because you will most likely die if you just sit there motionless in the middle of an Ocean (while you wait for a rescue).

The moral of the story:
People swim and survive.
People get off the Titanic, wait, and DIE.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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1 year 4 months ago #32774 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
Ludovic, please correct me if I'm wrong here. We were/are both ocean lifeguards and surfers. Maybe even swam competitively in high school and lifeguard competitions.
We are very comfortable with long swims in rough ocean conditions. I'm sure you like me are very efficient ocean swimmers. So as much as I agree with you, I believe the majority will not.
I have been surprised to see surfski paddlers and surfers who are virtually unable to swim with any efficiency even a short distance. I strongly believe surfski paddlers should spend a good deal of time improving there swimming skills.
On big winter time down winds, I carry a wetsuit hood in my PFD pouch. If I am forced to swim, could be a mile or two, I believe my chances of survival will be improved keeping my head warmer? I also like the idea of dressing so I am able to swim if neccesary. Easier said than done though.

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1 year 4 months ago #32775 by sski
Replied by sski on topic Tips for Winter Paddling
I never swam until adulthood when I began for triathlons. Did some 3-5 mile open water swims in past.
I haven't swam far w/ the dry suit on yet-I need to do that! i swam 150 yds which wasn't bad but that is a very short distance.
But i did practice dragging my boat while in summer wear. 3/4 mile in a lake and FOREVER in Hood River (it was only 0.4miles but it seemed 5 x that :)
So, my point-I recommend practice. People would tease me with my prep in certain events but it helps from panicking when the time comes (e.g getting kicked in face and goggles breaking at start of a triathlon).

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1 year 4 months ago - 1 year 4 months ago #32779 by SpaceSputnik
I see that lowest it gets in SF bay is 12 C in Jan. Lowest in lake Ontario is 3. We get 12 probably in the first half of May if we are lucky. 12 is pretty good for us here (it certainly gets much warmer July-Aug but drops off after) My seasons so far start and end in about 6 C.
The most commonly cited rule in the world of sea kayaking and general boating is 1-10-1 which is for freezing water and no protective clothing. 1 min of cold water shock 10 min of meaningful muscle movement and 1 hour to loss of consciousness due to hypothermia.
I also have a triathlete friend and I think I have heard 12 C is where the events get either cancelled or distances reduced. I have seen his wetsuit. It looks thin.

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

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