The beauty of Vancouver is that we can paddle year round for those of us brave and smart enough to handle the frigid waters and low air temperatures. It can be a beautiful and very peaceful time of year to be out on the water with snowy mountain tops and quiet waters. I tend to paddle on my own out in the ocean, even in the winter time. I love it but have some key items with me to ensure good times and a safe return to a warm cozy house.
My go to pieces for most of the year in Vancouver are two awesome Kokatat products: Hydrus 3L Tempest Pants with socks – Women and the women's Gore-Tex Paclite Pullover. I get really cold feet so the pants with socks are ideal for SUPin throughout the winter. I can wear thick, warm socks and some neoprene booties over the goretex socks that are attached to the pants. The jacket is light enough that I don't sweat too much in it and it provides great protection from the elements. The combination of the pants and jacket are awesome it is comfort, warmth, and pro from wind, rain, and or snow. Under the pants and jacket I like to layer. I usually wear some icebreaker products which offers stink free, wicking, and warmth.
I also don't paddle anywhere without my Werner paddles. On flat water I use my small grand prix paddle. In surf I use my nitro. Sometimes, if I am tight for space or am biking to paddling I will use my three piece nitro as it breaks into a great size to put into my bike panier or in my backpack!
Safety is of the utmost importance when winter paddling. I am a confident swimmer, paddler, and first aider but still think about safety when I get ready to go for a paddle. Whenever I head out for a paddle on my own in the winter I always wear a leash, a pfd, and even bring a VHF radio with me. I choose a route close to shore and let someone know which direction I am heading and for approximately how long. Safety is crucial out on the water especially in the winter. It doesn't matter how strong of a paddler you are mistakes happen, and in the winter we have very little time to fix them before the cold enables us. Ideally, I wouldn't go out alone but sometimes schedules don't workout with others and therefore I do my best with prevention to ensure I return home safely.
All that being said you can go paddling in the winter and its loads of fun as long as you find the right clothes for the elements and be smart out there!
Live, love, laugh,..DREAM!
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