Although generally, paddle boarding is associated with being a summer sport, for those who are more adventurous, paddle boards can be used all year round. Although it is definitely not recommended to head out in freezing weather conditions wearing only a swimming costume, no matter how experienced you are at paddleboarding.
For those who do want to brave the cold temperatures with a paddle board in toe, you should have proper protective clothing to keep you warm on the water, these can include a number of garments and accessories.
Base layers are specifically designed to act as an extra layer of skin. They are usually lightweight and have a snug fit inorder to maximise their effectiveness. Base layers help to regulate your body temperature in extreme conditions and act as an insulator to trap heat keeping you warm. Even though using paddle boards in the winter is going to be cold, once you begin to paddle you’ll likely warm up as it is a physical activity, base layers will help to move the perspiration away from your skin helping to keep you dry. Base layers can come in the form of t-shirts, long sleeve tops and leggings.
Wetsuits are designed to keep you warm when you get wet but they are not waterproof. There are a number of different types of wetsuits you can buy which can cover your whole body from ankles to wrists however for paddle boarding a longjohn wetsuit might be better as these do not restrict your shoulder and arm movement.
Unlike wetsuits, drysuits are completely waterproof meaning that even if you fall in, your body will remain completely dry (with the exception of your head). Dry suits cover your whole body with waterproof seals at the ankles wrist and neck meaning they offer the most protection against the icy water. When using paddle boards you do need a wide range of motion which sometimes drysuits can restrict.
If you’re using a paddle board in an unsheltered area of water then the wind is going to be pretty chilly. A good hat will help to keep your head and ears at a comfortable temperature, normally any woolly hat will be fine unless you think you might fall in. If you are worried about falling in, then investing in a neoprene hat is a good idea as it will help to keep your head warm even if it gets wet.
When using paddle boards one of the key limbs that you need to paddle board effectively are your hands. If your hands are too cold then you’re not going to be able to grip your paddle properly and move yourself through the water effectively. Opting for a high quality pair of neoprene gloves will keep them warm even if they get wet, look out for gloves with grips on the palms as you might find your paddle slipping through your fingers without.
If you are planning to go paddle boarding in cold temperatures, it is essential to have an understanding of cold water safety and how to prevent cold water shock.