Winter Paddling

Winter Low Tide on the Stour

The Winter Paddling Season has Begun

Folks in the UK have a tendency to close the doors, draw the curtains and turn on the heating in winter and place every barrier they can between themselves and the beautiful environment that is on their doorstep. They don’t get to experience all of the pleasures of our coastline and estuaries at the time of year when our waters are cleared of moored craft; car parks are emptier and access to the water a lot easier. Our winter birds are in abundance and we have almost the entire environment to ourselves. So some tips for our ‘beginner’ guests on our leisure day trips as well as our more experienced sea kayakers.

Beginners – Our Day Guests
The sit-on-top kayaks we supply are very stable and easy to paddle but as sit-on-tops, they will always have scupper holes around the seat and footrests to allow any water entering the deck to drain. Wear good warm footwear with woollen socks and a good water boot, usually at least a size too large to accommodate a couple of pairs of socks. Also, wear some insulation around the bum, neoprene shorts are recommended with a couple of layers over the top of that to fend off any water splashes and wind chill. As for the rest of your body, a simple layering system using woollen clothes and synthetics with the ability to vent by unzipping to cool off when necessary. Headwear is important with around 30% of your heat loss through your head so wear whatever is comfortable for you i.e. a baseball cap, warm beanie or sun hat. Gloves are acceptable on beginner trips and advisable. And don’t forget sunglasses as the glare off the water from winter sun can be quite intense. Don’t wear too many layers as you will get very warm once you begin paddling and always take extra spare warm clothing with you for when you stop for a break.

Sea Kayakers
Most of our sea kayakers use dry suits with warm layers worn underneath. As for those wearing semi-dry paddling suits, the same rules apply as for our beginner paddlers. Layer your clothing using primarily woollen materials and keep your head warm with headwear that suits you. Our recommendation is that sea kayakers DO NOT wear gloves due to the limitation of these poses when handling cordage and equipment. Instead resort to short pogies which will allow you to keep warm whilst being able to carry out important tasks such as removing spray decks, working with carabiners, radios and tow systems and other general tasks. Footwear for sea kayakers is hugely important so wear multiple warm woollen socks as required and ensure you buy good quality ankle boots with a thick sole for landing on slippery rocks and east coast oyster beds. It’s a good idea to always carry all of your usual safety gear i.e. split paddle, at least two or more methods for calling for assistance, a small medical kit and spare warm clothing, food and fluids. Be disciplined and always carry all of your emergency gear.

1. All cotton clothing
2. All denim clothing

Check out our guidance on layering your outdoor clothing here Layering Outdoor Clothing

So no excuses, don’t be soft, get out and about and enjoy a memorable experience enjoying some exercise, make new friends and enjoy memorable views of our beautiful environment. Visit our website and join us on a memorable winter excursion now!

Published On: 26th October 2017