If you’re like me—a lover of stand-up paddleboarding who happens to live in a state that only reaches 80° for three months out of the year—then you try to make the most of paddling in the summer. As summer has transitioned into fall, though, I’ve been considering paddling in the cooler temperatures. Living in the land of 10,000 lakes, there are plenty of places to paddle, so why not take advantage of this before the water completely freezes over? For those not afraid of braving chillier waters, here are some ways to get some use out of your paddleboard this fall and early winter while staying safe and enjoying time outdoors on the lake.
First, you’ll want to have the proper clothing that provides adequate insulation as you paddle:
- A base layer top and bottom
- A wetsuit over the top for additional insulation (optional)
- A jacket—such as one of these men’s or women’s soft shell jackets—that will keep you warm without weighing you down
- Lightweight shoes like these Quiksilver Syncro 5.0 Round Toe Neoprene boots
- Gloves—specifically GORE-TEX® gloves to ensure that your hands won’t get wet so that you won’t get frostbite
- Additional clothing items such as facemasks and beanies so that you don’t leave any areas exposed when you venture into the cold
Next, look over your paddleboard accessories to be sure that everything is good to go and that you’re not missing anything important. Make sure you have a Coast Guard Approved life jacket (or other kind of PFD), a leash, and waterproof bag if you want to keep your phone and other items safe.
Cassie from SUP MPLS, paddleboarding on an icy lake!
After you’ve gathered the proper gear, be sure that you take other safety precautions before you venture out. Don’t brave the cold if it means going out in dangerously low temperatures and wind chills. Check the weather conditions, and try to pick a day with as little wind as possible. It’ll make paddling all the easier.
It’s tempting to want to venture far, but keep in mind that cold-weather paddling is very different than paddling in warm temperatures. Even with gloves and plenty of layers, you’ll still get cold, so you don’t want to get too far out there and freeze before you make it back. It’s recommended to paddle with someone, but if you head out for a solo excursion, make sure that someone knows where you’ll be and the time frame you’ll be gone in case of emergency. It’s also not a bad idea to have a tumbler waiting for you in your car with some hot cocoa, cider, tea, or coffee to warm up once you’re finished.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a paddle and hit the snowy shores.