How to Paddle Board All Year Long
Learn how to paddle board in any season.
Paddle boarding has evolved into an incredibly popular water sport that provides a great workout and a unique way to enjoy the great outdoors. One of the greatest advantages of paddle boarding is its year-round viability. With the right equipment and approach, you can paddle board through the four seasons and make the most out of your paddle boarding adventures. This article will guide you through various aspects of paddle boarding throughout the year, touching on crucial aspects such as gear, safety, techniques, and more.
Choosing the Right Board
Understanding Your Paddle Board
The foundation of year-round paddle boarding lies in understanding your paddle board. There are primarily two types of paddle boards: inflatable paddle boards and solid boards. Both types have their pros and cons, but it’s important to note that inflatable paddle boards tend to offer superior versatility and ease of transport, especially when paddle boarding in different seasons. These boards, thanks to their durable double-layer construction, can withstand different weather conditions and are easy to store when not in use.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Board
When choosing a paddle board, consider factors like the board's weight capacity, whether it has a non-slip deck, and if it comes with bungee cords for attaching gear. For long distance expeditions, consider boards with a longer length and pointed nose, designed for speed and tracking. Always consider the type of paddling you'll be doing (e.g., racing, cruising, yoga) and your skill level to choose the perfect board.
Essential SUP Accessories
For paddle boarding all year long, some essential SUP accessories include an adjustable paddle, a manual pump or electric pump for inflatable SUPs, a storage backpack for carrying and protecting your gear, and a repair kit. These accessories help enhance your paddle boarding experience, providing necessary tools for set-up, transport, and maintenance.
For colder seasons, you might need other accessories like a waterproof bag to protect your belongings from moisture, a kayak seat to allow for seated paddling when the water is too cold, and even a camera mount to capture the stunning winter landscapes. During warmer seasons, consider a traction pad for better grip and removable fins for maneuverability in diverse water conditions.
Technique and Safety
Adapting Your Technique
Different seasons may require different paddle techniques. When paddle boarding in colder months, you might want to lower your center of gravity for added stability, especially if you’re on an inflatable stand-up paddleboard. During warmer months, you can practice more advanced techniques like stand up paddle surfing or even SUP yoga on a non-slip deck.
Year-Round Safety Measures
Regardless of the season, safety should always be your top priority. Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD), stay aware of weather conditions, and follow local regulations. During colder months, consider wearing a drysuit or wetsuit to protect against hypothermia. In warmer months, sunscreen and hydration are key.
Storing Your Paddle Board
Proper storage of your paddle board can extend its lifespan and maintain its performance. When not in use, store your paddle board in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. UV rays can degrade both solid and inflatable paddle boards over time. If you're using an inflatable SUP, remember to deflate it before storage to prevent unnecessary stress on the seams.
Transportation can be another challenge in paddle boarding all year round. Inflatable paddle boards come with a clear advantage in this area, as they can be deflated and packed into a storage bag or backpack for easy transport. Solid boards, while offering a different ride quality, might require roof racks or trailers for transportation.
Paddle Boarding in Varied Weather Conditions
Embrace the Elements
It's important to remember that paddle boarding all year long means embracing varied weather conditions. Rain or shine, each type of weather brings its own unique challenges and joys. On sunny days, the reflective nature of water can increase UV exposure, so always remember to apply and reapply sunscreen. On overcast or rainy days, ensure that your board has adequate grip, and you have the right attire to keep you warm and dry. Remember, paddle boarding isn’t just about calm, sunny days. It’s about connecting with nature, experiencing the elements, and being part of the ever-changing, ever-astonishing great outdoors.
Night Paddle Boarding
Another interesting aspect of year-round paddle boarding is the opportunity to explore night paddle boarding. Especially during shorter winter days, night paddling can be a magical experience. Invest in a good quality, waterproof LED light that attaches to your board or your person to safely navigate the water. Not only does it illuminate your path, but it also allows others to see you. Make sure you’re familiar with the area and that it's permitted and safe to paddle after dark. With the right preparation, night paddle boarding can become an exciting aspect of your year-round paddle boarding journey.
Whether it's the heat of summer or the chill of winter, paddle boarding can be enjoyed all year round with the right equipment, preparation, and mindset. So get out there, embrace the changing seasons, and embark on your own year-long SUP adventure!