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paddle board safety during winter (thermal shock)

Now that the Holidays are over and new lockdown measures are in place, we are looking at a long winter ahead of us. It may be tempting to take your inflatable paddle board out of its bag and head out on the lakes, if they are not frozen yet in your area. While winter paddle boarding is magical, it is very important to think of the safety aspects!

Thermal shock

Paddle boarding in the deep of winter requires a Dry Suit and thick neoprene boots. A wetsuit will not be sufficient to keep you warm. If the water temperature is below 12 degrees celcius, we recommend wearing a dry suit.

It is very important to understand that when you fall from your paddle board into the ice cold water (without a dry suit) you can be victim to what is known as a thermal shock. The cold water puts your body in a state of shock. In this state, you won't be able to make rational decisions such as getting back on your board safely. This will then quickly lead to advanced hypothermia.

It is also important to wear your personal flotation device. This will keep you floating in case that you fall in the water.

Keep an eye out for our extended blog (out soon) about the differences between a wetsuit and drysuit and what to wear underneath!

Use a SUP Leash

A paddle board leash is a must when paddling in the winter. This way you will be attached to your board in case you fall off. With a leash you can easily pull the board back to you and climb back on.

Bring drinking water

It's cold outside and you might not notice it when you get thirsty. But when you are paddle boarding in a dry-suit you will burn a lot of calories and maybe even break a sweat. It is very important to hydrate during your paddle session. You can also bring a hot beverage in a hydro flask, like hot tea to stay warm.

Tell others where you are going

In the winter you will most likely to be the only person on the water. Preferably bring someone with you on your paddle board adventure. And make sure you tell others exactly where you are going and at what time you are planning to be back.

Paddle board close to shore

Do not paddle out far! You want to paddle very close to the shore so you can get back on land very quickly when needed. Winter is not the time to try and push your limit or try to beat personal records.

Do not paddle in ice

Only paddle board in a lake that is not frozen at all. Even small ice chunks or a thin sliver of ice can get you stuck or damage your board.

Do not paddle in the dark

It gets dark very early in the winter. Plan your SUP adventure accordingly and make sure to be back ashore at least 30 minutes before nightfall.

Bring a Silver Shark Hammock

After your paddle adventure in the cold, it is time to relax! If permitted, make a fire to warm up and enjoy the snowy winter views.

Check the weather forecast

The weather in winter is extremely variable and can change in an instant. You may head out during clear skies, but in a matter of hours you can find yourself stuck in a snow storm or ice rain. In the winter, do not paddle board when it's windy! Only go out if the wind is below 14 knots. Before you head out, you should always consult the forecast. Two useful apps you can use are: - Track wind conditions including their directions - Track rain clouds and snow with the weather radar

Happy paddling!

The Silver Shark Team

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