Why do we SUP in winter?

Posted by Joanna on May 7th, 2019

stand up paddling watsons bay.

As the cooler months approach, people often begin to ask – “when does it get too cold to SUP?

The answer is…IT’S NEVER TOO COLD TO SUP – especially when living in the watery surrounds of Sydney Australia where the lowest average temperature during the winter is still a mild 17 degrees!! Ok so we may not have considered the wind chill factor but we don’t need to worry about that until the August westerleys roll in (and by then we’re already past the coldest month of July so we’ll be sweet and acclimatised by then!)

One of the aspects Brits love about Australia is most of our wintery days are blessed with sun and blue skies maintaining smiles and often warmth. For WATSSUP, the winter season kicks off from the June long weekend (7th – 10th) and we encourage everyone to reap the benefits of SUP and the ocean no matter what your presumptions are about winter being too cold to partake in ocean sport!

Stand up paddling is a sport that can be enjoyed all year round. This is especially true as the art of SUP is predominantly a “core” activity which means, because it’s a self powered sport, you generate a lot of your own body heat just to keep yourself and board moving along! So it’s with first hand experience we can tell you that Sydney winters are perfectly SUPable and despite the cooler temps on your hands and feet there’s a lot you can do to ensure you maintain your SUP addiction even in the coolest of days over the next 3 months.

Laura, our most recent WATSSUP team instructor is from England and often paddled in temperatures below 0 degrees – so here are some of her tips on how to keep warm whilst SUPing this winter:

1. If you’re not intending on having a swim then a pair of leggings and a thermal paddling top (with perhaps a paddling Tee underneath) will be perfect for a sunny, Sydney winters day. Try and seek out garments which are made from quick dry fabrics so if you do have a dip you won’t need to paddle with a sopping wet (and cold!) attire! Also front zip thermal is a good option as you can overheat (Yes! Overheat in winter!!) So being able to unzip to cool down a little whilst you keep your arms and torso warm is key.

2. If you are worried about falling into the cold water (although the water temps are usually warmer than the air temps at least until mid July!!) or you quite fancy having a swim (cause you can easily get quite hot from paddling!) you can wear a wetsuit but again we’d only recommend a wetsuit top or a spring-suit as a full lengths steamer will have you overheating in your first 2 paddle strokes!

If you feel the cold too much or you’re one of those cold reptilians, again we would recommend long thermal pants and a thermal (with front zip) top and maybe a long sleeve compression garment underneath and look into the warming benefits of ginger pre and post SUP.

3. One very important tip we could give you is to acclimatise to the cooler conditions early in the season – don’t wait until August to start working on your resilience to the cold! Start early before the season begins to show its teeth.❄️️

As the wintery mornings set in, don’t let the initial chill in the morning fool you! As soon as you start paddling your body temperature will start to rise; as will the air temperature as the day goes on! So don’t overcompensate your SUPing attire by wrapping up too warm as you will quickly overheat and suddenly a dip in the ocean will become a very necessary act!

4. If a hot shower is not an available option straight after your SUP session some clever paddlers keep a hot water bottle with hot water left in their car! After their session the water is just a yummy body warming temperature which they pour down inside their paddling clothes to give them enough warmth to change into dry clothes and ready for a well earned hot tea or coffee!

5. SUPing in the winter isn’t just doable in the colder months but is actually totally and utterly invigorating! Paddling in colder climates is a whole new experience entirely with its very own set of benefits. Winter often has us stuck inside, where we unknowingly become more tired, less energetic, more complacent and some people really do suffer quite badly from those winter blues – Getting out amongst the ocean regularly throughout winter helps diminish those mental and physical woes and awakens our bodies and replenished our minds in a way that simply feels extraordinary.

In need of some winter SUP attire? Check out our WATSSUP online shop for our quick dry thermo zip top thermal pants and lots more!. So let’s keep up the SUP all year round and don’t let a bit of cold spoil our fun.

And don’t forget to start your winter SUP acclimatisation program soon! Select the best SUP session for you here and see you on the water very soon!

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