Cold Weather Paddleboarding Essentials

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Tarnna Simpers, our NO&YO Pac North-West ambassador, spends as much time in the water as her one-year old and her busy life allow. She says that water makes her free and so it’s no surprise that she paddleboards even in the freezing temperatures. Here are some of her cold weather paddleboarding essentials in order to get away from it all while staying warm, even if there is steam coming out of her mouth.

Cold weather paddleboarding essentials
Photo curtesy of Tarnna Simpers

by Tarnna Simpers, NO&YO Ambassador

It’s pretty awesome to live in the Pacific North West but sometimes in the summer finding a quiet place to paddle can be a challenge on the main river. Quiet calm places are even harder once the wind blows in. Winter is where it’s at – but to paddle in winter takes some extra gear and prep.

Cold weather paddleboarding essentials
Photo curtesy of Tarnna Simpers
  • Booties-The real essential to winter paddling. You may not need a wetsuit, or even gloves depending on the weather, but booties are key to having an enjoyable winter paddle.
  • PFD-Personal Flotation Device. Always.
  • Dry bag-I use this year around to keep all of my goodies dry and my cell phone safe. I always keep my cell on me because I do not want to get stuck in cold water.
  • Camera-It’s really great to live in the moment and not feel like you have pull out a camera for everything. But just in case you do want to document everything, bring it along.
  • Dry sweatshirt-Just in case you take a spill and you didn’t wear your wetsuit, it’s nice to have something to throw in to keep you warm. Keep this in your dry bag. My go-to is my NO&YO Heather Blue hoodie.
  • Snacks & Water- Life is all about food. Pomegranate & a Dog River energy bar do the trick in case of blood-sugar dive.
  • Phone- Especially in the winter I take my phone. It could fall in the river, but if I get stuck I’d like a phone call.
  • Thermos-Keep in the car for after the paddle. Tea, Miso, Coffee.
  • Headband/beanie- Keep your head warm and the rest of you stays warm too.
Cold weather paddleboarding essentials
Photo curtesy of Tarnna Simpers

If it’s below 40 I usually wear my wetsuit too, but that might generate a little too much heat for you depending on your energy output (aka how hard you’re paddling).

Don’t let cold weather keep you from going out though, but don’t go out unprepared either. In the summer a fall into cold water might give you a head rush and you’ll be ok. On the other hand, a fall in winter and spring water could get you in serious trouble. Always follow the basic rules, let someone know where you go, keep your PFD on, and most importantly have fun!

Cold weather paddleboarding essentials
Photo curtesy of Tarnna Simpers

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