As summer slowly gives way to autumn and winter temperatures start to drop and weather becomes less favourable to float missions with your sit on kayak. Perhaps you’re contemplating sitting out the off season and waiting for spring next year. Alternatively you may be looking to carry on with your paddling but not sure how to go about it.
In most cases there are ways to keep the kayak juices flowing and getting out there amongst it. Here are a few tips to help you achieve successful and fulfilling kayaking over the following months.
Pick your days
This one may seem obvious but when it’s bucketing down outside, mercury levels are in single digits and storm force 36 million winds are buffeting your local put in it’s probably not the best time to head out for a scoop.
As is the norm I winter we can get prolonged periods of uninspiring weather yet we can also get days of idyllic bliss, perfect for paddling. Keep an eye on those forecasts and at some point yoru window of opportunity will open.
Wear correct clothing
An obvious point but being cold isn’t exactly the best for off season sit on kayak sojourns. Added to which cooling body temperatures can also be a hazard and lead to complications resulting in the call out of emergency services.
You’ll find some suggestions of winter paddling apparel in this article – Winter paddling accessories – cold weather apparel
Wetsuits are better than ever and perfect for immiscible paddling scenarios – such as surfing. Drysuits meanwhile are probably a better bet if you don’t plan on taking a dunking. Getting correct base layering sorted is also a must otherwise you may still end up chill.
Step up your performance
Winter offers a whole host of more challenging conditions and as such is the perfect time to up your performance and test your mettle – within reason. Surfing is the obvious choice for proving grounds as there’s no greater skill meter than improving your skills in waves. It’s also the time of year when you’re more likely to get consistent conditions at a variety of beaches. We’re not suggesting you should chuck yourself head long into the meatiest juice you can find – small swells can actually be good fun in a kayak. Know your limitations and build up confidence gradually.
You’ll find some good tips and info about kayak surfing here – Sit on top surfing – the evolution of paddling in waves
Another possible area for increasing performance is in the downwind paddling department. This is a little explored part of sit on kayaking, yet could be the perfect solution for windy periods. Essentially paddlers chase down rolling swell, with breeze on their backs, and aim to ride the lumps as you would a conventional wave. Ultimately you’re drift surfing along the coast so need logistics in place to make sure your put in point can be navigated back to easily – usually in the form of transport at the take out.
Have a look at this article for more info on DW paddling – Puffing along – downwinding for sit on top kayakers
Try something new
If you’ve spent the summer piloting your standard ride, and find sameyness setting in then don’t be afraid of using the darker months to try some new equipment. Retailers and brands still have demo gear available and chances are you won’t be waiting around for your turn.
It doesn’t just have to be boats either. All forms of sit on kayaking kit is good for testing so why not find yourself a new paddle or boat in readiness for 2018? Our other watercraft section has some suggestion you may find appealing – Category: Other watercraft
The biggest tip we can give for winter kayaking, even when the dreariest weather sets in, is don’t despair. You may be holed up for periods, sitting out adverse weather, but when stars align and it comes good Mother Nature will be forgiven.
If you really can’t bear it then consider a winter getaway to somewhere warm and tropical. Sitons has a few suggestions of places to travel for paddling adventures but as a start check out –