There’s no doubt that getting out on the water for a session during winter can be a challenge. No one knows it more than Teneale Hatton, who has paddled through more than enough winters during her decade-plus long international kayaking career. But she knows the value for both mental and physical health to get out on the water when you can, so has a few simple tips that will help any paddler during the cold and wet winter days.
Train with a buddy A training partner or group can prove very motivating and very useful for your paddling. Knowing someone is going to be waiting for you to turn up can be that pressure you need to get out of bed in the mornings or out the door when it’s raining. Paddling is a nice way to catch up with friends, share some banter and keep it fun.
Wear the right clothing Nothing will make a paddle less enjoyable than being frozen, and this will put you off going next time. Wearing appropriate clothing for the conditions is crucial for having good winter paddling sessions. There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Spray skirts, long clothing, layers and head coverings help!
Have a reason for your paddle Having a purpose to your paddle, whether it is training for an upcoming race, a speed session to work on getting on the boat moving, or even just spending more time in the boat, will help with motivation and gains. A training program can provide some structure and, if you have committed to the program, removes the option of not going for a paddle when you don’t feel like it. Check out our events calendar if you’re in need of a race to get you motivated.
No regrets It is very rare you regret going for a paddle. Getting out the door is the hardest part, but a session on the water in the crisp winter air is so good for your physical and mental wellbeing and gives you a real sense of accomplishment. Remembering this can help overcome any other reasons for not showing up.
Play it safe Winter weather can provide some awesome paddling conditions- both glassy stillness or epic downwinds, but it is important to respect nature. Know the conditions and be sure of your ability to handle them before heading out. Always have suitable safety gear, ensure your craft is appropriate and ensure you can remount or get to the shore quickly if you fall out.
Enjoy the conditions but make sure you get home safe.
Thanks Teneale, just the wise words we needed to get fired up for some chilly winter paddling.