Thursday, May 24, 2012

On the water this winter

Winter is just around the corner, but don't let the cold weather keep you off the water.

If you haven't already started pulling your winter paddling gear out for those surf ski sessions or have been making do with sub standard gear when it's cold, here's an idea of what gear I have for the winter and how I like to operate, when I'm out on the water by myself.

While many people have an issue that paddling a surf ski is way too cold in winter, I have a sniggle to myself, mind you I'm lucky that where I paddle in Wellington it would never get any cooler than 8 degrees C on the coldest winter days, so I'm alright jack.
Because I gave kayaking away for 10 months ago and only started back in February this year I've had to buy surf skis and equipment again from scratch.........dang that must be great for the economy, and yes it has, man shopping is great. 

I find that on the ski I can cook quite quickly so a top layer of Icebreaker 200 Merino or Helly Hansen long sleeve crew neck is heaps for me, as I always wear a PFD when out on the water. If there's a significant wind chill I'll go for the Adrenalin long sleeve top as above.

The bottom layer, well originally I choose Sharkskin long pants which are thick and warm but are over the top most days. At Fergs Kayaks in Wellington I spotted some Adrenalin paddling gear and I've found this gear well priced and the thickness is just perfect for the really cold days. The long pants are about $60 and the tops are around $80, this gear in my opinion, is just the bees knees and I'm sure like my previous gear it will last me a good 5 to 7 years if I look after it.
I like to keep my feet as warm and as toasty as possible and this season I have some Palm brand neoprene kevlar socks, they are just magic, they are like a sock so slide in and out of your footstraps nicely and are far better than anything I've ever had from any of the diveshops, they are just under $60 and well worth it.
Buouyancy vests (PFD's), for all those people that say they are too bulky, too hot, I'm too cool to wear one, Think have a lightweight, low cut vest in NZ this Season, it's better than most it's not restrictive and drys out in no time at all.
Leg leashes essential when you are paddling by yourself, and I use mine in races and any other time just to set an example. I bought one from overseas which was a bit more expensive, but you can buy them now for as little as $35 here in's damned windy here and if you happen to have a spill "from a freak mega gust" the 12 kg skis can quite quickly blow away from you..........the next time it stops can be on a bunch of sharp arsed rocks.........ooocchhh

It's winter it's cold...............number one rule when paddling is never venture too far from the shoreline than you can swim (kayak or surf ski), if you get into any bother............ if your health gives up on you,..............your paddle breaks............. or you hole your surf ski...................or some boaty isn't paying attention and runs over you............... the shoreline can be your friend if you can get to it quickly enough, you are one step ahead.................Ambulances are quick to respond on land...............on the water a rescue boat or helicopter will be an age are on your own if you do get into trouble, think about what you are doing. Please have a good think about investing in some of the basic equipment above, it may just save your bacon one day.
Click on photos to enlarge

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