SUP Boarding in Off-Season - The Guide for Fall & Winter Period

SUP Boarding in Off-Season - The Guide for Fall & Winter Period

Summers tend to go by fast, and especially when you’re having a lot of fun. YOLO is all about fun and games, and as soon as we feel cooped up in winter - we start looking forward to sunny days and waves in great anticipation.

But just because it’s somewhat colder outside, it doesn’t mean that we can’t get some SUP board time. In fact, with fewer people outside - the off-season can offer a lot more private beach time as well.

We say go for it, You Only Live Once! If you’re looking to keep your SUP game in check, we’ll help you out and show you what accessories you might need during the off-season, how you should store your board, and where to find the right place for your SUP off-season adventure.Stay tuned - we’ll provide you with some advice on SUP Boarding for the Fall & Winter months. We’ll also remind you about some of our past blog posts that you might find useful. 

  1. Off-Season Paddle Board Gear Guide
  2. Fall & Winter Paddle Boarding Clothing
  3. Best Paddle Boarding Places For Fall & Winter
  4. Top 5 Tips For Paddle Boarding During Off-Season
  5. Storing Paddle Boards In The Winter

Off-Season Paddle Board Gear Guide

No matter the weather, you know the drill: safety comes first. A personal floatation device (PFD), or a life vest, is a must when it comes to winter SUP gear. Rough weather can make even the calmest water unpredictable, and even the most experienced paddlers are ready to sport a life vest.

Just like paddle boards, PFDs come in all sorts of styles and shapes. The choice depends on your personal preferences, experience level, as well as on the surrounding.

For example, waist belt life vests are convenient because they don’t hamper paddle strokes. They also have neat pockets for anything from whistles and phone to energy bars. If that’s not your jam, a foamy core life jacket is another great choice. 

Always - and we mean always - wear a leash when you’re going paddling. You don’t want to get separated from your board when it’s nice out, much less when it’s windy. The leash will keep you attached to your board, which can act as your floatation device.

There are a few different types of leashes, depending on where you choose to paddle. A coiled leash is good for still water such as ocean and open waters. Straight leashes are required for surfing, while Upper Body Mounted/Quick Release leashes make a good fit for rivers and whitewater.

Fall and winter don’t just bring colder weather, they also bring shorter days. It’s a good idea to invest in a waterproof white light for this period. You’ll have a better overview of what’s in front of you, and you will be visible to others.

The same goes for a reflective paddle. You won’t have trouble finding your SUP at night or in rough water if you apply reflective, high visibility tape on it. In addition, navigation light and Visual Distress Signal (VDS) are quite useful after sundown.

A dry bag is another essential piece of paddle board gear that can come handy. You’ll likely need additional clothing or space to store extra layers. No one likes the feeling of being stuck in wet clothes in cold weather!

Fall & Winter Paddle Boarding Clothing

The mantra for winter SUP clothing is: always dress for the water temperature, even if you’re not planning to get wet!

Some of the most beautiful sites are in colder climates, and there’s no reason to miss out on them just because it’s chilly.

Clothing will depend on what you’re planning to do, but a rule of thumb is to layer up. Fleece and similar performance fabrics are a better choice than cotton because they attract moisture away from the body. Wool is a good option for additional insulation. Long underwear and at least two layers should keep you warm enough and maximize time spent out paddling.

This brings us to the most important layer - the drysuit. Drysuits will keep you dry neck-to-toe and are therefore an essential item for paddling in cold waters. Additionally, they provide good wind protection, making them a sensible investment for other seasons too.

Neoprene gloves are another essential item, as they will keep your hands warm while you paddle. Plus you don’t want your hands to go numb in the wind and icy water!

Needless to say, protecting your head is a must - whether it’s with a hat, a full hoody with a beany underneath, or a neoprene hoodie that covers head and neck, with just cutouts for the eyes.

Last but not the least, thick wool socks under the drysuit and neoprene boots are bound to keep your feet nice and dry.

Best Paddle Boarding Places For Fall & Winter

If you are alright with chilly temperatures, Salmon bay, Seattle is a great choice. It is not very touristy meaning that you will be able to enjoy your solitude. It also offers excellent views on Olympic Mountains, Mt Rainier, Mt Baker, and downtown Seattle. The area is also great for surfing, with knee to chest high waves.

Even though Monterey is famous for golfing and as a tourist attraction, its breathtaking scenery makes it a great place for paddling too. You’ll be able to explore hidden gems of Carmel Bay, Monterey wharf and the Big Sur coast on your paddle board.

If Monterey is still too chilly for your taste, Lake Havasu in Arizona is another great destination to enjoy a warmer climate and massive lakes. In addition, nearby Lake Saguaro is suitable for beginners and offers a view of 28 miles of cactus-covered shoreline. The area is rich with impressive scenery, and another interesting thing to do would be paddling underneath the Hoover Dam.

San Diego coastline is not only the warmest city in California during the winter, but is considered to be a paddle board mecca. Water temperature doesn’t drop too low, meaning that you can get away with paddling without a wetsuit year-round. Mission Bay is wide enough to welcome many paddlers and water is nice and calm. La Jolla Shores is a great place for surfers, with gorgeous La Jolla reefs and caves worth exploring.

Key West in Florida is another destination for those who prefer a warmer climate. Since most of the area is a protected ecosystem, guided tours are organized to educate paddlers while enjoying the calm water. You’ll get to see mangrove forests and a coastline inhabited by horseshoe crabs, sea stars and cucumbers, upside down jellyfish, pelicans, manatees and much more.

Hawaii, with its lush vegetation and tropical fish swimming around SUPs, is considered to be a paddler’s paradise. Kona is the calmest spot to paddle, and North Shore, Hanalei is the best place for surfing and paddle surfing. Maui is another amazing place where you can go for whale watching on a SUP.

If you’re looking for a gorgeous fall scenery, St. Croix river on Minnesota-Wisconsin border is lined with cliffs and hills and a place to be. Its name means gentle river, which explains why so many paddlers head that way in fall.

Top 5 Tips For Paddle Boarding During Off-Season

Once you’ve decided on your destination and have geared up and dressed up, you’re almost ready for the adventure! There are a few small things left to do, and every experienced paddler says it’s important to stick to these five tips when paddle boarding off-season.

TELL SOMEONE

If you’re paddling alone, it’s wise to inform someone about your plans. Ideally, you should give them a float plan that includes destinations and information about how long the journey should take. Better yet, bring someone along on your adventure and share the joys of SUP-ing.

CHECK THE WEATHER

You don’t want to be surprised by high tides, strong wind, or storms. While smartphone weather apps provide useful data, barometers and online live-weather radars will keep you safe. If you’re unsure if the weather is too severe or threatening, don’t risk it. You can try again some other day.

START OUT WARM

By now you already know the mantra: wetsuit and at least two layers underneath. Keep your head, hands, and feet dry and warm, and have a warm drink ready in your dry bag. Not only will it keep you warm, but hydrated as well!

DOUBLE CHECK YOUR GEAR

Before you head out paddling in cold weather, it’s smart to check if everything is in place. Double-check if you have batteries for your headlamp, gloves, warm hat, extra car keys, hot drink, and food.

GET WARM & DRY AFTERWARDS

Once you’re done with the adventure, it’s time to pack up! Put your board on the car first and make sure it’s tied down securely. It’s also neat to start your car right after, so it can be nice and warm by the time you get going.

Remove the wetsuit and booties while standing on a foam changing pad or towel. Make sure that a change of dry and warm clothes is ready so you can quickly put them on before getting cold. Finally, bring a thermos with tea or hot soup for your ride home to warm you up quickly.

Storing Paddle Boards In The Winter

There are a few tips you should keep in mind during fall and winter, especially if you decided to retire your SUP for the season. The tips for storing paddle boards in winter differ depending on whether you use hard or inflatable SUP, but it’s all pretty straightforward.

Store hard SUPs in a dry place to avoid water freezing on it. Sheds, garages, and boathouses are all good SUP storage options as long as they don’t get snowed in during the winter.

Racks and racking systems are convenient ways to store hard SUPs. U-mount wall rack reduces the possibility of damaging the board and saves space at the same time.

Taking fins out is another way to save space, but leaving them in during the winter is also an option.

When it comes to inflatable paddle board winter storage, it’s up to you whether you want to store them inflated or deflated. If you’re storing it in a warm place, you can roll the SUP and place it in a bag. If you’re leaving it in a shed or garage, or another cold place, it’s best not to roll it tightly, as it can leave fold marks.

Now that we got you covered with essential tips and tricks, you can safely and comfortably enjoy SUP boarding in the off-season! Don’t let the chilly weather stop you from pursuing your passion. You Only Live Once - make it count!