How To Stay Warm: Tips and Tricks for Cold Water
Temperatures are getting about as cold as possible in many parts of the US but you still want to get in the water? So you might be crazy but winter can have some of the best wind and waves. Here are some of the things we find will help you stay comfortable and make life easier when dealing with winter kiteboarding.
- Get a GREAT Wetsuit (or Drysuit): If it is really cold you are not going to stay warm in a $99 suit. Do your research and get the suit you need. Be sure and get a suit with fully sealed seams and get the proper thickness for your air and water conditions. In general the more you spend on a suit the warmer and more flexible it will be. Remember this will be something that you will be keeping and using for years. Check out our Wetsuit Guide here.
- Use Caution: Remember if you are riding in cold weather to be safe. Be sure and ride with a friend, don't go out as far, and stay away from offshore winds. A long swim can lead to hypothermia and major problems.
- Bring Warm Water: Put some warm water in sealable containers or jugs and bring it along. Nothing feels better than a nice warm water shower after a cold session. Another trick is to put your wetsuit in warm water right before you put it on. This is especially nice if your wetsuit is wet from yesterday's session.
- Sealed seams are your friend: Sealed seams keep cold water out and warm body heat in which is super important if you plan on riding in cold conditions. Make sure your wetsuit, gloves, and booties all have sealed seams.
- Maintain your Rubber: Leaving your wetsuit sandy and salty will break down the rubber and lead to a stiff and brittle suit. Be sure and wash it out in fresh water after every session. Starting to smell? Use either a wetsuit specific cleaner or save some money and use shampoo with conditioner, it will leave your wetsuit smelling great and keep the rubber soft and flexible. Also be sure and repair any tears or they will grow. Aqua Seal is perfect for any small punctures in your wetsuit and is also handy as it can be used as a temporary fix for a valve coming off of your kite bladder and many other things.
- Recycle, Use Plastic Bags: Plastic grocery bags are super helpful for getting your new wetsuit on. New suits are designed to be water tight, but this means it will be very tight on your wrists and ankles. To make it faster, easier, and prevent damage, slip your hand or foot in a plastic bag and it will slide right into your wetsuit.
- Keep Your Head Warm: Tons of heat is lost from your head. Keep it covered with either a full hood for extremely cold conditions, or a neoprene beanie. For many places like our area in Corpus Christi a beanie is all you need. Beanies are more comfortable and allow for a greater range of motion. Click here to check them out. If you do need a full hood, getting a suit with the hood built in makes it even warmer by keeping water out. You can zip on a hood or a neck closure according to the weather and water conditions and we have used suits like this in below-freezing conditions with a few snow flurries and it kept us nice and warm.
- Go Somewhere Warm: If the cold gets too much to handle book a trip south. La Ventana, Puerto Rico, and several other spots are excellent during the winter months. Corpus Christi will normally start to get good warm southerly winds in March and is extremely cheap and easy to travel to.