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Our 10 tips for your winter SUP rides

Belharra 12'6'' x 30'' x 6''

Hours of sunshine are slowly increasing and warmer days are emerging. The bodies of water give us the desire to launch ourselves with our boards to enjoy the enchanting scenery of winter. Of course, SUP in winter is a most enjoyable experience, but before you put your board on the water, here are some safety tips to make your ride unforgettable and safe.


Check your equipment: Has your stock been stored for a while? Take the time to check its condition. Make sure your PFD has no tears or broken belts. If you have the possibility to inflate your board inside, this will be the opportunity to check it too. We suggest that you inflate it to 1 or two extra PSI since the cold will make the air contract when you go outside. If you inflate your board outside, you can inflate it normally. Make sure your leash is in good condition and that you have everything; your fins, your paddle and all the necessary gear.


Dress appropriately: It takes a neoprene wetsuit, 7mm is ideal but the thickness can make movements difficult so we are working with 5mm. If you have a 4/3mm you will be more mobile but an under layer like a diving skin will be a plus to keep you warm. The dry suit is the best but a little more expensive. Your feet, your head and your hands are super important so you will need: good neoprene boots, at least 5 mm or more, especially if you go on a river because the lapping of the water will quickly wet your feet and you have to keep them warm. We suggest you wear in your booties, a good pair of Merino wool socks and if you are freezing easily, toe warmers are a must. A neoprene hood is also very practical to keep your head and neck warm, if you don't have one, a good beanie and a neck warmer will do. Also get a good pair of good warm gloves and a second pair to put in your dry bag. Neoprene gloves, we like them less because unlike the wetsuit, if they are not wet, they will be cold for your fingers, they will be more effective in winter surfing.


Bring spare warm clothes: A spare pair of gloves, wool socks (Merino the best) and a warm sweater are not too much in case you are cold or if something happens to you. Bring them on your board in your waterproof bag it can be handy. Better to plan than to find yourself without what you need.


Don't go alone: Because two paddlers is always better and safer. Paddling with a friend is highly recommended, especially in winter conditions. A friend can watch over you and rescue you right away.


Notify a person: Whether it is a friend, your spouse or a member of your family, always give the information when you go on the water. Tell us about your route, the time of your launch, the duration of your trip and the time of your return. Carry a watch or your cell phone in a waterproof case to send a short text to the person you love and who loves you too. A little: I am going on the water immediately and I came back only takes a few seconds to write and that is reassuring.


Choose a spot that you know well: By selecting a place that you know well, you will be able to better calculate the time of your ride. Do not choose a body of water that is too wide, the best is to always have access to the shore and quickly. In case of concern, you can quickly regain the shore and get out of the water easily. Evaluate the weather conditions, there are plenty of apps like Windy (which we love) that will inform you of the winds and the weather conditions. The best is to make sure you have a good window of sunshine and a maximum wind of zero to 4 km/h to ensure calm water even as a mirror.


Wear your PFD (with whistle) over your clothes and at all times, there is no question of leaving it on your board! Also make sure you have a 15m rescue line. in your bag as in summer, these are the minimum requirements to be met according to the Bureau de la sécurité nautique for human-powered boats such as the SUP.


Attach your safety strap (leash) higher, around your calf, just below the knee and check that it does not drag in the water. It only takes a piece of ice for it to cling to it and trip you up.


Be focused and don't overestimate your skills, even the pros fall. It only takes a second of inattention to make you lose your footing, it happens to everyone. In the event of a fall, stay calm, breathe, keep your head above the water and get back on your board. Head straight for the shore and move around to keep your warmth. Always pay attention to the mat under your feet, if it freezes the risk of falling will increase. If so, sit down to finish your ride. Always look ahead to see on the water (and below) what is pointing in front of your board, sometimes pieces of transparent ice can hit your board and throw you off balance.


Bring with you a nice hot drink in a Swell-type bottle or a Thermos. Enjoying a good hot tea with cold cheeks on the water or after a ride is the best!


Leave a warm blanket in your car, if you need it in the event of a fall, you will have it to warm you up or just to change after your ride.


Be extremely careful on your outings and it is always best to go out on the water when the temperature is around -5 and above. Your La Vague SUP team


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