Many watersports can be practised as year-round sports if properly equipped and planned. Especially since these activities can be at least as appealing in an autumn or winter landscape as the summer idyll. Whether diving, doing SUP or paddling – water sports are a lot of fun even in frosty temperatures. However, before beginning a winter watersports day, some important points should be considered.
Safely on the water: the right prep
Planning is everything! This is even more true for watersports activities in the winter than in the summer. Firstly, the weather and the wind conditions should be checked. Depending on the conditions, it may be advisable to postpone a planned day in or on the water. In addition, it is almost always advisable to have a change of clothes on board.
An extremely important companion for watersports enthusiasts is a life jacket or rescue buoy. It should also be noted that it gets dark earlier in winter, which means daylight is limited. A reliable source of light in and on the water can be provided by a waterproof and preferably buoyant flashlight. This makes it possible to recognise obstacles at an early stage, but above all it makes you much more visible to other people and watercraft. A headlamp is even better, as it keeps both hands free.
Breaks and the right food: from windbreaks to cooking
Those who have eaten stay warm longer. That's why a hearty breakfast is the foundation for an energetic day outdoors. In a canoe or boat, it’s also a good idea to prepare hot drinks and healthy snacks. For sports such as SUP or surfing, you should plan enough breaks to regain your strength and warm up with a hot beverage or small meal on the beach. Our tip: ginger tea has a particularly warming effect!
Those who think ahead like to pack a gas camping stove: these are small, handy and safe and perfect for quickly boiling water for tea or preparing a small meal. By the way, watersports enthusiasts are increasingly turning to freeze-dried food – so-called astronaut food, which is simply prepared by adding hot water and ready to eat in a wink. And it even tastes pretty good! Another advantage of the camping stove: since grilling game is prohibited almost everywhere and nature conservation rules must be observed, these mobile devices with their official permits and safety seals of approval are the best way to provide a little heat. Even athletes on land often build a windbreak and set up a real base camp to protect themselves against icy winds – and what’s good for them is also ideal for SUPers, canoeists and surfers.
Equipped for icy temperatures: The right winter watersports clothing
As a general rule your gear must be appropriate for the respective water temperature. Even on a relatively warm autumn or winter day, the water can be significantly colder. So it’s important to be prepared for frosty temperatures because the combination of wet, cold and potential wind can quickly chill you. It’s always better to have an extra layer on hand! Depending on the type of water sport, even small accessories such as a pocket warmer can be helpful.
A drysuit is a good choice in the winter months. First and foremost, these suits are intended to enable watersports in cool regions. They are available in various designs, depending on the type of sport. Together with warming thermal underwear or functional clothing, a drysuit keeps you dry and protects against the cold. If you plan to spend the day in a boat or canoe, for example, it makes sense to take along a cap, scarf and gloves, as well as a life jacket, in addition to the drysuit.
A classic wetsuit makes sense especially for frequent water contact, such as scuba diving. When choosing the right suit, it’s especially important to pay attention to the right thickness of the material and the quality of the seams. Depending on the water temperature, a neoprene suit should be at least five to seven millimetres thick. Especially when diving, the following applies: Never dive alone - no matter what time of year it is. Since diving in cold water is particularly challenging for the body, it’s recommended that you only dive when you are in the best of health. In addition to a certain cold tolerance, when diving in cold water you should also always make sure that, in addition to the suit, the regulator is also specially made for cold water.
Currently, cold water suits are more in demand in our local waters, but in anticipation of the coming summer here's a tip: Aqualung offers wetsuits made of environmentally friendly and neoprene-free composite material, so-called Yulex®. This composite material consists of a main layer of natural rubber with a lamination of water-based adhesive and fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. XSCAPE wetsuits are particularly suitable for warm waters between 20° and 28°C and are ideal for snorkelling, freediving, paddling or other water sports.