Late fall and early spring can offer some great conditions for kiting in many parts of North America. Closer to home during these times of the year we have opportunities for high winds, good waves, and a lot of fun on the water. Here's how to be prepared to deal with cold conditions and a few tips to keep you warm and safer on the water...
1. Don't start your session cold: If you have a drysuit - put it on home, and don't start your session cold: meaning if you are changing on the beach or exposed to the elements and lower your core temp before your you even hit the water, it will take your body and extremities far longer to warm up once you're out there and you may be more likely to suffer a muscle strain while cold.
Drysuits like the Ocean Rodeo Heat and Soul are highly breathable, and will cover the same temperature range as a heavy neoprene steamer and a midweight wetsuit combined and are more affordable than ever. Here's a great selection of drysuits on sale.
2. Layer up right: Proper layering is just as important as the drysuit itself, with the right base layer you'll be wicking away any sweat and staying warm and insulated at the same time. We have high performance Polartec Fleece base layers available here - designed specifically for use with your drysuit, as well as just about any winter activity like skiing, snowboarding or x-country.
3. Warm Hands and Feet: Pay attention to your extremities. If your hands and feet become too cold or numb that's your body telling you that you're core temp has dropped - so don't push it. Good quality gloves or booties area a must. Try riding with one hand on the bar as much as possible and keep the other one low - below your heart to increase circulation. You can also preheat your gloves or booties with a flush of warm water from a thermos before you hit the water, this is a great trick that works surprisingly well.
Remember that depower lines and safety leashes get wet - so in the extreme cold they can potentially freeze up. Keep an eye and be aware. Don'f forget to factor in the wind chill before heading out...