Tips for Cold Water Kitesurfing
Get out kitesurfing in winter!
The winter has finally arrived and it’s windy folks! Even though we run kitesurfing lessons throughout the winter we don’t teach when it’s freezing. That’s the time to ride and for those of you who have passed your IKO course it’s also a good time to practice. Make sure to read my previous blog about choosing the right gear though!
Trip Foreman says that winter surfing is 50% gear and 50% attitude. And you can’t argue with that. There are some kitesurfers who simply don’t feel like changing into a wetsuit when it’s colder than 12C. And that’s absolutely fine. For kiting in the winter you need to get into the right mindset. It’s the time of year when spots are almost empty so you’ll have more room at the beach. It’s also when we get the most decent kitesurfing conditions in Scotland!
The thing to remember though is that cold air is much more dense than warm one. This means that 30kt wind will pack a greater punch in the winter than in the summer. Also, face-planting sucks a bit more. On the note of ending up in the water. When you’re kitesurfing in winter your sessions will be much shorter. We all try to kite until our fingers fall out. But realistically you will get tired faster in the winter. Which works well for our other, non-kitesurfing halves!
Get Warm Before and After
The worst bit about cold water surfing it’s not ending up in the water. It’s what your decent wetsuit, gloves, hood and boots are for. If you’ve chosen wisely you will be (mostly) nice and warm. It’s when you have to change in and from the wetsuit. And as much as it’s a pain, it pays off to do that in the warmth of your car. Even though winter suits aren’t generally easy to get in and off, doing this in a warm car helps a lot. It keeps you warm from the start.
Also, driving home in a suit, if you don’t live too far and getting it off in your own bathroom jumping into a warm shower straight after feels awesome. Just make sure you’ve got your car seats covered properly, salt and upholstery don’t go and in hand.
Eat and Prepare
Eating root vegetables before a session also helps a lot. They do help to heat up your body and it’s all about keeping your core warm. Apart from the fact that you should be eating loads of them anyway. Doh. Make sure to take a thermos full of hot water or tea. Getting some warm fluids between sessions helps a lot. Also, a wee sip after a session is a godsend!
Also, make sure to stretch and warm up before a session. When we’ve headed out today in Gullane it was about 2C. And one of my mates, quite rightfully pointed, out that in any other sport you always do a warm up. Yet we don’t really do this when kiteboarding. It helps to raise your body temperature and also helps to avoid injuries. A few burpees, squats and a short run may be a session-saving exercise. And it takes just couple of minutes. No excuses! Apart from today as we’ve had this conversation after riding for 2 hours. Next time no excuses then!
After a session putting shed loads of moisturiser helps immensely. Your skin will get a kicking while tackling freezing salty waters, cold wind and sand. Make sure to put some stuff on your face and hands after riding or suffer the consequences.
Yeah dude! As soon as you get out of the water get on Instagram and Facebook and rub your session in to those who were too scared to head out! It’s a tiny gratification for your efforts but helps to document your commitment to the cause. Winter sessions are awesome and as mentioned before, you get +1 to Badassness for venturing out when others are in their PJ’s sipping hot milk!
See you out there!