After our trip to the World Cup in Argentina, when we returned to Poland, we had a little thermal shock. After a couple weeks of paddling in 30 degrees Celsius we had to get used to training during the polish Autumn with temperatures of 8 degrees or even lower. I was thinking about just starting pool sessions and forgetting about the rivers for the winter, but then I remembered my drysuit – a great way to extend the kayaking season! So I decided to get back in my dry suit, and see how it works with even lower temperatures than springtime.
In freestyle kayaking we spend a lotof time under the water. Lot sof moved involve going upside down, so it’s very important to have proper kayaking gear, which keeps you warm. Your gear also needs to keep you dry and still feel comfortable to throw fast moves.
In the last few weeks we’ve been paddling both in Poland at our home spot and in Plattling in Germany. Despite the low temperature I’m glad to say once on the water Tomasz and I are were pretty warm and could paddle normally in our Atom dry suits. I use the womens version with the extra dropseat relief zip, and I love that Palm’s gear comes in womens and mens versions ;)
Thanks to the suit being a one piece, with top and bottom half connected – it’s really comfortable to move in this drysuit, even for freestyle. Combined with a Tsangpo fleece suit it is super easy and quick to put on, and really comfy. I love paddling in this combination.
Advice: When it’s very cold I wear a warm extra T-shirt over my Tsangpo suit. This keeps me warm, and I can move my arms still easily.
In normal paddling gear, most of our warmth runs away through our hands and feet. so When it is cold, remember to wear a cap under the helmet and some gloves. I also like to wear thick socks, but be careful – if your feet are too tightly in your shoes this will reduce circulation and make your feet cold anyway.
Advice: To have bigger control with your paddle in gloves, you can put on the shaft anti-slip tape (use it only with the gloves, without it can scratch your skin)
Once you are dressed properly, remember to do a solid warm up. When it’s cold it’s much easier to injure yourself, so a good warm up is very important when paddling in low temperatures.
Although it sometime looks too cold, the river is often quieter, and you can use cold days to improve your paddling skills and have fun! ;)