Sea state conditions can be ideal in between winter storms and arctic outflow wind systems, and the water quality is gin clear making it easy to spot marine life. Here in Squamish BC, during the spring and summer months we are affected by inflow and outflow heat generated winds which are great for kiteboarding and down winding but not ideal for those paddlers wanting a calm, relaxing day. But these winds will shut off during the winter allowing for beautiful afternoons padding glassy waters. Most times I have the ocean to myself. One of my favourite little adventures is paddling the lower end of the Squamish River out to the ocean and then taking the rising tide back into the estuary.
The ocean moderates the temperatures in Squamish and paddling days can be quite comfortable. I do enjoy paddling in the rain and in colder and more challenging conditions. Being prepared with your SUP safety gear is essential and paddling with a partner is recommended. A PFD and leash are two of your most important pieces of safety gear, but in winter months you want to be extra prepared for an unexpected swim and wear immersion gear. A dry suit or semi-dry suit is the way to go, and Kokatat has a plethora of options for you. For those that feel more comfortable without the latex neck gasket but still want to be warm and dry, look at the semi-dry suits available. I have enjoyed paddling with the Surge semi dry suit featuring Kokatat’s SwitchZip technology. A two piece suit gives you the greatest amount of flexibility. Also check out the one piece Endurance semi dry suit, brand new for 2018.
The days are shorter so plan your adventure accordingly. If you are fortunate enough to be on one of our coastlines then I hope you get a chance to do some winter paddling!