Did you know McConks have a number of inflatable obstacles that are currently being put to good use via the SUP 32 winter stand up paddle board club at one of our local lakes. We’ve been saying for a while that just because winter’s inbound doesn’t mean your SUP fun has to stop. Far from it! In this instance we’re putting our money where our mouths are and getting as many local stand up paddlers involved in some floating fun as possible.
What do you reckon? Do you think you could do better than the group in the video? It’s not quite as easy as you’d think. But tons of laughs regardless – even if you do fall splat in the drink!
Stay tuned for more updates from the SUP 32 club as we’re sure there’ll be plenty more of this over the coming weeks.
Before we actually talk specifics it should be noted that paddling in the dark does carry slightly more risk than in daylight. As such you’ll need to be mindful of how you do things with an extra eye on safety. Don’t take unnecessary risks, plan things accordingly, and you should be fine.
With days getting shorter and, for some, opportunity to SUP much less (or at least that’s the perception) you may be forgiven for hanging up your paddle until spring. Clocks changing at the end of October and us losing more light and therefore time can be a depressing situation. But it doesn’t have to be. With prior planning and preparation there’s no reason you can’t score an after hours SUP session or two.
Paddling in darkness can be a strange thing at first but if you consider boats and marine vessels navigate at night there’s not really much difference other than you being atop a stand up paddle board. Confidence and skill play a big part. If you’re still at the falling off stage then maybe night SUPing isn’t for you yet. For anyone paddling comfortably, however, it’s more than doable.
Location choices versus the weather should be taken into consideration. Heading out into open tidal water when it’s blowing 30 knots offshore isn’t wise. Seeking shelter in a non-flowing canal will work far better. It may be that you have to wait it out until Mother Nature is feeling in a better mood but that’s OK.
We’ve talked before how reading forecasts is key to scoring decent stand up paddle boarding sessions. Getting fixated on the period you can SUP, and not taking account of the weather and what’s going on conditions wise isn’t the best course of action – especially with night paddling in mind. Just because you want to paddle at a set time and location doesn’t mean you have to. Waiting for appropriate windows is fair wiser.
If you can put in at locations where there’s increased ambient light then this is a good thing. For instance, the location in the accompanying pics is close to a bridge, where streetlights shine brightly, as well as having illuminated premises on the foreshore. This helps with navigation. Wearing a head torch can also help give your chosen paddling path some glow.
Don’t take risks. When/if night SUPing we’re talking about sticking to flat water only. It’s not the time to be hucking waterfalls or trying to ride waves. And definitely wear your leash! At this time of year it’s colder, obviously. Remember that when darkness falls temperatures also drop further so wearing the right attire is a must. If you layer up then removing garments if you get too hot is possible. But better to be warm rather than too cool.
Finally, tell someone where you’re going and what time you’ll plan and getting back. Carry a means of communication, such as mobile phone of VHF stowed in a waterproof pouch.
Paddling at night is a totally calming experience – almost meditative if you get it right. At the very least it’s one way of keeping your SUP sessions going through winter, even if you’re a time lacking sort.
Pic: Daniel James Pix
Winter is definitely looming with weather having mostly taken a tumble. But as we’ve said in other articles: just because it isn’t summer anymore doesn’t mean your stand up paddle boarding has to come to a grinding halt. In fact, far from it. With the correct water wear there’s absolutely no reason not to paddle during the off season – especially when things are this fun!
Waterland Outdoor Activites – friends of McConks SUP – are a case in point. Keeping on with stand up (at our local haunt no less – Lake32 at the Cotswold Water Park) the crew is loaning the McConks inflatable obstacles and a McConks Mega iSUP. Simply put: it doesn’t matter if the days are getting shorter and temperatures are becoming chillier. With fun like this on offer at SUP 32 Club (d’ya see what they did there?) there’s no reason not to indulge.
What are you doing to make winter a season of SUP fun?