What to wear for winter SUP and SUP Yoga

On Water Yoga February 7, 2016: OnWaterYoga.com

Here in Redding, California, I hold SUP and SUP Yoga classes year-round. The weather is pretty great, with us living in the second sunniest city in the country (according to US News), and on the days that it is cloudy or raining, I’ve got some adventurers who still want to come out, so we do! The question is then, what does one wear in the colder, wetter, fall, winter, and even spring months? Here are my suggestions:

  1. NO COTTON: if you are a hiker, backpacker, camper, or general outdoors man or woman, you probably already know this. The standard line is “cotton kills.” When cotton gets wet, it stays wet and takes a long, long time to dry. This is very unpleasant on a colder day and one where we are so close to the water. Nearly any other fabric is better: silk, wool, acrylic, linen, polyester, etc.
  2. LAYERS: wear any stretchy, non-constricting, athletic clothing, in layers. When paddling and doing yoga on a paddleboard, you will get warm, and you can always remove your hat or gloves or outer jacket and set it on top of your SUP, under the bungees, or with your lifejacket, then reapply when you need it again/cool down. Do keep in mind that when buying outer layers, you will want them large enough to accommodate all the layers you have underneath, so you may want to size up and down depending on how close to your body the layers are. Some things I suggest to bring and have with you:
    • gloves/mittens
    • beanie, ball cap, ear warmers/headband, or hat of some kind
    • surf booties, wool socks, waterproof socks, or a non-cotton slipper of some kind
    • fleece lined yoga or running pants
    • long johns to layer underneath a pair of yoga pants, or double up on your yoga pants and wear two at a time
    • rain pants (nice to have and slip off and on as needed)
    • light rain jacket (buy this in a slightly larger size so you can wear layers underneath, and for freer movement)
    • long-sleeve and/or short-sleeve shirt, or tank top
    • bikini top and bottoms (yup, with that sun, sometimes ALL the layers come off and it’s nice to soak it in!)
    • you could always get separate wetsuit pieces: top and bottoms, and wear them as needed; here in Redding, we haven’t needed it in the 5-years I’ve been teaching, but in San Francisco, they use these. All. The. Time.
    • outer layer jacket or light down jacket (one that allows movement)
    • fleece or middle layer jacket
    • vest (perhaps the best option for yoga: with the thermals and fleece underneath, the vest allows unrestricted movement for yoga and paddling!)
  3. BRING A DRY CHANGE OF CLOTHES: in 5-years, I have only had 1 student slip into the water in the winter (up to the waist), so I can’t promise it won’t happen, and even if it doesn’t, sometimes water splashes onto your SUP and you get your knees wet or you step into the water, accidentally, as you are loading your SUP and your ankles get wet. So, it’s nice to have that dry pair of clothes waiting for you in the car as you load up. OR bring a dry bag with you on your SUP and put in a few extra layers and have a dry space to put them when you take them off as you warm up.

You can get a good idea of what I and other’s have worn during SUP and SUP Yoga, in all seasons, with this video here.

Winter SUP Yoga is not only possible, it’s FUN! It’s an invigorating experience that charges you with energy and refreshment. The long winter months can get rough, but you don’t have to suffer indoors. And, perhaps my favorite thing about the cooler months on the SUPs, no one else is on the water (well, actually, yesterday during my cloudy, 50-degree On Water Yoga class, there were two fishing boats on the lake, and a ski boat with a slalom skier! He was wearing a wetsuit and we laughed as we did Acro yoga on the SUPs and said: “What we are doing is tame in comparison! That water has to be in the mid-50’s!”)

Come on out and enjoy the great outdoors with SUP and SUP Yoga, year-round. Adventure awaits those brave enough to experience it. (Stable SUPs do make a substantial difference. If you are unsure about your board or wonder which one to purchase or rent, read my blog about the different SUP styles here.)

SUPing March 27, 2016: OnWaterYoga.com

We Are All One: pollution, choices, yoga, SUP

A friend recently Skyp’ed me a few times while on a business trip in China and I was so struck by the heavy smog and pollution I saw in the background/sky. It was disgusting and shocking and something I noticed right away: brown, grey, heavy, think, dirty air hung like death and it felt depressing and disgusting. It’s something I haven’t been able to shake and was a conversation we had right then: the need to drink purified water, people wearing pollution masks, headaches, having to stay indoors. What kind of life is that?!

Since I can remember, I have always been a little environmentalist, but seeing thick pollution (nearly in-person) effect someone I cared about, and then in turn effect so many other people, whom I had never met, but who are just as important, I find it all the harder to buy stuff from China. I see the direct correlation of what we buy in the name of “it’s less expensive” “it saves me money” and “I can’t afford that” to people’s qualities of lives in China. There’s a reason it’s less expensive: the cost is transferred elsewhere (environmental protection and awareness takes energy and money, intention), and I can’t live with myself knowing that I am contributing to someone else’s poor life quality, but maybe more importantly, their demise. And the truth is, it effects us too! Pollution doesn’t just stay in one spot, air blows and water flows, and that stuff will come to us in one form or another. My own cancer fight, and those of so, so many others, has been linked to pollution. We are killing ourselves, and for what?! I stand again, resolved, to make choices that bring about the good for all people, animals, and this earth we call home.

November shenanigans at Whiskeytown Lake, Redding, CA.

If you’re with me and want a paddleboard that takes this (very yogic) belief to heart and practical practice, then Glide is your choice. They are the only made in the USA, Eco-friendly SUPs out there and it makes me all the more shameless in promoting it. Get 10% off when you use the code: AUDREYD10.

Rant over, carry on, but perhaps, with a little more intention, heart, and awareness of how powerful each of our choices are. We can make a difference, one choice at a time.

Namaste.

What kind of SUP should I buy? What are the differences between SUPs?

I often get asked what kind of SUP (stand up paddleboard) someone should purchase. It’s not always a straight-forward answer, really, it just depends. I’ve outlined what I know below, having worked in this industry since 2011, and I update this blog several times a year based on changes, trends, and new experiences.

Buying a SUP is a big purchase and although you can always change your mind and sell your board, it’s helpful to have some basic info to help you make an informed decision the first time.

Do you want:

  1. To take your SUP in the ocean or surf

    This SUP depends on your surfing ability and style: a short board or long board and a lot of the same questions as below (sharing with others, yoga, short on space, etc.).

  1. To share your SUP with your kids, family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc.

    You’ll want a SUP that is designed to withstand rigorous use, foam, inflatable, ultra-durable, vinyl covered, etc. With this much usage you most likely don’t want a fiberglass SUP as they get damaged pretty easily.

  1. To take your SUP on whitewater or the river

    You want a SUP designed for rigorous use: one that won’t get dings, gouges, or cracks easily. Fiberglass is not going to be your board, nor would I advise plastic.

  1. To take SUP Yoga classes

    You want a SUP that is either at least 32 inches wide or designed specifically for yoga. (See my choice for this, and why, at the end.)

  1. To race with your SUP

    You are looking for a long, skinny board. Check with your local SUP shop, SUP race, or even board manufacturer for how long and which is best for you. Fiberglass most likely will be what your board is made of or some other really light and slick material.

  1. A SUP but don’t have a lot of space for storage or transport

    There have been some great developments recently with the inflatable SUPs. Check the reviews on the particular board and brand you are eyeing. Older and/or cheaper inflatables tend to “taco” a lot (causing a large indent where you stand and stick up in the front and back), aren’t easy to pump, lose their air, and/or get holes easily.

  1. Not sure and just want a general SUP

    I’d suggest one that is at least 32 inches wide in case you want to try yoga and it will provide more stability and room for extra people or animals or a cooler or fishing gear….

FOR ALL SUPS

Check the manufacturers details on the board: most boards have a weight limit and will sink a bit if you exceed it and then, not be fun. Know also, that you get what you pay for. The really cheap SUPs can crack and ding much easier than the others, filling with water and sinking, and most repair shops won’t repair them because the problem will spread quickly and they don’t want to be held liable for the inevitable damages.

What are the differences of each SUP type:

FOAM SUPs

Are typically less expensive and can be great for multiple users or if you just don’t know what you want. They don’t glide as well through the water but will last a long time, although they could get heavier over time as they tend to soak up water that you can’t get out. These may not look that pretty even after your first use because they get gouges very easily.

PATENTED SUPs DESIGNED TO WITHSTAND RIGOROUS USE

Are usually pretty great. Read reviews or talk to your local shop though, some boards marketed as indestructible aren’t.

INFLATABLE SUP

Test the inflatable you want to purchase! If you can’t test it, watch a video of someone using the one you want to purchase and watch the feet. If water puddles, pools, or sneaks in from the sides at the feet, don’t buy it; this is an indication of the “taco” effect and the board won’t glide smoothly when you paddle, and when you practice yoga, you’ll be sitting in water. Not fun in my opinion.

VINYL COVERED SUP

This SUP has chambers on the inside in case you get a crack or ding and the board takes on water: the water stays contained in just that one chamber so you stay afloat. Easy to repair if the vinyl tears with just a small sticky patch over the tear.

FIBERGLASS SUPs

This kind was my first SUP purchase. That board got 6 dings and cracks during the 1st year I owned it. I took it to be professionally repaired several times and each ding cost $45. I eventually bought a small repair kit and used it to repair the other dings (caused by pressure from my roof rack. Lesson learned: BUY FOAM BLOCKS!) but it didn’t look as nice, wasn’t smooth, and I had to redo some multiple times because the repair wouldn’t hold.

PLASTIC SUPs

I’ve seen a few of these in stores and I’ve used one for a SUP Yoga and paddling time once, but honestly, I don’t have a lot of experience with them. Several complaints I’ve heard is that they still ding and dent and get holes.

 


 

For my On Water Yoga classes I exclusively use the ultra-durable Glide Lotus SUPs and have 6 hard boards and 2 inflatables (get 10% off Glide SUPs with code: OnWaterYoga + free shipping!). I hold SUP Yoga classes year-round and love my inflatable for the winter and colder months; it’s even more buoyant and because it sits so high off the water I don’t get wet at all! I have the room and transporting ability, so I don’t deflate it unless I’m traveling or hiking to some remote waterfall or lagoon, and it keeps it’s rigidity nicely. Several of my students have gone with the Glide Retro SUP because of it’s versatility and broader usage: yoga, ocean surf, lake paddling, river. The Glide Lochsa is another really good option for SUP yoga with more versatility for other activities.

I chose the Glide brand and the Lotus SUPs in particular, for my On Water Yoga fleet because they are so stable and durable. I can provide a higher quality experience for my students because these boards not only look great, are super stable, and I don’t have to worry about the boards being damaged: I can keep my prices lower since I don’t have to repair and buy new boards each season or put them out of commission during the season while repairs are being made. It’s also super rad that they are made in the U.S.A. and are eco-friendly (they are made from recycled foam & non-VOC bio resin and polymers). I like to practice yoga on and off the mat and partner with companies that share the same yogic philosophy as I do; ahimsa: doing no harm to the waterways/earth we play on, call home, and share with other animal and plant life.

Get 10% off all Glide SUPs and gear,

plus free shipping

using the code:

OnWaterYoga at GlideSUP.com

As with so many things, it depends on why you want to use it and sometimes you just buy one and go from there. Remember, though, you get what you pay for! Your local SUP shop should have a variety of SUPs to check out and a good shop will let you test them before you purchase, possibly for a small fee, but worth it for this kind of expense. If you are in the Redding or NorCal area, check out any of these places, although some of these also ship: Inland Board Sports, Boardmart, and Headwaters Adventure Co.

Let me know if this helps! There are always specials, sales, and the occasional person who wants to get rid of their amazing board and you score (I might be willing to part with a hardtop Glide Lotus…. Let me know if you’re interested!) If you buy in Redding, tell them I sent you and they’ll be extra good to you. Have fun paddling and I’ll see you on the water, maybe even, near you! (Check out my special event schedule here.)

Namaste!

Can I do a headstand on a Paddleboard?

What I love about this video is that is shows it’s not all glamorous. In order to succeed, one must fail, and often. It’s not whether or not you get it right, it’s how you handle failure and what you do with it. If you can practice this on the board (or the mat), you are then better prepared in life: not caring what people think, advancing and moving forward, adjusting your goals and vision if necessary, and maybe the hardest part to practice is smiling through it all, laughing all the way!

Namaste and SUP on!