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:
- 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.
- 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:
- 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!)
- 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.)