A few tips on how I manage to keep riding through the winter in England…
Winter is here!!! For most this means hibernating at home in your One Piece with a hot drink and a mince pie; well we all do this no doubt, but there are some other perks to the winter when it comes to wakeboarding. You sometimes get those blue bird days where the water is like glass and sun feels slightly warm on your face. These are the days to cherish and take advantage of by getting yourself on the water! No queues, no weavers, no choppiness, just an empty lake to play on. This goes for any of the watersports I love: wakeboarding, surfing or wakesurfing!
I know these crystal clear days don’t come around very often, so here are a few things that I do to make the grey choppiness a little more welcoming..
First things first. Invest in a good wetsuit, you think you won’t use it, but once you have it you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it, sometimes you can wear it for six months of the year! I have a couple of suits I like to bust out over the winter, my 543mm Mystic Hypnotize and my 543mm Billabong SG5. Both keep me very warm and toastie!
Next on the list: Gloves/Socks. Wake: If you can go through the pain of adapting to gloves, then thats all good, I do because my hands would fall off if I didn’t. Otherwise, a pair of marigolds do just fine, they are thin and they keep the windchill at bay. If you’ve not got closed toe binding, get some socks, blue toes are not cool. Surf: I have 7mm booties and 5mm gloves, also a hood to try and prevent the brain freeze duck dive!
Find a buddy to ride with, then you’re more motivated to get out there because someone else is going through the same thing. You can bond. Its beautiful.
If none of your buddies ride, then head down the lake anyway. You’ll find a group of winter warriors that shred every Saturday/Sunday. Stick it out to show them you mean business. After a couple of weeks, you’ll be part of the crowd. People are friendlier in the winter months at the lake – all diehards!! 🙂
The aim of the game is to ride so make it quick. You just can’t spend all day on the dock like you can in the summer. Get to the lake, get changed straight away, don’t look at the water or else you won’t go in it. Get your new winter suit on as fast as possible, joke about how cold it is with you new found buddies, and get on the water! Depending on the air/water temperature and around the edge ice situation, aim to ride for as long as you can. Everyone is different. On the occasions I’ve ridden just before the lake’s frozen, or its been snowing, I’ve aimed for about 20mins (also aim to stay dry, winter in England is no time to be trying new tricks). But if its around the 5c mark you could go a bit longer, maybe 30-40mins.
After your freezing wake session, you need warmth! So take a flask and snacks with you. This will also make you popular with your new winter riding buddies. Grab a warm shower and get your layers back on. It will take a while to warm up properly but with hot water, warm clothing and a cuppa tea, you’ll be well on your way.
Happy winter riding!! 🙂