How to wakeboard through the winter in England

 

Lets be honest, we’ve had the most epic summer that I can remember, and so far, winter has not really been that bad yet.  Can you believe that we’d had a foot of snow this time last year?

I know its colder now, but think of all the good things about the lakes this time of year…

You are with like minded people.  I know technically you you could say this is the case all year round because you are all there to wakeboard.  But for those of you who ride through the winter (and actually ride in England), you will know what I mean.  No bad vibes, no attitudes, no queues… its all good!  There is a different kind of breed down on the dock between the months of October through to April.  A friendly bunch of water folk that just want to ride because they love it.  And you will see the same faces over the winter months, and you will be surrounded by people who will strive to have just 20mins of freezing water time, to make their week. 

If you hadn’t guessed, I actually quite like riding this time of year.

So here are my top tips on how to get on the water this winter! 

  1. Stating the obvious but its not always available to everyone.  Go abroad.  Get on a plane and go ride somewhere hotter than here, preferably for the season and you’ll come back all tanned and smug because you’ve got a whole new bag of tricks.
  2. If you’re going to ride in the UK, get a decent wetsuit.  Invest.  It’ll be worth it.  Honest.  I’m in the new Mystic Diva 5.3mm and its toastie warm.
  3. If you’re rocking the open toe bindings, grab some neoprene socks. Otherwise get your hands on some Walk-In bindings because you’re basically walking around in a snug bootie – toastie tootsies! I’m in the Hyperlite Defactos
  4. I know the glove look isn’t the best.. but I wouldn’t be able to ride through the freezing days without my wetsuit gloves.  So I’m wearing the gloves.
  5.  If you’re landing new tricks in the winter in the UK – give yourself a huge pat on the back.  Otherwise, just maintain what you can already do, maybe add on some smaller tricks, so that you come into the next season ready to go.
  6. Keep active.  You cannot sit around doing nothing all winter and then expect to be able to shred your nuts off come April.  Keep those muscles active and work out in other ways, whether it be gym work, cycling, running, yoga… just keep moving.
  7. Take your mates.  Its much more fun riding with someone.
  8.  Invest in a flask and fill it to the brim with hot tea / coffee / hot choc… you’ll be grateful post ride.
  9. Leave time for a shower afterwards, or to sit in the hot tub– to warm up obvs.
  10. If theres no shower, take a sleeping bag and drive home wearing it.  Jokes.  Take thermals, sweats, mountain attire; anything to keep you warm until you get home.
  11. Have fun.  Be grateful you’re able to get out there and ride.  Good vibes only.

Hyperlite 2019 Scandal Wakeboard & Defacto Bindings

2019 is right around the corner and then there are only three(ish) chillier months to power through until our little island starts to perk up around April time.  The lakes will still be a bit cold but with the days getting longer and warmer, people that haven’t braved (or fled) the winter riding, come out of the woodwork… and what will you be riding?

I got my new stick back in October at the Watersports World Dealer Days. (Actually  I took a few boards out for a spin, its always good to get the vibes of other rides). So I am on the 2019 Hyperlite Scandal with Defacto Bindings.  And it is a sick setup.

The board is from the same mould as the Wishbone, but the flex has been tailored to suit a womans riding.  The graphics are the best they’ve ever been! This is the third year for this board: the first year it was fresh and glossy, last year was a bit more punky, and cruising into 2019 it is super super chic.  Just look at it!  Business on top, party on the base.

It rides as smooth as butter over the park toys, gets great pop off kickers and holds a solid edge for air tricks, if you’re into that kinda thing.

All round great womens specific board that I am stoked to be riding for the third year in a row!  #iridehyperlite

Now onto the bindings… the Defactos.  Deeeee-fac-toooooooos.  Defacto000s. These are ridiculously comfortable, they have a walk-in liner (GREAT for winter!!) and are supportive but super flexible.  They have a duel lace system and strap to keep you snug.  They are from the mens binding line, but go down to a womens UK size 5.  A great binding all round.  AND, bonus, they look amazing on the Scandal.

How to store your wetsuit easily

Winter riding is haaaaard in the UK, and in many other cold places.  Sorry, not sorry, but I don’t feel bad for anyone who has to succumb to a 3.2mm wetsuit to get on the water because it cools down to 16c or something.  Try passing the handle in 5.4mm of rubber with cold muscles.  Not easy.

However, I do ride throughout the winter on our little grey covered island.  If I didn’t man up and ride, it would be six months off the water for sure.  And to top it off, I don’t even like the cold.  I hate it in-fact, (unless its in the mountains).  Along with wind and rain.  I can deal by wearing good clothing, base layers and of course, great wetsuits.

As well as riding/coaching at my local lakes, I tend to ride at a few different cable parks to keep it interesting, just as you would surf at different surf spots or snowboard on different runs/resorts.  Obviously with this, comes some road time.  I recently got my paws on a couple of Dry Bags (the Pro and the Elite). What are these I hear you ask?  They are specifically designed bags to store your wetsuit in so they can dry.  They work by hanging your wetsuit in half over a huge hanger (so you don’t stretch out the shoulders), allowing your wetsuit to drip dry.  When I heard about these bags, I was immediately on board.  So now, when I’m leaving a lake in my car, instead of putting my wetsuit in a giant plastic bag that has seen better days, I hang it in my new Dry Bag, and attached it to one of the handles in the back seat.  This means my wettie starts drying before I even get home and its such an easy way to store my wetsuit in the car without getting it even dirtier than it already is!  Genius.

They come in pretty handy over the winter for storing your wetsuit (or wetsuits, these bad boys can hold two suits at a time) as well.  Like if you hang it up in the garage, you could protect it from dust, dirt and spiders (yes, that is defo a legit reason for zipping you wettie away!  Who wants to put their hand in a wetsuit leg to turn it round the right way and grab a tarantula?  No one.).  Its ventilated as well so it won’t be festering or growing a colony.

Or if you love your wetsuit and don’t have a shed or a garage, and you store it indoors (the Dry Bag Elite is better for this), this will separate it from your towels, clothes etc so you don’t get that lovable wetsuit smell rubbing off on them.

The other thing I’m pretty excited about is when I’m staying over night somewhere, whether it be in a hotel or camping, I can hang my wetsuit in my car over night and know its stored away and drying ready for the next day! How many times have you had to put on wet wetsuit the second or third day because you couldn’t dry it over night…. too many.  Actually, I usually take a second wetsuit.  But if you don’t have the monies for a second wettie, the Dry Bag is a cheaper option so you don’t have to put on a wet wettie the next day.

So I might see you at the lake over these freezing months, but I might not be recognisable under 1000’s of mm of neoprene!

What wetsuit drying / travel issues or hacks do you have?  Get in touch!