Winter Stand Up Paddleboarding
Cruising on coastal waters isn’t just a summertime activity – here’s how to SUP all year round.
What to wear
Much like winter surfing, your best bet for staying warm on the water is a full-body wetsuit with neoprene gloves and booties, especially on choppy waters where there’s a good chance you’ll go for a dip. But if you’re heading out for a leisurely paddle on calm waters and are relatively experienced, a drysuit worn underneath breathable outdoor materials will keep you warm without constricting movement and making you overheat. A toque, lifejacket, gloves and booties are also necessities.
What to bring
If you don’t already own a stand-up paddleboard and paddle (which can be purchased from most sporting goods, surf or outdoor stores), you can find one to rent at most surf stores near popular surf beaches on the east and west coasts of Canada that are open year-round, such as Live to Surf in Tofino, British Columbia and Just Stand in Seaforth, Nova Scotia. You can also rent most of your gear there, including wetsuits, roof racks for transporting your paddleboard and life jackets. Aside from paddleboard gear, you’ll also want to bring a warm change of clothes and big thermos of hot soup or tea to leave in the car, your cell phone in a waterproof case, and a board leash to ensure your board doesn’t get away from you in case you do fall off. And don’t forget to tell your loved ones where you’re going and when you plan to be back!
Where to SUP
Although any calm body of water with scenic shoreline views will do, popular spots to winter SUP across Canada include Jordan River in Sooke, Chesterman Beach in Tofino, and Alice Lake in Squamish, British Columbia; Woodbine Beach, Bluffer's Park Beach and Cherry Beach in Toronto, Ontario; and Stoney Beach near Lawrencetown in Nova Scotia.
Still not convinced to hit the waters in the winter on your board but missing the SUP experience? If you live in Ontario, you’re in luck: Karma SUPtra in Uxbridge, Ontario, offers indoor SUP yoga classes on specially design oak boards that sit atop inflated cushions to mimic the instability of water.