Friday, 9 February 2018

Stay warm!!

I often get asked what I wear when it’s cold - so here’s a short summary. The main safety issue is cold water shock. 

Falling into cold water can cause the blood vessels in the skin to close, resulting in increased resistance to blood flow. This means your heart has to work harder and blood pressure can increase. If this happens it makes you ‘gasp’ in water. Then the breathing rate changes dramatically - it can increase as much as ten times. As you can imagine, this then causes panic and loss of rational thinking. (You can read more about this from the RNLI here ).

It’s unlikely that I’ll fall in but - if I do - I want to be as safe as possible. I don’t want to suffer cold water shock and sink, only to turn up a few days later on a different part of the coast. If I do fall in I want to be buoyant and be rescued quickly. So, if the water is below about 8 degrees, I wear a buoyancy aid nowadays, a 3/2 wetsuit or neoprene leggings, rash vest and neoprene jacket and dive boots. I’ll have a hat and gloves with me but may not wear them. This photo is of my boots -

they’re pretty old but I love them. I can fit neoprene socks inside if needed and they have great grip on the board. There are loads of different types of warm boots and it’s really important to try them on, walk around in the shop (or buy from somewhere with a good returns policy), but anything like the photo below will work. They want to be really comfortable and will go under your wetsuit.

Happy paddling!!

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