Safety is key to enjoyment!
Surf skis can be great fun and enable us to connect with our water environment in a wide range of conditions. As with all adventure sports there is risk and it is how we manage this risk that sets us up for dealing with issues if and when they arise.
As we head into winter cold water paddling is a reality for those of use that paddle all year round. The conditions can become more challenging, the water and air temperatures drop and there are typically less of us on the water. Check out the water temperatures around New Zealand and make sure you have the right apparel for the conditions. If you suspect due to the conditions there is potential for a swim then make sure you dress for submersion in water.
Here is a great detailed post from from TCSUrfski.com giving some great guidance on cold water paddling. Some key tips from this post that are:
- have your skills nailed. Know how to brace, remount (see videos below) and power into heavy weather.
- have the right equipment and look after it
- have the necessary safety equipment (see video below for more on this)
- wear the right gear for the conditions
- where you can, paddle with others. Know your route and plan on how to check in if you get separated. Have a plan on what to do if things go wrong.
- Dress for the swim, not the gym. Especially if out in cold or challenging conditions make sure you are wearing gear that will help you stay warm if you come off your ski
- Use a ski you are confident in. A stable boat you can remount is way more important than going fast in challenging conditions. Fast vs stable surf skis will be a future post!
- Pick your route and match to yours and your fellow paddlers skills and experience. Some routes closer to shore can still provide a fantastic experience and allow for exit paths should things go wrong.
Video covering a wide range of safety equipment that can be carried when out on the water.
Nailing those remounts
Being able to remount your ski in a range of conditions is one of the key requirements to be able to paddle with confidence. Here are a range of videos that demonstrate how to, and challenges with remounting your surfski.
Oscar Chalupsky showing the basics of nailing a good remount in challenging conditions
Video showing what happens when remounts fail and tips on what to focus on
Remount in a double ski in lumpy conditions