Rain on the horizon (are you prepared?)
At present, the forecast calls for days upon days of precipitation, which is an unfortunate symptom of autumn in BC and for many other provinces across Canada. While we have provided a guide to stand up paddle boarding through the fall season, many SUPers wonder if they should bother to head out when it starts to pour. We think that it’s absolutely worthwhile. After all, hardcore joggers don’t let a downpour keep them from their favourite seawall, so why let rain get in your way? Plus, your local waterway will be empty, with very few (if any at all) boaters, kayakers, or other paddlers around, which frees you up to enjoy a couple hours of adventure without distraction. Convinced? Great! Below are some helpful tips to make the experience even better.
3 Practical Tips to Make Stand-Up Paddleboarding in the Rain More Comfortable, Enjoyable, and Safer
What to Wear
In our aforementioned guide to SUPing in the autumn we encouraged you to slip into something more comfortable - a wetsuit. In general, a 3/2 mm neoprene wetsuit with serve as an all-season rainy day sheath, but as the winter approaches you will want to go thicker (4/3 mm). It’s also a good idea to tuck your toes into neoprene booties from October to March. Not only will they provide comfort, it will increase your foot-grip on the board to ensure you don’t slip. Singing in the rain is fun, unplanned swimming is not. If rain is heavy, feel free to wear a light and bright-coloured rain poncho. However, make sure the hood does not cover your peripheral vision, as you need to keep an eye out for nearby watercraft, other paddlers, and obstacles (floating logs, etc.). Most importantly, don’t forget your personal floatation device (PFD) which is even more critical in the rain when visibility is poor. On that latter note, choose a PFD that is red or orange to ensure that you can be spotted from a mile away.
What to Bring
If you find that your current SUP is a challenge even on sunny, warm, and balmy days then it’s time to upgrade. When paddling in the rain, you need confidence to go along with your SUPing attire. Choose from a lineup of inflatable SUPs that have been constructed and designed for greater balance and stability, and one that comes with all of the accessories you need so that you can get into the water right away.
Are there any other accessories to bring along for the ride? A drybag is essential, as you need a place to store additional layers of rainproof outerwear (if needed) and your smartphone. Make sure your SUP has tie-down cords so that you don’t have to wear the drybag. A backpack will be cumbersome when paddling in the rain. Pack a water safety whistle as well, which is recommended under the Canadian Coast Guard’s Standard Marine Distress Signals guide. For especially dark and rainy days, you may consider installing a bow safety light for added visibility. Until SeaGods invents a carbon fiber paddle with an umbrella attachment (patent idea!?) we have covered all you really need to bring for your rainy day paddle.
Stick Close to Shore and in a Body of Water You Know
Rain introduces a new challenge to SUPing. As mentioned above, it reduces your visibility and the visibility of those who may be approaching by boat. The water’s surface is also often choppier, and winds may accompany the precipitation. In addition, it’s simply more distracting. Until you’re a seasoned and advanced paddler, play it safe and stick to waterways that you know well and are comfortable with. Be sure to know and understand the conditions (check marine forecasts, windage, and currents - tidal or otherwise) before heading out. If you are heading out in inclement weather be sure to know your limits and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
Note: Before paddling out, always check the conditions of your local waterway via the Government of Canada’s interactive marine weather resource map.
If you have any other questions about using your Sea Gods inflatable stand up paddle-board in the rain, feel free to contact us anytime.