In our most recent article, we provided tips for how to store your ISUP for the season. Some of you have no intention of taking our advice, and we couldn’t be more stoked! That means you have every intention to keep paddling into the autumn, which we think is a great idea. The waterways and parking lots are uncrowded, the air is crisp, and the water is teeming with sea life (they love the lack of crowds too). But before you grab a SUP you want to know how to better prepare for fall season paddle-boarding. As always, we’ve got you covered.
6 Helpful Tips to Getting the Most Out of Your Stand Up Paddleboarding Adventures in the Fall Season
1. What to Wear Paddle Boarding in Autumn
You may enjoy paddling through the summer in standard swimwear but in the autumn in our neck of the continent, you need a wetsuit. Even if you don’t fall in, seasonal wind and morning marine layers make the air quite chilly. Experienced and surefooted SUPers may be just fine in a 3/2 mm neoprene wetsuit, but if slipping into the “drink” is a real possibility then opt for more comfort with a 4/3 mm suit. That will be just fine for autumn water temperatures for most of coastal and inland Canada. Plus, paddling in anything greater than a 4/3 will feel cumbersome, and you’ll be uncomfortably sweaty in anything thicker when the sun is out. Don’t worry, we can discuss thicker options in a follow-up winter article. If case you opt to go with less gear such as neoprene leggings and a quick dry hoodie, don’t forget the warm 3-5 mm wetsuit booties, because your feet are almost guaranteed to get wet and cold. Warm feet will make the paddle journey more awesome.
In addition, don’t forget a personal floatation device (PFD). While you should wear one through all four seasons, we know that confident paddlers/swimmers sometimes do not. You will want to in the autumn. The water temperature has dropped and as a result, your body may experience shock if you fall in. Hypothermia will also set in much faster. The more protected you are, the better, especially if your board gets away from you. View our guide to the best PFDs for SUPing before making a purchase.
2. Choose a More Stable Board
In the summertime, you’re more than happy to take an intentional or accidental dip in the water when paddling. Not so much in the fall. To spend more time above the surface choose a board that offers greater stability.
The Diatom Ten6 inflatable stand up paddleboard is one of the most stable ISUPs on the market, and will provide you with the confidence you need for fall paddleboarding. That said, certain waterways can get a bit rough in the autumn, especially coastal ones. If paddling in challenging conditions, consider an ISUP that performs best in choppy water.
3. Monitor Marine Conditions More Carefully
As alluded to above, the ocean can be challenging in the autumn, as winds and currents become more dramatic. Even lakes and rivers experience significant “behavioural" changes during the season. Be sure to monitor marine weather for your area. The Government of Canada has an interactive marine weather resource map that you can use to keep an eye on conditions. Make referencing it a part of your paddle-boarding ritual. When in doubt, don’t go out. And if located in (or are visiting) the BC Lower Mainland, we also encourage you to use our guide to the best paddleboarding spots in the Greater Vancouver area.
4. More Time in the Gym
Given that it can be more challenging to SUP in the fall, we suggest some added time in the gym. It’s important to get your core and shoulder strength in prime working order. Greater fitness is especially important in the fall as it can also keep your muscles and joints from seizing up and cramping when paddling. Simply put, the more fit you are, the better prepared you’ll be to mitigate the effects of cooler temperatures and stubborn surface conditions.
If you use a fitness trainer, let them know that you’re a SUPer, as they can devise a workout that will target the small stabilizing muscles that are activated while paddling. Otherwise, search online for the best exercises for paddle boarding and you’ll discover helpful guides.
5. Bring a Cozy Change of Clothes (and Changing Accessories)
Coming in from a paddle boarding session in the summer is a breeze. Throw down your towel, lay down, and dry. Done. In the autumn, however, you may not relish excess time on the beach or in the parking lot, and you don’t want to hop in the car in your wetsuit. This unpleasant (for some) part can even keep you from paddling out in the first place. Bring along a cozy change of clothes and other things that will make getting out of your wetsuit and into them a more enjoyable experience. A changing poncho is a great idea. You can buy one online or at a surf/water-sport shop near you. Otherwise, a large outdoor blanket to wrap yourself in while squeezing out of your wetsuit will suffice. Consider buying a wetsuit changing mat to keep your feet clean and debris-free while on the sand or in the lot by your vehicle.
6. Autumn Apres-SUP
A lot of people have every intention of SUPing through the autumn, but the cooler morning temperatures can have many think twice. A week passes, then a month, without a single session under your belt. All of a sudden its winter and you wish you had instead packed up the SUP (link to that STORAGE article) as you yank holiday season decor from storage. To keep cold weather and other de-motivating factors from dissuading you, add incentive. Apses-SUP plans are a great impetus to following through on fall paddling adventures.
Start by inviting others to paddle with you, which is a great motivator in itself. Pack along with a portable espresso maker and kindle/kerosene for “campfire” to make some spiked pumpkin spiced lattes and pumpkin-spiced s’mores (it’s a thing) to enjoy together around a cozy flame. Add some beach chairs, beach blankets, and good vibes and you’re all set for a great time. Trust us, when you have all of that to look forward to, even the gloomiest of autumn days won’t keep you away from SUPing.
If you have any other questions about using your Sea Gods inflatable stand up paddle-board in the autumn feel free to contact us anytime.