As well all know, autumn and winter mean colder days, intense weather systems pushing us to the limit of our physical abilities with big waves and big wind, sending it bigger than any other time of year. Nobody knows this better than the UKs very own big air kitesurfer Olly Bridge who’s just set the biggest UK kitesurfing jump record at 24.6m!!!
However, this is also the time of year when unfortunately we have to start thinking a little more carefully about how we can stay warm whilst doing what we love. So, here at the Kitesurf Centre we’ve put together our top 10 tips to keep you riding through the cold days to make sure you get your fix when you need it most!
1 – Get a good wetsuit.
This is by far the most essential piece of equipment to keep warm throughout the colder months. During the summer you may be used to wearing 2 or 3mm wetsuits which are great to keep you at the right temperature when the air is 18°C+, yet will be useless when the water barely reaches 7°C and the air is even colder! 5mm wetsuits are far superior at keeping your core temperature high, whilst still providing plety of flexibility to minimise motion loss!
The 2019 Mystic Legend Chest Zip 5/3mm wetsuit is an example of a top end winter wetsuit with all the newest technology and features for maximum warmth and minimum cold water seepage. Check out the link for the full spec!
2 – Protect your extremities.
Yep, we know, wearing boots and gloves isn’t the best way to feel your board and have full connection to your kite. But unfortunately unless your hands are made of fibreglass they will get very, very cold. As your feet are in contact with the water the most, your feet will also feel the cold the most. Wrap them up in warm thick booties and your sessions won’t be as short lasting as you are in the sack! Thick gloves are great for keeping your hands warm throughout the cold sessions and hoods protect your head from the dreaded ‘ice cream headache’! Here’s a where you can find of all the gloves, boots and hoods we have for sale!
3 – Build your tolerance.
There are many ways to build up cold tolerances, but particularly for kitesurfing, cold tolerance in your hands and feet will help the most. One particular method includes leaving a bucket of water outside your back door and throughout the cold winter every morning dip your hands/ feet in the bucket for as long as you can. If you do this every morning, you should feel the cold far less than before you start practicing this. However, if like the most of us you’d prefer not to have to go through this experience, refer back to tip 2.
4 – Warm Water (Part 1)
Warm water is ideal for kitesurfers, meaning you don’t have to worry about keeping your body temperature up with thick neoprene. However the best thing to do when the warm water disappears from the UK shores, is take it with you! Fill up a few bottles with warm water before you head out and place into insulating bags in your car. This way, when you get back out of the water, you can pour the warm water down your wetsuit before you get changed and also onto your hands and feet to defrost a little before warming back up at home! Other options are pouring water into your wetsuit before you get into it for a lovely warm entry, or even packing your pants and socks in with the bottles to keep them warm whilst you’re out on the water!
5 – Warm Water (Part 2)
Alternatively, if taking the warm water with you isn’t going to cut it… go to the warm water instead! We’re running trips to Egypt and South Africa this winter and we promise that it’ll be warmer there than it will be in the UK in November and January! Check out our page here for more information on our Kitesurf Holidays!
6 – Make your changing experience as pain free as possible!
By far the worst part of winter kitesurfing is getting into and out of your wetsuit in the car park. To make this experience as painless as possible grab yourself a changing poncho from our Mystic poncho range. The current range includes the deluxe changing poncho which also has a water and windproof outer layer to keep you protected underneath!
7 – Altogether Skip the Car Park Change
Another tip to keep yourself warm this winter is to completely eliminate the changing in the car park experience and get changed at home before you get to your car, or get into your car in your suit and get changed once in the shower at home. Although, sitting in a car seat in a wetsuit sounds like a bad idea, so you can cover up your seats with Mystic and Northcore seat covers. Take a look here.
8 – Get a hot drink at Tatner’s!
Luckily enough, down here at Camber Sands we have a delicious food and hot drink hut run by Tatner’s Kitchen serving hot drinks for your post session defrosting/caffeinating requirements! You just have to be extra nice to them for opening when it’s super, super cold!
9 – Eat Right
When going out in the winter, the cold will sap more of your energy so you need to make sure you have correctly fuelled up before your session! Complex carbohydrates such as oats, bananas and nuts are the best things you can eat to prepare yourself for a long winters session.
10 – Know Your Limits
Winters can be rough, so make sure you have the experience required to head out in the conditions we experience around this time of year. A general rule of thumb is to make sure you do your first 25 hours under 25 knots and then be cautious when heading out in windier conditions. Also make sure you have checked your equipment and also check the conditions including wind, tides and sun times to make sure you’re not caught out in the dark!