Around this time, in most places, fall has begun to settle in. The air has gotten cooler and soon to follow will be the water temperature. Riding in cooler temperatures brings a whole new set of conditions to deal with, but who wants to cut the season short? Below are a few tips to help keep your riding at its best throughout the fall and winter months.
1. Get a wetsuit or drysuit: a good one. Being comfortable on the water is the most important. Wetsuits are designed to maintain your core temperature and keep a small layer of water between the skin and wetsuit warm, so you stay warm. Drysuits are designed to keep you completely dry and some models allow you to wear clothes underneath. A quality wetsuit or drysuit can make or break your winter. Look for a wetsuit that is the proper thickness for your climate, and try to find one that is sealed, GBS (glued and blind stitched.) You want mobility so find one where the neoprene is stretchy. If you go with a drysuit, make sure the seals at the wrists, ankles and neck are tight enough to keep water out, but not so tight that they cut off circulation. Shop around and make sure you are comfortable in what you buy.
2. Do a proper warm up. Don't just jump in and go! Warm up on land a but to help to increase your body temperature and heart rate. Then when its your turn, make sure you spend time warming up some basics before jumping into your hardest mobe. This will help to increase the circulation to your hands and feet, the areas that will lack blood supply when in colder temperatures.
3. Know when its too cold. Nothing good will come out of a set that is in 45 degree water with 40 degree air temp. Know the boundaries and stick to them. You risk injury, hypothermia, and feeling pretty uncomfortable when you battle the weather. Make sure the benefits outweigh the risks.
4. Listen to your body. When you are riding, listen to your body and the signals it gives you. If you cannot feel your hands or feet, its probably time to come in. If you feel any aches or pains, or have trouble catching your breath, its also time to go in and get warm.
5. Bring a change of clothes. As soon as your set is done, change out of your wet clothes immediately. Especially if you have a few more people riding before you head in. This will get you warmer faster by eliminating the feeling of water evaporating.
6. Stay in shape and eat well. Keeping your fitness up and feeding your body with proper nutrition will keep you more conditioned to ride, regardless of the outdoor conditions. This will help you to bare the elements throughout the winter!
7. Ride at a cable park. Typically you spend less time in the water at a cable park (I supposed this is dependent on skill level...) and when you are in the water you are moving, kicking, and swimming to the side. Another thing at the cable is that you tend to ride, collectively, for a longer period of time. Your activity is more sustained, leading to a higher output of energy which keeps you warm! But, that being said, still keep in mind all of the above!
8. Plan a warm weather wakeboarding trip!
For this and other tips for injury prevention and management specifically for the wakeboarder,
check out wakedr.com, a website created by fellow pro wakeboarder, Abby Delgoffe.