It’s been a textbook British summer so far this year: a prolonged spell of very wet weather with the odd day of sunshine, making it impossible to plan and dress appropriately for the weather.
But the heatwave has finally arrived! Nothing beats paddle boarding in scorching temperatures – you’re only ever a quick dunk away from going from hot to cool. But even still, you need to take extra precautions to ensure your safety and well-being in the warm sun.
The intense heat can pose risks such as dehydration, sunburn, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Here are 10 tips to help you stay comfortable and safe while paddleboarding in hot weather:
1. Start hydrating the night before
Proper hydration is critical when paddle boarding in hot weather. Start hydrating the night before your paddleboarding session and continue drinking water in the morning before you hit the water. In fact, this would be good advice before a big night out, too…
Bring a sufficient amount of water in a reusable water bottle or a hydration pack. It's easy to underestimate how much you'll sweat while paddleboarding in your wetsuit, so drink water regularly throughout your session to prevent dehydration.
2. Apply sunscreen in those oft-forgotten places
Sunscreen is your best defence against harmful UV rays. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or higher and apply it generously to all exposed areas of your skin.
Pay particular attention to those often-overlooked spots like your ears, the back of your neck and the tops of your feet. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if you've been in the water, as sweat and water can reduce its effectiveness.
3. Go early or late
The hottest part of the day is usually between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Try to schedule your paddle boarding sessions during cooler times, like early morning or late afternoon. If you must paddle during peak heat hours, take extra precautions and limit your time in the sun.
4. Go in search of shade
Look for paddle boarding spots with natural shade or cover. Paddling in areas with trees or cliffs can provide relief from direct sunlight and reduce the risk of sunburn. If possible, plan routes that take you through shaded areas, or consider paddling near shoreline structures that can offer protection from the sun.
5. Pack a cooling towel
If you’ve never heard of a cooling towel, you’re in for a treat. Housed in their own tub, cooling towels are made from special fabrics that retain water and stay cool for an extended period. Soak the towel in water before your paddle boarding session and store it in your dry bag. When you need to cool down, drape the towel around your neck or forehead to experience instant relief from the heat.
6. Take a lie down
If you start feeling overheated, take breaks by sitting or lying on your paddle board in the water. Submerging yourself in the water can help lower your body temperature and prevent heat-related illnesses.
7. Become a weather watcher
Be like us and always have one eye on the weather. Check the weather forecast before heading out. Avoid paddle boarding in extreme heatwaves, thunderstorms or other severe weather conditions.
Thunderstorms can develop quickly, so keep an eye on the sky and be prepared to head back to shore if you notice any signs of approaching storms.
8. Don’t overdo it
Paddling in the heat can be physically demanding, so pace yourself and avoid overexertion. Take breaks when needed (pub stops are never a bad shout, if you ask us) and listen to your body. If you start feeling fatigued, head back to shore or find a shaded spot to rest.
9. Grab a buddy (or two)
Whenever possible, paddle with a friend or in a group. Not only is paddleboarding more enjoyable with company, but having others around can be crucial in case of emergencies or if someone needs help due to heat-related issues.
10. Create a DIY cooling system
Turn your paddle board into a cooling oasis by attaching a small mister or spray bottle filled with water to the board. Secure the container using bungee cords or straps. As you paddle, periodically spray yourself with water to cool down your body and refresh your skin.
The gentle mist will provide instant relief from the heat, keeping you cool and comfortable throughout your paddle boarding session.
All there’s left to do now is wait for that warm weather to