For most UK based watersports enthusiasts the time to be on the water is between April and October, and for some it is even less, just capitalising on the hottest time of year i.e. the three or four months of summer. But it doesn’t need to be like this. Some of the best time spent on the water is during the winter months…..
From the middle of March until the end of October there is plenty of daylight to make the most of and the air/water temperature will be high enough to be comfortable in your classic 3/2 summer wetsuit. My advice is to invest in a 5/3 winter suit, booties, hood and gloves. This is all it takes to keep on splashing around over the winter. The fact that the surf is bigger and more consistent than in the summer there is considerably far more fun to be had.
So you’ve got the suit and accessories and you now realise that the temperature is not a factor. What do you do about the issue of daylight?
Make the most of weekends, regardless of the conditions, get in the sea. Even of it is just for a swim. For a lot of people being in touch with the ocean is a great way to escape the stresses of their daily grind. This is so important in the winter when the time spent outside is dramatically reduced.
Evenings, even though they are short. By February the days are starting to stretch out again. If it is a clear day you can easily be on the water until 6. To make the most of this there may be the need to skip out of work early. But it’ll be worth it. And don’t forget, the longest day is in June. Summer has barely begun and already the days are getting shorter so you have to get out there as early in the year as possible. You can’t make hay if the sun isn’t shining.
Dawn raids, I’m not going to lie. This is a tough one. Especially in deep winter when it is bordering on 0 degrees and the last thing you want to do is expose yourself on a windswept beach. It will be well worth it though. Being out on a crisp January morning as the sun graces the horizon can be stunning. This will sound strange but the light is completely different to the lazy summer sun, it is more intense, and it feels a lot more purposeful. You get the feeling it knows it only has 8 hours to give so gives twice as much.
Companions, all of the above is so much easier if you find a couple of mates to share the winter with you. Look into joining a local watersports club or get yourself on social media to pin down one of the 100s of groups dedicated to local spots. You’ll find plenty of people that are in the same boat and you will be out of the office in no time.
Just think, when spring rolls in and the fair weather enthusiast crawl out from under the covers they will be able to see how much you’ve progressed over the winter and next year it may inspire them to do the same.