Editor’s Note: Many of us are starting to dig out of the cold and are enjoying spring. In Hood River, it’s been a long, hard winter and it’s still on the chilly side. Our Pacific Northwest Correspondent Jhacoli Yang from The Village of Stoke reflects on the worst, and best, parts of the winter paddling season.
Top 10 greatest fails of paddling in winter
By Jhacholi Yang, PNW Correspondent
1. The day ends at 4:30.
2. Bootie struggles – everything about them, getting them on (especially after you have all of your layers on, taking them off – because you have to remove them before you can remove the rest of your layers, losing board feel, dealing with them after the paddle.
3. Gloves – and the consequences of not wearing them. You can’t feel anything with them on – now your paddle feels like an oar, you can’t do proper hand transfers, try taking a few pics with gloves on, can you even get to your camera without taking them off???? No, I would rather have my fingers fall off than wear gloves. Sometimes you feel like your hands are colder when wearing them, wait…they are!
4. Drysuits – they are better than wetsuits – but you still feel like a crinkly loud astronaut. Drysuit origin story… my dad tried to get me to put on a drysuit without cutting the neck gasket, it was the worst experience in strangulation I have ever felt.
5. Water temperature… it’s always colder than it seems…. even when it’s sunny.
6. Gear schlepping in the cold….brittality – everything being extra crunchy and fragile that it chips easily.
7. Packing wet gear post paddle… fumbling with straps, air temp always feels colder than it is cuz you’re tired.
8. Suddenly having no friends – Having way fewer friends all of a sudden… where did everyone go? Buddy system gone, everyone is always so suddenly busy doing something else.
9. All the layer management and taking them on and off… where do you put them during the paddle – Feeling like a puffy marshmallow on the board.
10. Having your family disown you coz your gear stinks.
Can’t wait to ditch it all for flip flops and board shorts !
We’re not going to be negative about winter paddling
So here is an attempt at top 10 highlights of winter paddles.
1. You have it all to yourself ~ No traffic, no parking battles, no more over over crowdedness.
2. Peaceful. Good time to unwind, reflect, and catch up with yourself.
3. Lighting… silvery fall mesmerizing reflections, catching amazing sunsets, lighting where you cannot distinguish up from down. It is dizzying but also enchanting.
4. Typically glassy – like mirror glass
5. You see so much more wildlife because it’s no longer crowded.
6. The novelty of pouring hot water into your booties (only awesome for a few seconds.)
7. Less garbage on the shores and in the water.
8. Good time to work on skills. Not much boat wake from motorized boats and jetskis. You can get more in tune with your gear.
9. You make great friendships from those you meet on the water, because they’re out there for the same reasons that you are.
10. Dreaming about warm weather paddling. For those of us that paddle thru the winter, the moment it hits 60, you’re out in shorts.