Winter is officially underway, and while many of us are itching to get back on the water, we’ve got a little bit longer to wait out the blustery cold season. Take this time to regroup, recharge, and get stoked for the upcoming paddle season. Say goodbye to those wintertime blues and hello to these six ways to stay connected to your one true love of paddling during the offseason.
- Create a “Paddler’s Workout Regimen”
The wonderful thing about off-season time is that it gives you the ability to take a look at how you can improve, give some love and rest to your body, and ways to make the upcoming season even better. Your body is your number one tool, when it comes to all things. Listen to your body carefully. While your boat or board may be taking a rest, that doesn’t mean you should stop moving your body. Treat your body as the most important piece of gear you own, and it will thank you. Create a work out regimen that will keep you in tip-top paddler shape, ready to hit the raging waters or smooth sailing when it’s time. Upper body and core workouts are of the utmost importance for paddlers of all skill levels, necessary for maintaining optimal posture and control while paddling. And the stronger you are, the more efficient you become at overcoming water resistance, delivering a powerful force with every stroke. Core work and upper body strength training, here we come.
- Plan a Paddling Excursion
There’s nothing better than having a good paddle trip to look forward to. Take this time to seek out those spots you’ve always wanted to paddle, and plan your next adventure. Maybe you’d like to go on an overnight mission with friends for your birthday. Or perhaps an RV trip is in order, with paddle boards in tow. Whatever it is that’s calling you, get it on the books now, so you can start dreaming up the adventures that will soon begin.
- Listen to a Paddling Podcast
Get caught up on your favorite hobby with a listen to a podcast focused on paddling. EDDY Out, with Natali Zollinger, keeps up with current conversations with the paddling community, connections, and love for the river. Paddling Adventures Radio is another excellent resource, with new episodes weekly focusing on news, events, stories, and reviews from the world of paddle sports. Hammer Factor tops the list for your one-stop-shop for all things whitewater. The conversational episodes give an inside look on gear, expeditions, athletes, and all the things you need to know about the sport you love so much.
- Read a Paddling Book
Get your mind right with a little light reading. More specifically, catch up on the latest paddler memoirs or stories, such as Amazon Woman by Darcy Gaechter. Get inspired with a look at Fifty Places To Paddle Before You Die, by Chris Santella, where you’ll explore the best destinations for the diverse sport of paddling. A few other must-reads include:
- Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet’s Tsangpo River by Peter Heller
- Diaries of The Unbalanced Paddleboarder: Crash and RISE by Mike Shoreman
- The Complete Sea Kayakers Handbook by Shelley Johnson
- Do a Gear Check
The off-season is an excellent time to pull out all of your gear and assess what needs to be repaired, replaced, or what you might be missing to make the most of your paddling adventures. Give your boat or board a good clean. Make sure your personal flotation device is intact and still fits the type of adventures you plan to go on. And as always, make sure your first aid kit is stocked and ready to be used at a moment’s notice. Get the low down on our latest gear checklist, specifically for an overnight paddle, here.
- Meet Fellow Paddlers
Yes, a solo paddle can be fun and a great way to take some time to connect with nature on your terms. But let’s face it, paddling with friends is best! Build your paddler friend base this winter with just a little effort. Open up the discussion of starting a paddler’s club with a few paddler friends. Invite them to tell all of their close paddler friends, and so forth. There are plenty of online groups and forums you can be a part of as well. Facebook groups are an excellent place to start if you’re looking for local connections. Take a course through a local paddle shop, where you can meet like-minded individuals. Find your paddling tribe, and love it hard.
Don’t be in the dumps this winter. It's time to reframe your mindset and treat the off-season as your time to rest, recover, learn, and gear up for the awesome adventures ahead. You never know, you might end up appreciating this time more than you’d think.