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 Post subject: Cold Weather Tips.
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:43 am
Posts: 191
Location: St.Paul
I found this on another page and found it usefull.

– Cold Water Riding

It is spring in the Midwest and everyone is dying to ride. This is a tip that is designed to help you not die. REALLY! Cold water is a very serious safety issue when kiting on the Great Lakes. Even in the summer the Big Lakes can turn over in hours from 70° to 55°. Although the advent of dry suits and great wetsuits has given us the ability to ride in almost any temperature (see photos of Andy), getting stranded in the water for 20-30 minutes can still be life-threatening. Here are some basic rules to keep you safe AND enjoy the spring riding season. Most local riders have a basic rule of thumb for what cold water riding is: When the air and water temps combined are below 110°, it is considered cold. For many people the low-end threshold is a combined total of about 90°. The pictures of Andy are a good example. Water temps 35°-37°, air temps 55°. Total 90°.

1) Ride with a buddy – This is by far the most important rule. If you break down you have someone who can help NOW. Having your cell phone or knowing where a nearby phone is can also be very helpful if you can’t get your friend out of the water.

2) Be an intermediate level rider – Learning to ride in 40-degree water is a bad idea. If you can’t stay upwind, retrieve your board with ease, and water re-launch consistently, it’s time to stay home.

3) Have the right gear – If you plan to ride in the spring on the Great Lakes, these are the basics you should have:

Steamer Wetsuit or Dry Suit - A steamer wetsuit is a suit with seams that are glued and/or blind stitched.These suits allow very little water "flush" when coming in and out of the water. Most are called 5/3 or 4/3 based on the core area thickness (5mm or 4mm) and the arm and leg thickness (3mm). A 3/2 spring suit that allows water to flush (non-glue or blind stitched) is good when the water temperatures are over 60°. A dry suit will keep all water out of your suit, and it is very comfortable to have fleece against your skin.

Booties – Since your feet are constantly wet, booties are a must in water temps under 50°. I like to wear them until the 60-degree mark. We recommend a 4-5mm boot for cold water riding (under 50°) and 2-3mm for warmer water. Some hard-core riders shed boots at around 50° because they love the board contact on their bare feet. Remember – it is usually your extremities that get cold first.

Hood, Beanie or Head Band - The first place to lose heat is the head- up to 55% of your heat loss is through your head. For really cold days, a hood is an excellent choice. For nice warm days with cold water a Beanie or a Head Band will work great. Remember that you WILL crash and dunk your head in the ice-cold water – major ice cream headache with no protection.

Gloves or Mittens - This is the area where people will shed protection first, but also seems to be the area when it is really cold that first drives riders off of the water.
Poly pro undergarments – They add a bit of insulation and help keep the core warm. These are not a must, but really help extend your riding time and comfort level.

4) Check your gear - This is a must for early riding. Does your leading edge leak? Is your chicken loop going to break? Can you get your booties into your board straps and are the screws cranked down? Let’s face it- no one is going to show up in a boat to come rescue you when you get stranded. Be prepared.

5) Life Vest - Often people ride without life vests since they have confidence in their water skills and the fact that many other people are on the water. A little extra floatation will keep your head out of the drink and give you a few more minutes if you are in big trouble.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:19 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 4:38 pm
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Location: 44.9286, -93.60828
Good tips.

I wear a Kayak PFD when kiting alone in early spring & late fall. With a dry suit, my Dakine seat harness & a PFD I feel like the Michelin man, but when out alone it seems like the right thing to do. If you end up in a line tangling clusterf%*K the vest can make a difference.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:37 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2003 12:26 pm
Posts: 138
Location: Fridley, MN
Great post!

Like Tom, I also wear a whitewater kayaking life vest. The vest rides higher on your body than the old canoeing vests- allowing plenty of room for your harness hook. It also doubles as body armor for those high wind / cold water wipeouts. I wear mine all year round- it's saved me more than once from a stressful swim-in. I can't uphaul my rig but the vest makes waterstarting a snap.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:39 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2003 12:26 pm
Posts: 138
Location: Fridley, MN
I posted this in another post, but thought I'd throw it in here too.

The best thing to wear on your hands are neoprene mittens with the palms cut out. I have an old pair by Gaastra. When you're hanging onto the boom, your skin isn't exposed to the cold wind- and you don't have that extra layer of material that causes your boom diameter to increase, which usually is the cause of early/late season forearm fatigue.

Here's a link to the open palm mitts.
http://wetsuit.gaastra.com/index.php/w/boots


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:38 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 6:02 pm
Posts: 901
Location: Forest Lake
Avery, must be a "do what I say not what I do" post. We were well below a threshold of 90 degrees the other day. Air temp was below freezing.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:43 am
Posts: 191
Location: St.Paul
well it was just a TIP :oops:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:29 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2002 4:43 pm
Posts: 1254
The cold weather session on Thursday with Dave and Avery was a good adventure, but it reconfirmed my principle that it is not worth going out when the air temps are below the mid-30's. Sure, it is possible to kite sub-freezing air, and a guy can deal with the bar, lines, and pullies freezing up, but the fun factor drops significantly when the hands go numb after 5 minutes on the water.

Maybe I am just getting old, but I think I will wait for milder weather.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 6:02 pm
Posts: 901
Location: Forest Lake
The other day I had one hand get cold during the first hour. I warmed it up and then had no problem what so ever with cold the second hour of riding. Plus I was stuck in the water for a while dealing with a blown out canopy. If you the right cold water gear it is amazing what you can get away with.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:35 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 8:04 pm
Posts: 503
Location: Chanhassen
One of the best tips I've gotten & don't recall seeing here recently (and certainly the least expensive) is to throw a big 5 gallon gatorade cooler full o hot water in the surfwagon and dunk your hands and feet before and after each sesh.

Wetsuit material works by trapping "warmed up" water next to your skin (I think), so if you start with hot instead of 40deg water you are way ahead of the game.

Last Sunday I even dunked the neo hood before headin for a second sesh cuz it was full of cold water. I just use hot tap water from the kitchen sink but you could add a pan of stove water to really get things cookin. Even the hot tap water was still warm after several dunks of cold gear.

Tip from local jibster Don J... thanks again Don! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 7:18 pm
Posts: 537
Location: St. Paul, MN
funny I had thought of bringing out the hot water for yesterday. I was wondering how it would work. Sounds like it would be a nice strategy for squeezing an hour or two more out of a cold day and just creating smiles in general. I believe yesterday our temperature index was 62. Today, had we gone out, it would have been around 57. Ouch. Try that in superior with an offshore.

It was hard to just throw the wind down the toilet today, what with sunshine and the day off.

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"They call me Doctor Love.. Doctor love!!" - an obscure rock band.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 8:04 pm
Posts: 503
Location: Chanhassen
There's a big stars n stripes I can see outside my window at work, looks like she's really startin to crank!

And yes it looks byootyfull with all the sunshine, just a lil too cold!

As for hot water any old thermos will do the trick, the 5 gallon thing is prolly overkill for just one guy, but if you can convince some other crazies to get out there you gotta nuf to share!


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