Is an Ocean Rodeo Drysuit the answer for cold weather paddleboarding?

Ocean Rodeo drysuits make paddleboard “season” a thing of the past by allowing you to get out on the water all year, or at least extend your season on both ends.

When the cold weather (and water) sets in, you have a few options

1)   Put your paddleboard in storage until things warm up in the spring

2)   Get a wetsuit

3)   Get a drysuit

4)   Flee to someplace warm

 

Option 1 rots.  But we get it…the days are shorter.  It’s cold out.  Lakes freeze.  We know there are lots of reasons why you hang your board up for a few months.  But it kind of rots to not be on the water.

Wetsuits and paddleboards certainly work.  People have been wearing wetsuits for decades and there’s no denying that they will keep you warm when it is cold.  One thing about paddleboarding is that sometimes wetsuits keep you too warm.  When you paddle, you spend much more time out of the water than you do in the water and you generate a lot of heat.  It can be difficult to find a good balance of thick enough to keep you warm but not so thick that you are stifling.  You can always take a dunk in the water to cool off. But wetsuits can be a hassle…I have paddled in a wetsuit and have found that I would often prefer not to paddle than to deal with sweaty, wet rubber that you have to peel off in freezing cold air when you are done.  Cold weather paddleboarding is a commitment, and it’s not for the faint of heart.

       

So I prefer to wear a drysuit.  Drysuits, as the name implies, keep you dry when you are on, and in, the water.  They are made of waterproof, breathable materials, and feature latex gaskets on the ankles, wrists and neck to keep the water out.  They are not designed for warmth so you can layer underneath in whatever manner suits you.  Like with wetsuits, if you are too warm, you can jump in the water to cool off.   But unlike the wetsuit, when you get back to the car, you are dry. So you are not trying to peel this suit off while freezing and wet, so it makes for a very comfortable outing.  Drysuits are also loose fitting.  So for people who don’t favor the sausage effect of wetsuits, drysuits provide much more freedom of movement.  With that, drysuits can provide too much freedom and all of that extra fabric and zipper paraphernalia which can ultimately impede your movement.  We prefer Ocean Rodeo drysuits because they have a way to contain much of that unruly, excess fabric. Zippers are the biggest part of the drysuit.   Serious waterproof zippers are VERY expensive, and very bulky.

 

They have three different models Heat, Soul, and Ignite in order of expense and features.  Depending on your budget and what features are most important to you, there’s a good chance one of these will suit your needs.

 

The entry level Ocean Rodeo drysuit is called the Heat.  It is a new addition this year and is derived from the Soul…the bread and butter of the line.  It is a stylish and functional suit that gets you into the market for the 2015 price of $599.  Here are some of the features present on all of the suits

  • Stand-by or full drysuit mode
  • German made T-zip masterseal main dry zip
  • Captive over flap jacket zip
  • Abrasion overlays at the knees, buttocks, and crotch
  • Outer Chest Pocket
  • VENTOR salt water resistant, drysuit-specific, waterproof, breathable material
  • Adjustable and removable suspenders
  • Trim to fit, Poltex UV resistant seals

What sets the Soul and Ignite apart from the Heat includes

  • More durable abrasion overlays at the knees, buttocks, and crotch
  • Removable hoods
  • German made T-zip Masterseal crotch relief zip
  • Warming hand pockets and inside jacket stash pocket
  • Lower leg “boot cuff” overlays
  • Reflective piping

                    

And the top of the line Ignite features additional things like

  • One atmosphere PK external jacket zip with stainless slider
  • Wrist overlays with Velcro cinch to seal gloves
  • Ultra high all-weather collar, with hold down snaps
  • Reflective patches
  • “Wader” waist belt

 

If you want to extend your paddling season, but neoprene is not for you, you should consider a drysuit.  It’s a great alternative, as well as an investment. If you want to do cold weather paddleboarding , you can layer for the conditions and get it done.  In the northeast you will need some good booties, warm base layers, a beanie, and some gloves.  On a paddleboard you usually don’t spend much time in the water, so while you need to dress for the water temperatures, you will have the benefit of staying dry through your paddle, and when you are done, you can slide off your drysuit to your dry base layers and put on your regular clothes without freezing your butt off.

 

 



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