So I’m out in crazy waves in Sweden throughout the whole year. Nowdays we rarely have snow, the temperatures are around 5-10 degrees Celsius for half the year. I used to hate Gothenburg because it was dark, rainy, windy and 5-10 degrees UNTIL I found Surfski. Now this west coast weather experience is inverted! Bad is good. Fabulous weather for Surfskiing, I’m happy looking out into this crazy weather when everyone is dreaming of warm, calm sunny days. Anyway, I’m out with my surfski friends having a ball in what appears to be cold weather to some people (now, remember I am from -30 deg Canada so I am 40 degrees warmer over here!). So here we have it – what do you wear to stay warm in 5 degrees in the air and water?
I present to you MY ikea bag contents. It struck me that my bag contents are the product of lots of trial and error on clothing and of course, its just my personal preferences, but I figured I can share my thoughts in case someone is listening and wants to get out there with better clothing on, or even make better clothing so they can be as happy and toasty WARM as me.
I was inspired by the internet firetruck content pictures so here’s my surfski variant of it. You share yours. I am proud of the contents because I love them, they keep me warm.
My philosophy is layers. Layers to choose according with conditions. My fundamental decision is to stay away from dry suits, I’m firm on this. I feel like a tank in neoprene. I don’t worry about holes out there or when opening the neck of the drysuit just a little bit, etc. I KNOW I have enough clothes on. The trick with neoprene in winter is to get it soft enough so it doesn’t restrict rotation. Yeah, I love Camaro 2mm neoprene layers because they are soft but they tend to disintegrate (holes) faster because they are soft, so that the layers don’t restrict even though there’s enough layers. I find that the windproof stuff on the outside really is warm too. That’s it, soft layers of neoprene under and windproof on the top.
- Changing room. Towel thing. I’ve seen better that have wind proofing but I know I can wash this lots.
- Long John (Camaro 2mm). This one is good to prevent cold water going into your ass region between the shirt and pants. I tried a full suit once but everyone has different body sizes it didn’t fit.
- Pants (Camaro 2mm). Almost every single time I wear at least these, even in the Swedish summers 🙂
- Pants (Hiko Lars). They look kinda cool, have fleece on inside and some windproof stuff outside. They go as outer layer.
- Shirt (Camaro 2mm). So non-restrictive and toasty warm
- Socks (Camaro 2mm). My feet have their own story. I have frozen my toes for 11 years, tried everything, but now I got it. Put these under the diving boots (boots have to be big enough).
- Diving Boots (6mm). Diving boots because I need the rubber underneath as I was getting holes from all the rocks etc.
- Jacket (Camaro 2mm). Neoprene on core only, the arms are just windproof. Its great but the zipper sucks, always difficult to do up the zipper.
- Bright wind stopper. Got it in a surf shop in Fish Hook. Fab look. We love the color, easier to find people in waves, you know. Get bright outer layers.
- Vest wind stopper. Got it at Peter Coles Orca shop. I’m amazed at how warm it is, versatile. No restriction at all.
- Shirt for summer paddling.
- Apparently I can’t count so no number 12
- Hiko beanie. Same as the Hiko Lars pants with fleece inside. I know I look beautiful in it 🙂 It is warm but unfortunately totally wrong because its black. I once found a surfskiier that had lost her surfski ONLY because she was wearing a bright headdress. Think of it, if you are in the water the only thing you can see from a distance is what you have on your head. I haven’t found a bright warm hat yet though (like 14 but warm). I want a warm cap over the ears with a visor on it in orange.
- Now that’s a cap. Got it from Boyan in Tarifa. But it isn’t warm enough. I need a bright Hiko cap or something.
- Mocke PFD. Love it. Never stinks, keeps the color, big pockets. Flaps bang me in the face a bit too often though, they tend to pop out, should be adjusted backwards instead.
- Fast Find – my “helicopter button”. I push it and the helicopter finds me was the sales point. I have never tried it and have heard a bit about it that it only works above water and is a bit fickle and I have to keep testing it an all that. I doubt it is to be relied on, actually, I don’t want to rely only on it in any case.
- Paddle leash. Amazing invention 3D printed by Magnus Sivenbrant. Goes between left hand and the paddle, doesn’t get in the way. Rubber-ish cord. Amazingly simple.
- Phone bag. I find having a bit of air inside it makes the touch screen work.
- Webtracker. On my phone I turn on the webtracker app. I pay 400kr a year for it strangely, but it is simple, I just turn it on once I get the whole thing set up. Everyone can see where I am and where I have been. That means the trail I leave helps anyone find me. We use it in our Swedish competitions. Mine works well but at our competitions we spend a lot of time chasing people to get their web trackers working and in the end there are still a few who don’t get it working properly (lots of reasons but mostly because people don’t respect their responsibility to get it working). It really really sucks to be looking for someone who doesn’t have their webtracker on.
- Land-mittens (Palm). I use bare hands in pogies and am always warm on the sea like that. However, on land I use these when carrying etc because the hands are the first to freeze.
- Pogies. Thick Neoprene pogies. Amazing things when you think about it. I’m always warm in them.
- Water bottle. I drink water before I go out. Rarely on the ocean.
- Whistle. I had one but I don’t know where It went. Need to get a whistle.
- Energy food. I ate my gel on Sunday. I love the Gu gels we found in south africa. I hate Vitargo. I always have some gels for whenever. I got some home made energy cookies for mountain biking which are AMAZING. So I envision the best thing would be to have a gooey home-made porridge that tastes like a peanut butter and chocolate cookie, in a tube or bag. Just keep them in the freezer and squirt that in the mouth out there, that would be heaven.
- Foot pogie. I have a dream. A foot pogie. I’m experimenting, will update with news in the future.
- Hanger in my shower. Nice set up if I say so myself.
Hope that was interesting for the internet and surfski lurkers (I know you are there, just get some good clothes and get out and start falling off your surfski!). As I said, this is the product of my trials and tribulations over 10 years, hopefully it inspires better clothing (both worn by surfskiers and made for surfskiers), some good discussions, and more tanks flopping around on waves safely.