Winter Paddling and Downwinding

As I am writing this blog, winter is in full boar in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s rained 7 out of last ten days and more rain is coming. The rivers are flooding and the ground is saturated. Everyone is itching to go skiing or snowboarding but what about the water? I thought I shared some great experiences that we’ve had this winter with our padding tribe.


A lot of people are worried about what to wear in the winter when it’s cold out. You definitely have to make sure you have the right clothing. The simple rule of thumb is wear a wetsuit if the combine temperature of air and water is less than 120 degrees. The average temperature of the bay is between 50 and 60 degrees in the winter and between 60 and 70 degrees in the summer. Add the air temperature and you’ll get the answer. In this picture, you can see our tribe members are wearing a variety of clothing on a cold day in December, from the left:

First of all, there are numerous sunny and warm days in the winter in NorCal. Ever walk outside and it’s 60 degrees? Well it’s even warmer on the water with the sun reflecting from the surface. Check out my friend Terry Park’s big smile on New Years Day, 2019. He’s sporting a 2MM wetsuit with no shirt on. Happiness!


Carey in a SUP Skin drysuit (I’ll explain that later), Michele 3mm wetsuit, Shannon SUP Skin drysuit, Anna 3mm wetsuit, Chris 3mm wetsuit, Patricia 4mm wetsuit, Felipe 3mm wetsuit, Erin fleece and yoga pants, Mike fleece and shorts. Whatever works for you, just make sure if there’s good chance of you falling in - wear a wetsuit.

Question: What the hell is a drysuit? Drysuit is made of waterproof breathable material with rubber gaskets on your neck, wrists and ankles. You are completely dry underneath the whole time! Pretty awesome technology.

Question: Is it tough to paddle in the winter with all that wind and rain? Like you probably noticed, the winter is actually a lot less windy on the bay than the summer. We often have windless and sunny days in the winter that are perfect for paddling. But for those of us who are properly dressed we also love paddling in the wind. The downwinders are great after a rain in the winter time. Check out some epic photos with rainbows!

Of course paddling is no fun without the community, that’s why we have a tribe! We plan paddles every couple of weeks with both skills clinics and excursions. We even have board memberships so that you don’t have to have your own board. Every fall we have sales on wetsuits and booties to prepare you for colder temps.

Let us know if you have any questions about paddling in the winter and we’ll see you on the water!

Mike Wang

Owner of Mike’s paddle