Open Water in Winter? What to Wear!

by | Feb 12, 2024 | Blog

For sports enthusiasts, the winter season presents a unique challenge, especially in the breathtaking but chilly waters of Lake Windermere in the Lake District.

The thrill of wakesurfing and other water sports remains popular even as temperatures drop. Of course, the key to enjoyment and safety lies in the right attire. Here’s a look at what equipment you need to stay safe and have a lot of fun.

Understanding the Need for Specialised Winter Water Sportswear

Engaging in water sports like wakesurfing during winter in the Lake District is not for the faint-hearted. The water temperatures are going to be low, and proper attire is crucial to prevent hypothermia and ensure comfort.

The body loses heat rapidly in cold water, making it essential to wear gear that retains body warmth while allowing you to move freely.

Wetsuits for Winter Water Sports

The cornerstone of winter water sports attire is the wetsuit. For winter activities, a full-length wetsuit, preferably 5mm to 6mm thick, is recommended.

These are designed to trap a thin layer of water between the suit and the skin. The body warms this water, which acts as an additional insulator against the cold.

Our top tip: Look for wetsuits with sealed seams to prevent water ingress, which is essential in maintaining body temperature.

Dry Suits for Maximum Protection

For those particularly sensitive to the cold or when the water is particularly cold, a dry suit is the ideal choice.

Unlike wetsuits, these are designed to keep you completely dry, stopping any water entry at all. They are usually made of waterproof materials with tight seals around the neck, wrists, and ankles. Dry suits allow for the layering of clothes underneath, providing additional warmth.

Thermal Layers for Extra Insulation

Beneath the wetsuit or dry suit, wearing thermal layers can provide extra comfort. These layers should be made of materials that retain heat even when wet, such as fleece or specialised thermal fabrics. Avoid cotton as it loses its insulating properties when wet and can become very heavy.

Boots, Gloves, and Hoods

Extremities are the first to feel the chill, so appropriate accessories are vital to combat this. Neoprene boots or water shoes protect your feet, while similar gloves keep your hands warm and flexible. A neoprene hood is essential to reduce heat loss from your head, a critical area for body heat retention in very cold conditions.

High-Visibility Clothing

Visibility is a safety consideration in winter water sports. Overcast skies and shorter days mean lower visibility on the water. Wearing high-visibility gear or adding reflective strips to your attire helps in being seen by others, crucial in case of an emergency.

Life Jackets and Impact Vests

Safety should never be compromised, regardless of the season. A well-fitted life jacket or impact vest provides buoyancy and protection. In winter, these also add an extra layer of insulation.

The right attire for winter water sports in the Lake District can make the difference between a thrilling experience and a potentially risky endeavour. Investing in high-quality, appropriate clothing and gear ensures that enthusiasts can safely enjoy the exhilarating world of wake surfing and other water sports, even in the colder months.

With the spectacular winter views and amazing locations, however, the investment is well worth it if you want to experience something different.