Winter Paddling – Vancity Style

Photo by Josiah Coates on Unsplash

Does your weekend warrior spirit have you longingly gazing at the ocean, dreaming of warm, sunny days in your kayak? Perhaps, it’s time to challenge yourself and embrace winter paddling! Frankly, some of my favourite paddling is done during our coldest season. Although the ocean may appear moody and unforgiving during the winter months, the cold and grey also seem to create an atmosphere in which my senses are sharpened. Few folk brave the waters at this time of year. Consequently, peacefulness and a sense of tranquillity abound.

Photo: Rob Weiss

The change of seasons also brings a change of scenery and a whole new perspective. Recently, I launched from Crescent Beach to paddle the local waters. From the comfort of my cockpit, gazing across the sea, I found myself captivated by the snow-capped mountains towering in the distance. Gliding effortlessly across the calm ocean, I felt almost weightless. Rhythmically dipping my paddles in the water, I realized there was not a single motorized vessel in sight. It was magical and certainly a unique experience. As the sun began to set, the colours in the sky seemed supercharged, somehow enhanced. Feeling the cold, and knowing the daylight was quickly diminishing I pointed my bow in the direction of home. Perhaps a mug of hot chocolate would be waiting?

Photo: Rob Weiss

Local Launch Sites:

From Deep Cove to Barnet Marine Park, Blackie Spit to Jericho Beach there are ample launch sites in the Greater Vancouver area which are easily accessible.  Be sure to visit the BC Marine Trails website and check out their comprehensive map featuring all of our local launch areas. Additionally, experts at Ecomarine Paddlesport Centre on Granville Island are happy to answer all your paddling questions and assist you with gear selection.

Photo: Rob Weiss

Dress for Success: Essential Gear for Winter Paddling

It may sound obvious, but on those winter days when the ocean is calm, and the sun is on your back, it can be easy to forget how cold the water is and how quickly weather conditions can change. Always prepare to get wet, even though you have absolutely no intention of dumping. Remember to check the weather and water conditions before departing, paddle with a buddy and leave a float plan with a friend or family member. Stay safe out there!

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