Testing in the cold time of the year

I currently plan to do first tests of my current build somewhere around December, as I am certainly not patient enough to wait for spring :slightly_smiling_face:
I live in Kiel, northern Germany, riding in the Baltic Sea. I expect water temperatures around 5°C in December, maybe a bit more due to the hot summer. I have a 4/3 full wetsuit (Oneill Superfreak) meant for windsurfing up to somewhere around October. I would get a hood, thicker boots and gloves. But my main question is if it is realistic to do the rather short test rides (~10 minutes I guess) with my existing wetsuit or if I need to get a 5/4 or 6/5.
Who has experience with testing in the cold? What equipment do you use? @Hiorth what are you using in Oslo?


It can get cold with a 4/3 wetsuit but if you have hood, shoes and gloves I think you will be good for 10 min+. You may also use thin wool clothing under your wetsuit it helps a lot.

and bring a bottle of hot water. Or a large bucket it really helps to dip your fingers into something when your fingers get stiff from cold. Sometimes I bring a multifuel burner to be able to boil water at the spot, then you can’t really get cold :blush:

typically use 5/4 suits with hood shoes and gloves, but it can get quite cold if you fall a lot.
We are considering buying a drysuit for winter testing, it’s a bit more convenient.
it also depends on wind and air temperature, if its sun and no wind and not below -5 its no problem.

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Invest in either the Ripcurl H-Bomb vest or the Quiksilver Cypher heated vest.

@Hiorth thanks for the tips, much appreciated! Didn’t know wool can keep you warm in water.
Below zero is really tough stuff :sweat_smile: I’ll visit Oslo again in November with the Color Line, maybe I see you on the water :grin:

@Jezza very interesting, didn’t know those existed. Can imagine that this gives you a pretty comfortable feeling and helps to keep the blood warm. I’ll definitely consider this, could also use it for windsurfing in autumn and spring :+1:

The heated vests were designed to keep your core at 24 degrees (Celsius). I think that should also help your muscles stay a bit looser in the cold which is good too!


You will learn very fast in order not to fall :joy:
I did it in the middle of winter but with a dry-suit

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i use this one, on my first test this year, water was around 10°c…

so 4/3mm is ok to 10°c, 5/4 at max for 5°c after i think i will be heavy and not easy to go down and up on the board …

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I was hot in 10-11°C in 5/3 with some chest and back thermal pads (note that mediteranean dont have super cold winters). My buddy had dry suit and kited netherland and northern germany i think during winter no problem. Expensive but steamy, his words :confused:

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What you really need is a drysuit. Then you can stay out all day! I used one for whitewater kayaking in New England in the winter. Super comfortable. You can often find them used. Just make sure the seals are not degraded and the size is correct.

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I’ll have a look if I can find one cheaper than the heated vest (~200€), then this would be an option. Otherwise the vest is more versatile as here in Germany you don’t complain about some extra warmth almost all year.

No idea of the quality of this one.shown HERE but it’s under $300 and a respected brand. I own a Kokatat and it served me well for many years. I could wear it in anything below about 15 degrees C.

the best parts with winter testing is less overheating of batterys and motor controller, the colder the better :thinking: but try to avoid freezing your batteries.