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Winter Haven, Fl
 
Cold Water Barefooting

"Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more."

I realized that while it is still seriously hot here in paradise, you are probably wondering whether it is
worth dealing with the cold weather to go out for a barefoot run where you ski.

I want to give you some tips that I have known for a long time, but I like to pass on to those I ski with
when it is cold.

First of all, the only way to survive the cold weather reasonably is with a dry suit. This is a suit you
can wear over your barefooting gear which has rubber seals at the neck, wrists, and ankles. There
is a zipper in the back. You can see the one I use at
http://www.thefootersedge.com/drysuits.html

A big mistake people make is trying to use a slalom dry suit for barefooting. They are very different.
A good barefooting dry suit is built to be able to sit on the water and can easily take the punishment
of the water abrasion while keeping you dry inside.

The nice bonus on using a dry suit is that it makes learning your starts and tumble turns easier as
well because of the extra buoyancy from the air inside
.

For those of you who already have a dry suit, I have some tips for keeping you dry like the pros. I was
always curious why Mike Seiple was always dry when we skied together, and I was always soaked
when I was done using my dry suit.

  1. Make sure you adjust your seals properly Some dry suits have really thin seals which do not
    block the water from getting inside. You want a thick seal that will keep the water out
    The biggest mistake I see when people use their dry suits is that they do not "hike-up" the
    seals far enough up their legs or arms. You need to get them adjusted so that your boney
    wrist or ankle bone dose not create a small gap under the seal.

  2. Keep Seals treated properly before and after bare footing with Seal Tech
    http://www.thefootersedge.com/drysuits.html Seal Tech protects your seals with
    keeping them conditioned with the added bonus of making them easier to get on and off.

  3. Pull up the legs and arms or your dry suit only until you get some resistance. DO NOT
    FORCE your legs or arms through in one motion. Use the fleshy part of your fingers to
    enlarge the opening and slide over and up past the boney parts or your leg or wrist. Make
    sure the seal is flat next to your skin without any ripples.

  4. Make sure your zipper is closed completely. This is a great lesson you can either learn the
    easy way or the more hilarious and cold way. Always have your zipper strap pulled directly
    over the zipper. It is common to let someone pull down or up when closing the zipper but this
    can cause damage to the zipper and they are not cheap to replace.

  5. Once your seals are on and placed properly, make sure that the neoprene cuff and synch
    are positioned in front of the seal.
    The second biggest mistake people make is allowing your seals stick out from under the
    protection of your dry suit's neoprene cuff which should act to slow down any water from
    even getting to your seals.

  6. Never jump into the water after you are suited up. Slip in gently to allow your suit to equalize
    pressure. Jumping in could force some water in between the seals ad that can create a slick
    spot for more water to come in during your set.

  7. Once you are in, your first instinct will be to take your wet fingers and grab the neck seal to
    allow all the air out. For the same reason as above, any time you create a wet spot between
    your skin and seal, you create a spot that will allow more water in later.

A better way to allow some of the air out, is to use the fleshy part of your fingers to pinch the neck
seal BELOW the top of the seal and pull away gently to allow air out while keeping water out from
behind the seal.

As far as what to wear under your dry suit to stay warm, I recommend good wicking long under wear
like you would wear for snow skiing. This is thin, warm, and is not bulky.

If you want to try to do without using a dry suit, then I have one more recommendation. I never travel
without a great heater shirt. If you want to see the one that I use, go to
http://www.thefootersedge.com/barefoot_heater_shirt.html

Let me know if this helps you enjoy your cold water barefooting!

 
 
 
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Buon Appetito!
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