Cold Water Barefooting
Cold Water Barefooting
by Lane “Dawg” Bowers
“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 fora 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 weatherreasonably 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/equipment/drysuits.htm
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 soakedwhen I was done using my dry suit.
Here are my tips;
#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 theirdry suits is that they do not “hike-up” the sealsfar enough up their legs or arms. You need to get them adjusted so that your boney wrist or ankle bonedose not create a small gap under the seal.
#2 Keep Seals treated properly before and after barefooting with Seal Tech
http://www.thefootersedge.com/equipment/drysuits.htm 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 themore 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 yourdry suit’s neoprene cuff which should act to slow downany 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 sealsad 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/equipment/barefoot_heater_shirt.htm
Let me know if this helps you enjoy your cold water barefooting!