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humanbygap-snow-gd2Don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but it’s been pretty chilly these last few weeks here in Blighty. Naturally, as a nation we’ve over-reacted – the ‘big freeze’ that has brought Britain to a standstill would probably be considered warm by Siberian standards, but even so, for us poor Brits it’s been as cold as we’d ever want it.

For the surfer this is a big-spend time. The waters are unforgiving, the winds are relentless and with ambient temperatures making the roadside strip even less glamorous than we’re used to, we start to look at ways of surviving. Fortunately there are companies are out there ready and willing to provide the answers – for a price.

Ripcurl offer the thermo heat pad suit, which sounds like they’ve sewn an electric blanket inside. Tiki offer something similar, as do other brands, but they’re way out of my financial reach so I’ve spent the last couple of days considering cheaper, homespun solutions…

The hottie bottie: a simple idea, involving the insertion of a hot-water bottle between you and the wetsuit. Works well enough for about 10 minutes, but eventually feels like you’re carrying a sloppy corpse on your chest.

Placky bag sealed heat pads: similar to the above involving bag-wrapped microwaved beanbags which, when correctly placed, have the added benefit of making you look like a well-endowed girl. Can you safely run a microwave from a car’s cigarette lighter? More research required…


Tandem wetsuiting: sharing body heat is a simple solution to surviving winter weather. Find a friend – ideally a very slim one with few inhibitions and a penchant for rubber-based thrills – and join them in a single suit. This is a great idea but, be warned, it helps to dress back-to-back if either of both of you want to breathe.

Seal suiting: if anyone knows how to stay warm in a cold sea it’s a seal, so grab one and stuff it down your neck – if anyone manages this please let me know!

Alcohol: ah, the simplest ideas are the best. Ignore all the messages about alcohol being bad for you, just neck a bottle of fiery ginger wine and off you go. You’ll be just as cold but I doubt you’ll care.

Okay, so some of these solutions might need further testing before they rival Tiki et al but we’ve got to be brave. For the moment I’ll just have to rely on the old and trusted methods: plenty of Ralgex and a decent piss once I hit the water.

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  • alexis

    La Rochelle. I kinda have the same heat problems. Just back from a morning session on Ile de Ré, and I’ve been laughing so much reading the above… that I’m warmed up!
    PS: I had a short-john under my 4/3mm, works allright, but can’t turn hard or paddle fast…