No doubt I was over dressed for the occasion. Despite the weather on this cool spring morning a lap around Lake Wingra on my stand up paddleboard hardly called for waterproof protection. But in defiance of the pending rapture I decided a cold day in hell would be the perfect opportunity to try out the new Gore-Tex Lightweight Paddling Suit from Kokatat.
I’m typically a fair weather SUP driver. Seldom am I dressed in anything but a pair board shorts and maybe a long-sleeve paddling tee. But plans for a multi-day overnight tour of the Apostle Islands later this summer have me thinking about gear options worthy of a rough open-water crossing. So when Kokatat offered up a demo suit to try out I jumped at the chance.
The GTL Paddling Suit is designed with SUP in mind. Built with many of the same durability and performance specs of Kokatat whitewater gear it’s completely waterproof and more important breathable. Paddling at fast clip on an SUP board you’re going to work up a sweat. The Gore-Tex fabric allows you to stay dry on the inside while protecting you from the elements on the outside. The suit also is styled to provide freedom of movement and never compromises the integrity for your stroke pace or cadence.
Fully seam-taped with full rubber gaskets at the wrist, sealed built-in booties and a snug neoprene collar the GTL Paddling Suit is locked tight against the intrusion of water. Even though you’d likely prefer to stay out of the drink you’ll keep dry if you do fall in. Tailored for a comfortable fit the suit has plenty of room to layer warm clothes underneath for when the weather and water start turning cold.
That’s probably the most exciting thing about this Kokatat paddling suit. For those of us you ride board on lakes and rivers that freeze it will definitely elongate the SUP season. Getting in earlier and staying out later the option of full weather protection this suit will allow paddlers to go just about anywhere anytime there’s open water.
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