On November 8th, I broke the rule of “never try anything new on race day” and have lived to tell about it. In fact, I am thrilled with my deviation from THE golden rule. Having just finished the Chattajack 31 mile race on a paddleboard the weekend before, I decided to prone the Surf to Sound Harbor Island Loop race and was indecisive about what to wear. Weather forecasts were showing air temp drops and some solid cold north winds. Prone paddling is like being “in” the water and bumpy water from high winds would mean I’d truly be a wet mess most of the time. Additionally, my arms would be in the water pulling. I was very concerned about staying warm (without overheating) for what would most likely take me at least an hour.What to wear, what to wear?
Coming to my rescue was Carolina Paddleboard Co., suggesting Season Five products as they are hydrophobic and made to keep you dry. I chose the:
“The Kiowa Hoodie is made of a lightweight knit, which lets that cool breeze come through through when it’s warm while offering long-sleeve comfort as the day cools off. Featuring 50%-recycled polyester knit, water- and odor-repellant fabric, 50+ UPF protections, vibrant color choices, flat seaming, quick-dry fabric, and a zippered bicep pocket.”
I chose the hoodie in red. Non-practical reason for red; it matches my Bark Commander prone board. Practical reason for red; it was bright enough that I hope to be seen by boats. Visibility is a huge concern for me whether standup paddling or proning. I go for bright and visible over fashion any day.
What drew me to this product was that it was longer in length and would keep my torso warm. It had thumb loops. It had a bicep pocket not big enough for a cell phone (wouldn’t carry one anyways), but would hold a key, gel and a whistle for emergencies without being in my way as I used my arms. There wasn’t a zipper or buttons or snaps along the chest that would hurt when I was lying down to prone.
I purchased a women’s large. I’m not a big person, but I’m not small either. I’m kind of average and wanted it to be loose enough to wear one layer underneath. I could definitely have gone smaller, but I’m happy with the large.
Note, the hoodie also comes in men’s and the only change I can see is the pocket is on the chest vs. on the bicep. They offer the same colors, including a bright blue. Visibility, visibility, visibility.
I am thrilled with how this hoodie performed on race day and big kudos to Carolina Paddleboard Company for recommending it. After over an hour on the prone board, this hoodie was not wet and had acted as a wind barrier. It met my expectations and beyond. I went and bought another for running. Pays to patronize and ask your local shop for suggestions. Love that this is recycled polyester. That’s an added bonus. Additionally, this did not break the bank or I wouldn’t have bought two.
One final comment; separately and independently from each other, Lisa Schell (Inland Paddler) and April Zilg (paddler extraordinaire) both bought the same hoodie and wore them during their races. Hmmmmm…. Season Five must be onto something here.
The Vanilla Gorilla (April Zilg) on the Season Five Hoodie
I bought my hoodie because I’m always trying to stay warm. I had already layered up with my Virus top and then an ArcTeryx base layer on top of that… I was still chilly due to wind and moisture. Also, knowing that the start into the surf would leave me damp at best influenced my decision to purchase another layer on the spot. I chose the Season 5 Kiowa hoodie. I didn’t even notice it had thumbholes until Julia pointed them out to me. Alas, my arms are too long and I can’t use the thumbholes anyway… such is the life of a Vanilla Gorilla. Thumbs aside, the hoodie did the trick to repel water and keep me warm enough without the risk of overheating. I was extremely comfortable and raced in the hoodie both days. In fact, now that the racing season is done, I find myself wearing this hoodie as casual wear on cool days or when it’s drizzling out. I love the color and the fit.
I prefer the men’s cut so I chose the Slate hoodie in the, uh, slate color. I am looking to paddle more through the winter so I wanted a versatile shirt that could be used in other seasons or for other activities. The Slate fits that bill perfectly. I loved that it did not ride up under my hydration pack during the Surf to Sound race and, like Julie reports, it was totally dry and comfy afterward. It will make a great layer on it’s own, or as a mid-layer when colder conditions require. One thing, though, the men’s version does not have thumb loops.