Cold water and rolling?

Need feedback,today,55 deg air temp,45 deg water,rain,drizzle,ear plugs/nose plug,drytop w/skirt,rolled,1 st time,invigorating,2nd roll,20 sec later,head was somewhat throbbing from cold,hmmmm??? At what point(temp)do most rollers use headwear??,And what kind recommended???,I plan on paddling and rolling till iceover,

For me, the ears are the critical element. Cold water in them makes me dizzy real fast.

I’d say 60 degree water temps and below get me to put foam earplugs in, plus a Kokatat Surfskin billcap. If I’m smart, I take off the glasses - they cause water to scoop right into the billcap.

The Kokatat is tight to keep out water, but that makes it not so comfortable for extended paddling in cold air. A couple of weeks ago, I forgot the billcap and instead used my OR windbloc fleece billcap that wraps under the chin.

When it came time for the obligatory group roll on that paddle, the windbloc felt even warmer than the surfskin (rubber covered fleece).

Four rolls later, no dizziness, but I had a little ice cream headache.

Have fun with it!


Cold water headgear
I use a wet-suit hood similar to what divers wear. Whatever you wear, the ice-cream headache is pretty much a certainty.

I only wear it when I intend to roll, since it’s uncomfortable to wear when paddling. If I go over unexpectedly, I’ll probably be able to recover with a brace before my head gets involved. If not, it’s the old ice-cream headache.

This is not to be taken lightly, the shock is debilitating for some.

NRS Mystery Hood to mid-40’s water
Thicker dive hoods colder than that. And there is a point where I need goggles and an ice cap as well, but that was in the earlier more crazy days. Now I am in a pool by then.


– Last Updated: Nov-28-11 8:56 AM EST –

Those super thin neoprene hoods for paddling don't do a lot for me. I use a divers hood that's much thicker even in 50 degree water. It also protects water from going into my ears too.

I think those light weight hoods for paddling with the visor are good if you're in rough water and there is the possibility of going in. You can paddle with them without over heating. But for repetitive rolls, give me thickness.

I have a few hoods
The NRS Mystery hood, and I’ve used one quite a bit before getting something better, isn’t very good for rolling. It’s got a tight fit, but the cold water still rushes in around the face opening right around my head. It’s much better than nothing, but not much in comparison to what’s available. Another feature I dislike is the tiny holes over the ears. I’m guessing it’s to help you hear, and probably works on a perfectly calm day, which almost never happens. But blow a breeze past them, and you get that inevitable whistle, you can’t hear anything, and it’s quite annoying for me. You can put a stocking cap on over it, but that’s more of an “I hope I don’t actually have to roll” solution.

The second hood I got was from a dive shop. Hyperflex. It’s thick, it’s snug, it’s uncomfortable for me, it seals out the water. If you’re planning to roll, you won’t notice cold on your head in it. So submerged, the discomfort of simply wearing it seems a very small price to pay.

So I wanted something that I could wear for longer surf sessions. I picked up a Hyperflex 3/2, much thinner than the previous one, but seals out the water, and not nearly as uncomfortable as the previous Hyperflex. I did notice it doesn’t form fit around my neck, quite loose there. There is quite a bit of material at the bottom of the hood (more than is convenient I personally feel) to tuck into your top to seal this up, but loose it leaves a little exposed at the back of my neck. Not too bad.

I most recently picked up the Rip Curl Flash Bomb 3 MM hood. Now some of it may have to do with the shape of my head and what not, but this one I really like. It’s definitely the most comfortable for me. I wear it and keep it on for long paddles. It has a double neck that is much closer to form fitting around my neck, and a good amount of material to come to the bottom of my neck, without a bunch of excess to deal with. The inner I put inside my drytop collar between the inside gasket and the outer collar before snugging that up, and the outer layer comes down outside the collar. Part of it might be fit to my head, but I think it seems more anatomically well-thought-out over all, with a little extra material going forward around the chin so it isn’t excessively tight at that point, not a bunch of excess around the neck, and just an even comfortable snugness around my head and face without letting any water in. On both the Hyperflex’s and the Rip Curl, there is a cord that can snug up the opening around the face if necessary to keep things sealed up.

So I would highly recommend that Rip Curl Flash Bomb 3 mm hood for your purposes. I really think it’s probably designed to be more comfortable with nice effective details for just about anyone’s head. But if you have the opportunity to visit surf shops or the like, just try them on to see what’s most comfortable. I was surprised by how much I appreciated the better fit and feel after getting the Rip Curl hood which fits me quite well.

And keep in mind that comfort is relative. The NRS Mystery hood you will notice the least in terms of just wearing it, but it’s not at all effective in comparison. A stocking cap is more comfortable than all, but what good is that submerged and soaked? I can only tell you that when I’m out there playing around, I don’t notice that I’m wearing the Rip Curl, but I would notice it sitting in my car. It’s comfortable enough on me to just wear on a cold day, cold water long paddle without thinking about it. There’s a few good surf brand hoods that you could try on as I did (Excel, Billabong, etc.), and I think you will come out pretty well.

I hope this helps.

our ponds are icing over but the lake
is still open, lost my thermometer but would have to guess that the lake is about 38 degrees. I rolled a week ago and wore a swim cap under my storm hood. That worked great. Kept the water out of my ears and my hair dry, thus keeping me warmer.Covers the forehead as well. I liked the combo quite well. When i was done, i pulled them off and was good to go.

I use a 3mm dive cap even in summer for long rolling sessions, though I don’t need it till the water goes down below about 55. Still can get ICH even with it on then.

This year I wimped out after a couple of ICH sessions and moved all rolling work to an indoors pool starting in November. In the past I’ve gone till Dec. 1 and water temp in low- to mid-40s, but the pain limits the time rolling enough that I don’t think it’s as productive as working in a heated pool. I remember it was a matter of gritting teeth and making myself endure it for, oh, maybe 10 times. In a pool, I can do several times that with variations on my go-to roll.

For me…
…45 degree water temps are pretty much the limit for me. I wear glasses and the ear pieces make nice channels for water to ingress around any kind of hoodie that I am aware of.

BTW, didn’t think that there were any other kayakers around in this neck of the swamp (that would be NE Ohio).

The Magic Helmet
keeps my head warm whenever I roll

Water Temp
Our water doesn’t get much above 50F during most of the year and it’s at 38F to 41F right now.

For rolling sessions, I usually wear a neoprene Tuilik. If I just want to do a couple of rolls, I wear a 3mm divers hood. The hood on my Tuilik works better though.

After awhile you just get used to the cold water.

I got to try that one…
Down to 45F I seem to be comfortable with the NRS Mistery hood, which I wear on even warmer days whe it is very windy. I find it very comfy and warm and it is waterproof from the outside (so great for rain and winds - no evaporative cooling like regular neoprene). It let’s water in through the face/ears, of course, so for colder days I use a full hood. The one I got has 2 drawbacks - does not cover my forehead well (so I get cold there) and the chin piece is too tight - pushes my jaw back so after a few minutes I have to put that under my chin, where it is not warming my chin any more and it chokes me a little…

Definitely try before you buy…

Also, if you use a helmet (for WW or surf) then you can get away with a liner or just the Mystery hood longer, since the helmet helps keep you warmer and let’s less water under the hood than would get under without a helmet… I switch to a full hood when my neck begins to feel cold…

I noticed that too
I definitely noticed the helmet and helmet straps helping with the problem of water flushing through the NRS hood.

I pulled out my hoods here. On the Hyperflexes the neoprene shape comes straight down from the chin through the neck. It makes sense that the shape would lead to a tight chin or a loose neck or a combination of both.

Laying the Rip Curl FlashBomb on top of the Hyperflex, the chin protrudes out farther, and it curves back underneath closer to the neck so that the neck doesn’t open as wide as the chin. About 2 inches of material that lead from the neck to protrude out around the chin is the thinnest, most flexible material in the hood. So evidently, Rip Curl paid attention to folks having a tight chin issue.

Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean what they did will work out perfectly for you. But it’s probably a pretty good sign that it may work ok.

I put on my helmet over the rip curl, so it’s not too terribly bulky.

thanks for feedback
I appreciate all the good info,I purchased a Speedo silicone swim cap,practiced rolling today,just having the swim cap made it quite tolerable,along with ear/nose plugs,air temp 49,water 36,on small inland lake,i think im gonna have to go with a 3mm neoprene hood though for longer rolling sesions,I want to get used to being in “iced water” for self reliance/confidence/knowing safety abilities and limits…BTW,36 degree water is very "refreshing "on the face!!

Good noticing. Cold water affects the
little circular canals that serve the vestibular balance system. Obviously dizziness might interfere with self-rescue attempts in some situations.

The throbbing, ice cream headache is another issue, where the cold causes reflex reactions in the blood vessels.