Buffalo is known for its cold snowy winters. So when we get a chance to paddle the creeks and lakes in January it is a blessing! I geared up with all my essential warm weather paddling attire – my Kokatat Polartech power dry liner, Kokatat Icon Dry Suit, and Aries PFD – and headed to Lake Erie. I knew it would be cold and I’d be paddling through ice chunks. As soon as I hit the water, I was so grateful to own this gear that allows me to paddle in any condition!

I had to enter the water by a local creek because that’s where the water was flowing out. The shores of the lake were piled with snow and ice mounds and it was too slippery to cross with a board. When I first attempted, I slipped and fell and cut my hand open on ice. While entering the creek, I spotted a bald eagle and it instantly made me so grateful to be out on the chilly water instead of bundled up on the couch watching TV.

I paddled through some beautiful icebergs then headed out into the lake. We had very high winds the night before and while coming out of the creek I spotted waves near some sea cliffs. I paddled over and was able to catch 3-4 foot waves and catch some 40 second rides all the way to shore. It was a great gift to surf the lake in January! I’m so lucky in where I live. The day before this I was ice climbing and the next 3 days we will have whitewater. This is the perfect time of year to cross-train with the right gear!