Getting Cold Feet

I got my new Hurricane, here in Vancouver BC, this summer. What a great boat! I've been paddling it week in, week out.

However, now that the temperatures are dipping (-1 degree C today), you guys in the warm waters can't even imagine this, my feet, sitting in their little puddles in the foot wells, are getting mighty cold.

I launch at a dock so I don't wade into the water to get on my boat, nevertheless, there are little puddles in the footwells. How does that water get there, I wonder? Is that the way the boat is designed? If so, why? Or is the boat defective somehow? And, most important of all, how can I keep my feet warm and dry in the winter.

I am wearing neoprene boots now but still the water seeps in. The footwells aren't big enough to allow for rubber boots nor do I welcome the thought of having to paddle in rubber boots.

Submitted by ho'okele on Mon, 11/04/2013 - 6:03am

Your Hurricane has venturi drains that suck the water out when your boat is moving above a certain speed. When the boat is not moving, the drains let water in. This is not a defect. So you will always have the little puddles when you put your boat in the water.

I suggest wearing wool socks under the neoprene. Wool is a great fabric as it will keep you warm even if it gets wet. For my cold weather paddling, I just wear thin or medium thick wool socks under a pair of reef walkers. Works great for me.

You can also tape over the holes for your winter paddling provided you are not planning on going out in wavy conditions. Make sure the footwells are completely dry before you apply the tape.

I think wearing boots is a very bad idea. What if you huli and they fill up with water? Even if they don't fill up with water, your ability to swim will be compromised. I also think that regularly wearing anything with a hard sole will eventually cause damage your boat.

#1 Mon, 11/04/2013 - 7:26am

If a dry suit with installed socks is out of the question then I would suggest Gore-Tex socks. I wear an insulation layer, like polypro or wool, then the Gore-Tex socks with neoprene boots on the outside. Seems to work pretty well.

#2 Mon, 11/04/2013 - 7:54am

As oc_ken mentioned, water in the footwells is normal - when not moving the water level in the footwell reflects the waterline on the outside of the hull. Want to keep the water out? Keep the hull moving. The more you stop the colder your feet will get.

WRT to boots - probably a bad idea. While the jury is still out on whether rubber boots or the like will drown you on their own, I can say we had to rescue a guy in one of the winter races a few years ago because he couldn't pull himself back onto his boat - the weight of the water in his boots made it impossible.

For reference, I use thick neoprene booties covered by reef walkers or thin soled dive boots.

If you really want the dock-to-dock dry experience, a non-draining boat like a V1 or a sit-in Surfrigger would help if you are keeping in the flat water.

#3 Mon, 11/04/2013 - 8:27am

This is what I wear under my neoprene booties. Feet always stay pretty warm and the only water that gets in is from the sweat. (I'm in Bellingham, so I understand the cold foot issue :)

#4 Mon, 11/04/2013 - 8:42am

Hey thanks for the comments and suggestions guys!

#5 Mon, 11/04/2013 - 4:05pm

MrPhil, do you mean neoprene socks instead of booties?

#6 Tue, 11/05/2013 - 8:51am

oc_ken - Yup - standard issue MEC neoprene socks. Was getting a little too excited about footwear options there :-)

I would also throw in for those doing wade-in shore launches like myself that if you combine with neoprene pants or a farmer john which provides a good ankle seal around the neoprene socks your feet will stay much warmer and drier.

Gotta say the NRS socks pointed out by Kileki are now on my shopping radar - look awesome - good suggestion.

#7 Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:35am

As you're obviously paddling in calmer waters, why not just plug the footwell drain with silicon from inside the cockpit. If any water does get, in carry a sponge, dip and wring it out.

#8 Thu, 11/07/2013 - 4:46pm

Thanks Rambo, that's a good idea....I had thought of that myself but wasn't sure if using silicone to plug the drain would cause any negative consequences....sounds like it'd be fine especially for the type of paddling conditions we have here in Vancouver, you are right, its generally calm, no surf for us... :-(

#9 Thu, 11/07/2013 - 7:27pm

I have my Hurricane sealed with silicon, to remove any water I just thrust my feet against the heel wall and it mostly splashes out the top. But then, my water is warrrrrrmmmmm.

#10 Fri, 11/08/2013 - 12:19am

Ah, but you do tease us pacific northwesters, Rambo, where our water is....coooooooooooold....

#11 Fri, 11/08/2013 - 12:21pm

Is the silicone easy to remove? Permanently plugging the drain is a bad idea. I've been out in waves (yes, we do get waves in Vancouver) in a canoe without drains and had to employ the "foot splashing" method to get the water out of the footwells. Let me tell you it sucks! If you want to keep your feet toasty warm, maybe you should do your winter paddling in a Surfrigger.

#12 Fri, 11/08/2013 - 1:13pm

I'm not suggesting filling the entire Venturi system with silicon, just a half inch deep plug on the inside of the footwell holes. It's easy to remove, just scratch it out with a bit of wire. If your worried, use rubber test tube stoppers.

#13 Fri, 11/08/2013 - 6:15pm

Agree with higher boots that may fill up with no water tightness. I now have 7mm Xcel Infiniti Drylock boot, 3mm and 5mm just don't keep the feet as warm. No issues with them filling as they taper snug above the ankle. Have paddled with them fine at just above 0 and wear a merino wool sock under as well. Kokotat long pants with a ankle gasket also helps on walk in launches. Just go with neo shorts underneath to keep the sweat down. If I do pause, I just simply put my feet up higher on the pedals out of any water...

#14 Fri, 12/06/2013 - 7:38am

Went out a couple of days ago. It was about -3 Celsius (27 Fahrenheit for non-metric folks) but my wool socks kept my toes from freezing. Sitting on the water, it was perfectly still and I had a Zen moment staring at the snow capped peaks to the north.

Now don't get me wrong, I love paddling in warm water with big waves, but that's not the only type of paddling I love.

#15 Fri, 12/06/2013 - 8:46am

Seems like a more temporary method of plugging the holes for winter would be with tape on the outside. (Or a decal - thinner than most tapes) A guitar pick under the tape would give structure and keep the tape from bulging or tearing inward.

When I used to foot-splash in my pre-drain boats, I always got it in the face!

#16 Fri, 12/06/2013 - 3:15pm

After taking a couple months off, I have been back on my OC1. But like never before I am getting abrasions on the very top part of my, how do say....butt crack. Any ideas to avoid. I have used vaseline and even a large bandaid covered with duct tape. Bu ti makes my paddles shorter than I would like. Any advice is welcome.


#17 Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:01pm

More Vaseline.

#18 Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:12pm



Change to a different material for your underwear that doesn't chafe as bad. Or one that doesn't have a seam that could be the culprit. Change your shorts too as that could be the problem.

Could also be your seat pocket shape. Look at some other canoe seats and you may see some have cutouts near the top where your "tailbone" would be rubbing against causing the abrasion.

#19 Thu, 12/12/2013 - 6:12pm

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