All this is really up to the individual. This weekend after listening to others I dressed far to warmly. Had to go to shore and Remove the dry pants and splash top and swim for a while. From now on I'll swim first an do a self rescue before going out in a new place or in a temperature that I haven't swum in a while.
Other things that affect my cold water response:
Eating - If I eat a giant breakfast with lots of eggs and fruits and veggies, I am warmer all morning. If I eat a granola bar or something I'm not as warm.
Amount of sleep - I'm cold when I'm tired or sleepy. I've notice that I feel a little colder every night at bedtime, It is like a signal to get under the covers.
Tension or stress - I feel much warmer after the first couple swims or soakings. I think it is the relief in knowing that I am dressed OK for the conditions.
As a sit on top paddler it is usually easy for me to dress for the water and splash to cool off. But with a helmet on and while trying not to slow down a group, it is harder to cool off on the move.
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