What to Wear Paddle Boarding? Your SUP Clothing Guide

What to Wear Paddle Boarding? Your SUP Clothing Guide

Are you ready to explore the exciting world of stand-up paddle boarding? Whether you're a seasoned paddle board enthusiast or a beginner looking to dip your toes into this fantastic water sport, one crucial aspect you shouldn't overlook is your paddle boarding attire. Just as choosing the right board and paddle is vital, selecting what to wear paddle boarding can greatly enhance your paddle boarding experience. This guide will show you what to wear in different seasons, highlight the essentials, and provide appropriate dress tips.

What is The Most Important Thing to Wear When Paddle Boarding?

When you set out for a paddle boarding journey, one piece of equipment stands out above the rest in terms of significance: Your personal flotation device (PFD) or, in simpler terms, your life jacket. Ensuring your safety on the water is paramount, and a USCG-approved life jacket is a non-negotiable item.

The U.S. Coast Guard recognizes paddle boards as vessels, making having a USCG-approved life jacket with you while paddle boarding mandatory. Children under 12 must always wear a USCG-approved life jacket during paddle boarding activities, except when SUP surfing.

For your comfort, compact, streamlined life jackets that can be worn around the waist like a belt are available. These modern options are comfortable and easy to use, ensuring your safety without compromising your experience.

What to Wear Paddle Boarding in Summer?

It's time to hit the water on your paddle board when summer arrives. Here's what to wear for a comfortable and enjoyable experience:

What to Wear Paddle Boarding in Summer?

For Women

  • Swimsuit: With the warm weather inviting occasional dips in the water, a swimsuit is the go-to choice for women. Whether it's a bikini or a one-piece, choose something that allows freedom of movement.
  • Waterproof Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays with waterproof sunscreen. This essential addition ensures you stay sun-kissed and not sunburned.
  • Rash Guard: A short-sleeve rash guard or water-resistant activewear adds a layer of sun protection and comfort.
  • Footwear: Embrace the feeling of being one with your SUP by going barefoot in the summer.

For Men

  • Board Shorts: Opt for comfortable board shorts that allow you to move freely. They're perfect for quick dips in the water.
  • Rash Guard or Tee Shirt: Wear a rash guard or a lightweight t-shirt for added sun protection.
  • Light Flannel or Sweatshirt: These versatile additions can keep you warm during cooler morning sessions.
  • Sun Hat and Sunglasses: Protect your head and eyes from the sun's rays with a sun hat and sunglasses.

Remember, sunscreen should always complement paddle boarding attire to safeguard your skin, especially in the scorching summer heat.

What to Wear Paddle Boarding in Fall?

Transitioning into the fall season requires a few adjustments in your paddle boarding attire. Here's a guide on how to dress comfortably and safely for an autumn paddle boarding adventure that's suitable for everyone:

  • Layering: Fall weather can be unpredictable, so it's a good idea to wear layers. Start with a base layer and add a long-sleeve shirt for warmth.
  • Waterproof Jacket: A waterproof or water-resistant jacket can keep you dry and comfortable when dealing with unexpected rain or wind.
  • Hat and Sunglasses: Continue to protect yourself from the sun with a hat and sunglasses.
  • Dry Bag: Bring a dry bag to store extra layers or items you might shed as the day warms up.
What to Wear Paddle Boarding in Fall?

What to Wear Paddle Boarding in Winter?

Paddle boarding in winter is a unique and exhilarating experience, but it requires specialized attire to brave the cold. For a comfortable and safe winter paddle boarding excursion, here's a comprehensive guide on what to wear:

  • Wetsuits: Wetsuits are a must when the water temperature drops below 50 degrees. Choose a wetsuit that fits snugly to maintain warmth effectively.
  • Booties and Gloves: In colder conditions, wearing neoprene booties and gloves is essential to prevent your extremities from freezing.
  • Layering: Layering is crucial to adapt to changing temperatures. Start with a base layer and add a thicker wetsuit or jacket as needed.
  • Hat and Sunglasses: Even in winter, protect yourself from the sun's glare with a hat and sunglasses.
  • Dry Bag: A dry bag is indispensable for storing extra layers or wet gear as you paddle. 
What to Wear Paddle Boarding in Winter?

What to Wear Paddle Boarding in Spring?

For a spring paddle boarding adventure, it's important to dress in versatile attire that can accommodate the changing weather conditions:

  • Layering: Similar to fall, spring weather can be unpredictable. Dress in layers to adapt to temperature fluctuations.
  • Waterproof Jacket: Carry a waterproof or water-resistant jacket to protect yourself from unexpected rain or wind.
  • Dry Bag: A dry bag is essential to carry extra layers or items you might shed as the day warms up.

These season-specific guidelines ensure you're prepared for paddle boarding year-round, with safety and comfort as a top priority.

What to Wear Paddle Boarding in Spring?

What Shoes to Wear Stand Up Paddle Boarding?

Stand-up paddle boarding is an enjoyable water activity, and choosing the right shoes can significantly impact your experience and safety. Here's a guide on what shoes to wear for stand-up paddle boarding, considering different seasons and conditions:

What Shoes to Wear Stand Up Paddle Boarding?

1. Winter Paddle boarding

In the winter, SUP shoes are a must. To keep your feet warm and comfortable while doing SUP in winter, wear neoprene shoes or booties. You can choose from thick neoprene booties that cover your ankles or winter-friendly water sports shoes designed for winter use. The latter provides excellent protection against the cold and maintains good grip and flexibility, making them ideal for moderate winter temperatures.

2. Summer Paddle boarding

During the summer season, it is usually recommended to go without shoes when using a SUP board. This is because the board's textured grips are designed to be suitable for bare feet, allowing for greater balance and control. Additionally, going barefoot on your SUP can provide a feeling of freedom and comfort, making it perfect for activities such as SUP yoga or leisurely paddling. This option is also suitable for those who enjoy getting wet and spending time in the water.

3. Other Types of Shoes

Aside from the above, there are other types of shoes to wear for stand-up paddle boarding:

  • Water Sport Shoes: Crocs are a great option for stand-up paddle boarding because they don't get waterlogged and have flexible soles, which provide agility and balance to maintain stability on the board.
  • Slip-On Water Shoes (Aqua Socks): Barerun, also known as aqua socks, are designed to provide a snug and flexible fit. However, it's important to try them on carefully to ensure a proper fit. Wearing a pair that doesn't fit well can lead to balance issues while paddle boarding.
  • Glove-Like Water Sports Shoes: Water sports shoes like Vibram FiveFingers offer ultimate flexibility by wrapping around each toe for extra movement and a secure grip on the board, although they tend to be more expensive.
  • Water Sandals: Water sandals offer a comfortable fit for stand-up paddle boarding in calm waters. Choose sandals with a solid grip and good flexibility for a secure experience.
  • Deck Shoes: For partially wet conditions, functional deck shoes are a good choice. They are well-ventilated, lightweight, and provide a strong grip on the board.

Not Recommended: Don't wear regular outdoor shoes like tennis shoes, boots, slippers, or heels while stand-up paddle boarding. Wet shoes can make it hard to balance and get back on the board if you fall, and they can trap-rocks and debris, damaging your board.

Must-Have Essentials for SUP

When preparing for a stand-up paddle boarding adventure, it's crucial to have the right essentials with you. Besides the PDF we’ve already mentioned above, this paddle board checklist can help ensure your safety, comfort, and convenience throughout your paddle boarding journey.

  • Whistle: A whistle is a simple yet effective safety accessory. In emergencies, it can be your lifeline, helping you alert others to your presence on the water.
  • Leash: A leash connects you to your board, preventing it from drifting away if you fall into the water. It's an essential safety feature that ensures you stay close to your board.
  • Waterproof Bag: Protect your belongings, such as your phone, keys, and wallet, by stashing them in a waterproof bag. This way, you can enjoy your paddle boarding experience without worrying about water damage.
  • First-Aid Kit: Accidents can happen even in the safest conditions. A compact first-aid kit is a smart addition to your paddle boarding gear, allowing you to tend to minor injuries quickly.
  • Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is vital, especially during physical activities like paddle boarding. Carry a water bottle to keep yourself refreshed and energized throughout your journey.
Must-Have Essentials for SUP

Common SUP Clothes Styles for Women and Men

Paddle boarding is a fun and exciting activity that anyone can enjoy. You must dress appropriately to make the most of your paddle boarding experience. Here are some common SUP clothes styles and the perfect choices for women and men that can enhance your paddle-boarding adventure.

For Women:

  • Choose clothes that are comfortable, breathable, and quick-drying. Avoid cotton, denim, or wool, as they can get heavy and chafe when wet.
  • Depending on the weather and water temperature, you may opt for a swimsuit, rash guard, wetsuit, or dry suit. Layering is a good idea, as you can adjust your clothing according to the conditions.
  • Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun. A leash and a life jacket are also essential for safety.
  • Accessorize with water shoes, gloves, and a hydration pack to enhance your paddle boarding experience.

For Men:

  • Wear clothes that are lightweight, flexible, and moisture-wicking. Avoid fabrics that can absorb water and cause discomfort, such as cotton, jeans, or fleece.
  • Choose your clothing based on the season and the water temperature. You may wear board shorts, a T-shirt, a rash guard, a wetsuit, or a dry suit. Layers are recommended, as you can add or remove them as needed.
  • Protect yourself from the sun with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. A leash and a life jacket are also mandatory for safety.
  • Accessorize with water shoes, gloves, and a hydration pack to make your paddle boarding adventure more enjoyable.

What to Wear for Different SUP Activities?

Proper attire is crucial for comfort, safety, and performance in different SUP activities. Here's a more detailed breakdown of what to wear for specific occasions:

What to Wear for Different SUP Activities?

What to Wear for SUP Yoga?

  • Yoga Attire: Choose comfortable, moisture-wicking yoga attire that allows for ease of movement. Opt for fabrics that dry quickly.
  • Non-Slip Yoga Mat: Invest in a non-slip yoga mat designed specifically for use on paddle boards. These mats help you maintain balance and stability during yoga poses on the water.

What to Wear for Whitewater & River SUP?

  • Wetsuit: In challenging river and whitewater conditions, wearing a durable wetsuit is crucial. A wetsuit keeps you warm and provides extra protection against potential impacts and abrasions.
  • Helmet: Safety should be your top priority in Whitewater and River SUP. Wear a helmet to safeguard your head from collisions with rocks or other obstacles.

What to Wear for SUP Fishing?

  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Dress according to the weather conditions on the day of your fishing trip. Ensure sun protection with UV-resistant clothing on sunny days and layer up for warmth on cooler days.
  • Fishing-Specific Attire: For extended hours on the water, consider wearing specialized fishing attire that offers functionality and comfort. Look for features like built-in sun protection and ample pockets for tackle.

Paddle Boarding Time!

Taking the time to consider what to wear paddle boarding is essential for comfort, safety, and enjoyment during your on-the-water adventure. You'll be ready to conquer the water in any season or style with the right attire. So, gear up, stay safe, and make the most of your stand-up paddle boarding adventures. The waves are calling, and your well-prepared wardrobe is ready for the journey ahead. Happy paddling!

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