What Should I Wear When Paddleboarding
What Should I Wear When Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding, a popular water sport that combines relaxation and exercise, requires the proper attire to ensure comfort and safety on the water.

Whether you’re a seasoned paddleboard enthusiast or a beginner looking to try it out, choosing the appropriate clothing can significantly enhance your overall experience.

From considering the weather conditions to prioritizing mobility and protection, we’ll guide you through the essential factors to remember when deciding what to wear on your paddleboarding adventure.

Get ready to hit the water in style and confidence!

1. Paddleboarding Attire

Paddleboarding is a fun and adventurous activity that people of all ages and skill levels can enjoy. However, it’s essential to dress appropriately for this water sport to ensure comfort, mobility, and protection from the elements. In this article, we’ll explore the different aspects of paddleboarding attire and provide tips on choosing the proper clothing and accessories to enhance your experience on the water.

1.1 Ensuring Comfort and Mobility

When paddleboarding, it’s crucial to wear clothing that allows unrestricted movement and keeps you comfortable. Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics that wick away moisture, such as quick-drying polyester or nylon. Avoid heavy materials that can become waterlogged and weigh you down.

Consider wearing clothes with a relaxed fit, as they allow for a better range of motion. Tight or restrictive clothing may restrict your movements and make maintaining balance on the board harder. Look for paddleboarding-specific clothing designed with stretchy materials to facilitate flexibility while on the water.

1.2 Protection against Sunburn

Spending hours on the water means prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. Protecting your skin from sunburn is essential to avoid painful burns and long-term skin damage. Wear clothing that provides good coverage, such as long-sleeved shirts, leggings, or rash guards, to shield yourself from the sun.

Choose clothing with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating for added sun protection. A higher UPF rating indicates better protection against the sun’s UV rays. Additionally, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to exposed areas of skin, including your face, neck, and hands.

1.3 Consideration for Water Temperature

The water temperature plays a significant role in determining your attire when paddleboarding. You may be comfortable in swimwear or lightweight clothing that provides good ventilation in warmer waters. However, in colder waters, wearing layers to keep yourself warm is essential.

Consider the water temperature and the duration of your paddle when choosing attire. If the water is chilly, wearing a wetsuit or a dry suit can help regulate your body temperature and prevent hypothermia. Layering with rash vests or neoprene jackets can also provide added insulation.

2. Tops and Bottoms

The tops and bottoms you choose to wear when paddleboarding should strike a balance between functionality and style. Here are some options to consider:

2.1 Rash Guards

Rash guards, also known as rash vests or swim shirts, are popular for paddleboarding. They are typically made from quick-drying and moisture-wicking fabric that offers sun protection and helps prevent chafing. Rash guards come in various sleeve lengths, from short-sleeved to long-sleeved, allowing you to choose the level of coverage you prefer.

2.2 Swimwear

If you prefer a more casual and minimalistic approach, swimwear can be suitable for paddleboarding. Opt for swimsuits that are comfortable and provide good coverage. Bikinis with secure straps or one-piece swimsuits offer better functionality and reduce the risk of wardrobe malfunctions while paddling.

2.3 Moisture-Wicking Shirts

Moisture-wicking shirts, such as those designed for outdoor activities like hiking or running, can be an excellent choice for paddleboarding. These shirts are typically made from synthetic materials that draw moisture away from your body, keeping you dry and comfortable throughout your paddle.

2.4 Board Shorts

Board shorts are a versatile option for both men and women when paddleboarding. They are designed to dry quickly and offer freedom of movement. Look for board shorts with a secure waistband or a drawstring to ensure a snug fit.

2.5 Leggings

Leggings are a practical choice for paddleboarding, especially in more excellent conditions or when extra sun protection is needed. Opt for leggings made from lightweight and stretchy material that allows for ease of movement. Look for leggings with UPF protection to shield your legs from harmful UV rays.

3. Footwear

Choosing the proper footwear is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable paddleboarding experience. Here are some options to consider:

3.1 Water Shoes

Water shoes are popular among paddleboarders as they provide protection and grip while in and around the water. They are designed to be lightweight, quick-drying, and offer excellent traction on slippery surfaces. Water shoes also protect your feet from sharp rocks, shells, or debris that may be present in the water.

3.2 Flip Flops

Flip flops can be a convenient option for getting in and out of the water, but they may not be the best choice for long paddles or activities requiring a secure grip on the board. They can easily slip off in the water, making it challenging to maintain balance. If you choose to wear flip-flops, ensure they have a snug fit and a non-slip sole.

3.3 Sandals

Sandals with secure straps can provide better stability compared to flip-flops. Look for sandals specifically designed for water activities, as they are made with quick-drying materials and provide good traction.

3.4 Barefoot Paddleboarding

For some paddleboarders, going barefoot is the preferred option. Paddleboarding without footwear allows direct contact with the board, enhancing balance and control. However, it’s essential to be cautious of sharp objects or rough surfaces in the water that could cause injuries to your feet.

4. Headgear and Eyewear

Protecting your head and eyes from the sun is essential while paddleboarding. Here are some options for headgear and eyewear:

4.1 Hats

Wearing a hat adds a stylish touch and provides shade and protection from the sun. Opt for hats with wide brims that shield your face, neck, and ears from direct sunlight. Hats made from quick-drying materials can be beneficial if they get wet during your paddle.

4.2 Sunglasses

Invest in a pair of sunglasses with polarized lenses that provide UV protection. Polarized lenses reduce glare on the water, improving visibility and reducing eye strain. Choose sunglasses with a secure fit, and consider using a retainer strap to prevent them from falling into the water.

4.3 Headbands

Headbands can come in handy to keep your hair out of your face and absorb sweat. Look for headbands made from moisture-wicking materials that can help keep you comfortable throughout your paddle.

5. PFD (Personal Flotation Device)

A Personal Flotation Device (PFD), a life jacket, is an essential safety item that should be worn while paddleboarding. Here’s what you need to know about choosing the fitting PFD:

5.1 Choosing the Right PFD

When choosing a PFD for paddleboarding, opt for one specifically designed for water sports. Look for a PFD with a buoyancy rating that is suitable for your weight and allows unrestricted movement of your arms and upper body.

5.2 Types of PFDs

There are different types of PFDs, including inherently buoyant, inflatable, and hybrid designs. Inherently buoyant PFDs are made from foam and provide constant buoyancy without inflation. Inflatable PFDs are compact and low-profile but require manual or automatic inflation when needed. Hybrid PFDs combine foam and inflatable technology for optimal safety and comfort.

5.3 Proper Fit and Comfort

Ensure that your PFD fits snugly and is adjustable to ensure a secure and comfortable fit. It should not ride up or shift while in the water. Test the PFD in shallow water to ensure it stays in place and does not hinder your movements.

6. Accessories

Several accessories can enhance your paddleboarding experience and protect your belongings. Here are some options to consider:

6.1 Waterproof Waist Packs

Waterproof waist packs, fanny packs, or hip packs are convenient for carrying small essentials such as keys, sunscreen, and snacks while paddleboarding. These packs are designed to keep your belongings dry and secure.

6.2 Dry Bags

If you need to bring more oversized items like a change of clothes, towels, or electronics, consider using a dry bag. These bags are waterproof and floatable, ensuring your belongings stay dry and secure even if they accidentally fall into the water.

6.3 Waterproof Phone Cases

Consider using a waterproof phone case to protect your phone from water damage. These cases allow you to use your phone, take photos, and even make calls while keeping it dry and protected.

6.4 Sunscreen and Lip Balm

Do not overlook the importance of sunscreen and lip balm when paddleboarding. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to all exposed areas of skin, paying attention to your face, neck, and hands. Opt for water-resistant sunscreen to ensure it stays effective even in the water. Use a lip balm with SPF to protect your lips from sunburn and dryness.

7. Layering Options

Layering can be essential for paddleboarding, especially in fluctuating weather conditions or when venturing into colder waters. Here are some layering options to consider:

7.1 Wetsuits

Wetsuits are a popular option for paddleboarding in colder water temperatures. They are made from neoprene, which provides insulation by trapping a thin layer of water against your skin, which is then heated by your body temperature. Wetsuits come in various thicknesses, allowing you to choose the appropriate one depending on the water temperature and personal preference.

7.2 Drysuits

A drysuit is another option for paddleboarding in icy conditions or when prolonged submersion in water is expected. Unlike wetsuits, drysuits are designed to keep you completely dry by sealing out water. They are typically made from waterproof and breathable materials and require layering underneath for insulation.

7.3 Rash Vests

Rash vests, mentioned earlier as tops, can also serve as a layering option. They provide an extra layer of insulation and protection against the sun while allowing easy movement.

7.4 Neoprene Jackets

Neoprene jackets are excellent for paddling in cooler temperatures when you need additional warmth and protection. These jackets are made from neoprene material and provide insulation while allowing for ease of movement. Look for jackets with adjustable hoods and cuffs to block out wind and water.

8. Consideration for Weather Conditions

When planning your paddleboarding outing, it’s essential to consider the current weather conditions to dress appropriately. Here are some considerations for different weather scenarios:

8.1 Warm and Sunny Weather

In warm and sunny weather, wear lightweight clothing that provides sun protection. Choose breathable fabrics, such as rash guards and moisture-wicking shirts, to ensure comfort. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun’s rays.

8.2 Cold and Windy Weather

Dressing in layers is crucial in cold and windy weather. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, wear an insulating layer such as a wetsuit or neoprene jacket, and top it off with a windproof and waterproof outer layer. Wear a hat or beanie to retain body heat and use gloves to protect your hands from the cold.

8.3 Rainy Weather

In rainy weather, prioritize waterproof clothing and accessories to keep yourself dry. Wear a waterproof jacket or a drysuit, and use a hat with a brim or a rain hat to keep rainwater out of your face. Don’t forget to protect your belongings using waterproof or dry bags.

8.4 Variable Weather

If the weather is unpredictable or unsure how it may change throughout your paddle, it’s best to dress in layers. This way, you can adjust your clothing to maintain comfort and protection. Bring a waterproof jacket or an extra layer in case of rain or sudden temperature drops.

9. Dress Code Etiquette

While paddleboarding, it’s essential to respect local culture and adhere to any dress code guidelines that may be in place. Consider the following dress code etiquette:

9.1 Respect Local Culture

When paddleboarding in areas with specific cultural norms or traditions, dress in a manner that aligns with local customs. Research cultural expectations regarding attire and ensure your clothing choices are respectful and appropriate.

9.2 Dress for the Occasion

Consider the specific Occasion or event when choosing your paddleboarding attire. If participating in a casual paddleboarding session, you can opt for more relaxed and comfortable clothing. However, if you’re attending a formal paddleboarding gathering or competition, choose attire that reflects the event’s dress code.

10. Additional Tips

To wrap up this comprehensive guide on paddleboarding attire, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:

10.1 Practice Layering

Experiment with different layering options and combinations to find what works best in various weather conditions. Layers can be added or removed to ensure you stay comfortable during your paddleboarding adventures.

10.2 Bring a Change of Clothes

Pack a change of clothes for after your paddle. You may want to freshen up or warm up with dry, comfortable clothes once you’re back on land.

10.3 Check the Forecast

Before heading out for a paddle, check the weather forecast to prepare accordingly. Knowing the expected conditions can help you select the most appropriate attire and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

10.4 Test Your Gear Beforehand

Before heading out for a paddle, it’s always a good idea to test your clothing and gear beforehand. Ensure that everything fits well, is comfortable, and functions as intended. This will help avoid surprises or inconveniences once you’re on the water.

In conclusion, I am wearing the proper attire when paddleboarding is essential for a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable experience. From selecting clothing that ensures comfort and mobility to protecting yourself from the sun, water temperature, and unexpected weather conditions, each aspect of paddleboarding attire contributes to a successful outing.

Remember the tips and guidelines provided in this article to dress appropriately for your paddleboarding adventures. Stay safe, have fun, and happy paddling!

Diana Hanson
Hi there! I'm Diana Hanson, a SUP enthusiast and paddler with over ten years of experience. I have a deep love for exploring new places and trying out new things on my SUP board. Whether it's gliding across a peaceful lake, navigating a fast-moving river, or riding the exhilarating waves of the ocean, I'm always up for an adventure. As the author of the website SupNoob.com, I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and experience with others. My goal is to help beginners learn the skills needed to paddle safely and confidently. I understand the challenges that novices face when starting out, and I'm dedicated to providing them with valuable tips and advice. But my passion doesn't stop there. I also strive to assist experienced paddlers in taking their skills to the next level. Through SupNoob.com, I constantly update the site with the latest SUP gear reviews, insider tips, and expert advice. My aim is to ensure that everyone, regardless of their skill level, can get the most out of their paddling experience. I take great pride in my work, and I have been fortunate to receive recognition in the form of prizes and rewards for my contributions to the SUP community. It's an honor to be able to share my passion for this incredible sport with others, and I hope that through SupNoob.com, I can inspire and empower fellow SUP enthusiasts to embark on their own unforgettable journeys. Join me on SupNoob.com, and let's dive into the exciting world of SUP together!