What Should I Wear While SUP Paddling
What Should I Wear While SUP Paddling

When taking on the serene waters of SUP paddling, choosing the proper attire is essential for an enjoyable and comfortable experience. Whether a beginner or an experienced paddleboarder, understanding what to wear on your aquatic adventure is crucial for safety and style.

From protective layers to sun-safe accessories, we’ll guide you through the essential wardrobe choices that keep you chic and comfortable while gliding on the water. So, grab your board and get ready to discover the perfect outfit for your next SUP paddling excursion!

Appropriate Clothing for SUP Paddling

When it comes to SUP paddling, choosing the proper clothing is essential for comfort, protection, and optimal performance on the water. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, it’s essential to dress appropriately for the activity. In this guide, we will explore various aspects of clothing for SUP paddling, including swimwear, sun protection, quick-drying clothes, moisture-wicking fabrics, layering for different conditions, footwear, protective gear, accessories, and dress considerations for comfort and movement. So, let’s dive in and discover the best clothing options for an enjoyable SUP paddling experience!

Choosing the Right Swimwear

Regarding swimwear for SUP paddling, it’s crucial to choose something that allows freedom of movement and provides adequate support. Opt for swimsuits that are comfortable, secure, and won’t cause any discomfort, chafing, or restrictions. One-piece swimsuits or rash guards paired with board shorts are popular, as they offer both coverage and flexibility. However, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and what makes you feel most comfortable in the water.

Considering Sun Protection

Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is paramount in outdoor activities like SUP paddling. Look for clothing with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings to shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Long-sleeved rash guards and swim shirts provide excellent coverage and protection for your arms and torso. Additionally, wide-brimmed hats and caps can protect your face, neck, and scalp from the sun. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to any exposed areas for added protection.

Wearing Quick-Drying Clothes

Considering you’ll likely get wet during SUP paddling, choosing quick-drying clothes can enhance your comfort and prevent lingering moisture. Look for clothing made from polyester or nylon, as they dry much faster than cotton. Quick-drying shorts or board shorts are a popular choice, offering both comfort and functionality. These types of clothing not only dry quickly but also wick away moisture, further enhancing your overall paddling experience.

Opting for Moisture-Wicking Fabrics

Moisture-wicking fabrics are crucial in keeping you dry and comfortable during SUP paddling. These fabrics are designed to wick sweat and moisture away from your skin, allowing it to evaporate quickly. This feature is especially beneficial on hot and humid days when you might sweat more. Look for clothing labeled with moisture-wicking properties, such as polyester or merino wool, as they are excellent choices to help regulate your body temperature.

Layering for Various Conditions

Regarding SUP paddling, weather conditions can vary, so being prepared with layering options is essential. Layering allows you to adjust your clothing to maintain a comfortable body temperature. Start with a base layer made from moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you dry. Depending on the weather, add a lightweight insulating layer, such as a microfleece or a windbreaker, to provide extra warmth. Lastly, consider a waterproof or water-resistant outer layer, such as a paddling jacket, to protect you from rain or splashes. Layering allows you to adapt quickly to changing conditions and ensures comfort throughout your paddling adventure.

Footwear for SUP Paddling

Choosing suitable footwear for SUP paddling is essential for your safety and comfort on and off the board. Let’s explore the different options available and which scenarios they are best suited for.

Barefoot Paddling

For a truly immersive experience, many paddlers opt for barefoot paddling. This option makes you feel more connected to the board and enhances your balance and control. However, be cautious of potential hazards in the water, such as sharp rocks or debris, as they can cause injuries to your feet. It’s advisable to assess the water conditions and the specific location before choosing this option.

Watersport Shoes

Watersport shoes are a versatile choice for SUP paddling, providing protection, grip, and comfort. These shoes are designed to withstand wet environments and provide excellent traction on slippery surfaces, such as boards or rocks. Watersport shoes usually feature quick-drying fabrics and adjustable closures to ensure a secure and snug fit. Look for shoes with non-marking soles to avoid leaving scuff marks on the board.

Neoprene Booties

Neoprene booties are ideal for individuals who prefer additional warmth and protection for their feet, especially in colder water conditions. These booties are made from insulating neoprene material, which helps maintain a comfortable temperature for your feet. Neoprene booties come in various thicknesses, allowing you to choose the appropriate level of insulation based on your needs. Additionally, they provide grip and protection against rough or jagged surfaces.

Sandals and Flip Flops

Sandals and flip-flops are popular for paddlers who prioritize ease and convenience. They are easy to slip on and off, making them perfect for those who prefer to transition quickly between land and water. However, it’s essential to ensure that your sandals or flip-flops have good traction and won’t slip off your feet during paddle strokes. Look for sandals explicitly designed for watersports to ensure they are water-friendly and provide adequate support.

Protective Gear

Regarding SUP paddling, safety should always be a top priority. Wearing protective gear can provide an added layer of safety and peace of mind. Let’s explore the essential protective gear to consider for your SUP paddling adventures.

Wearing a Personal Flotation Device

A personal flotation device (PFD) is a crucial safety equipment for all paddlers, regardless of skill level or water conditions. A PFD is designed to keep you afloat in case of an accident or fatigue. When selecting a PFD, it’s essential to choose one that fits snugly and comfortably, allowing for a full range of motion. Look for PFDs made explicitly for paddling, as they are designed to be less restrictive and allow for arm movement.

Choosing a Leash

A leash is another critical safety accessory that all SUP paddlers should wear. A leash connects you to your board and prevents it from drifting away from you in case you fall off. This not only ensures the security of your board but also prevents it from becoming a hazard to others. When choosing a leash, consider the length to ensure it’s appropriate for the paddling you’ll be doing. A straight leash is typically suitable for flatwater paddling, while a coiled leash is more suitable for surf conditions.

Using Sunscreen

Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is vital during outdoor activities, and SUP paddling is no exception. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to all exposed areas of your skin before heading out on the water. Don’t forget to reapply as needed, especially if you’ve been in the water for an extended period. Look for water-resistant sunscreens to ensure their effectiveness while paddling. Protecting your skin from the sun’s rays helps prevent sunburn and reduces the risk of long-term damage.

Accessories for SUP Paddling

In addition to the essential clothing and protective gear, various accessories can enhance your SUP paddling experience and make it more enjoyable. Let’s explore some must-have accessories you might consider for your adventures on the water.

Hats and Caps

Wearing a hat or cap is not only a stylish choice but also a practical one while paddling. Hats with wide brims protect your face, neck, and scalp, shielding you from the sun’s rays. Caps can also help keep the sun out of your eyes and provide shade. Choose hats or caps made from quick-drying and breathable materials, ensuring paddling comfort.


Investing in a good pair of sunglasses is essential for eye protection during SUP paddling. The sun’s glare can be intense on the water, and sunglasses can significantly improve visibility and reduce eye strain. Look for sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from harmful rays. Polarized lenses are incredibly beneficial, as they reduce glare and enhance visual clarity, allowing you to spot potential hazards in the water more efficiently.

Waterproof Watches

Wearing a waterproof watch can help keep track of time while paddling. Whether you’re monitoring the duration of your workout, tracking your distance, or simply keeping an eye on your paddling schedule, a waterproof watch ensures you won’t have to worry about water damage. Look for watches specifically designed for water sports, considering factors such as water resistance, depth, and durability.

Waterproof Phone Cases

If you plan on bringing your phone with you on your SUP paddling adventures, investing in a waterproof phone case is highly recommended. These cases allow you to use your phone while protecting it from water damage. Whether you need your phone for navigation, capturing memories with photos and videos, or emergencies, a waterproof phone case ensures your device remains safe and functional throughout your paddling journey.

Considerations for Different Conditions

As with any outdoor activity, the weather and environmental conditions can vary, so it’s essential to consider these factors when choosing your SUP paddling clothing. Let’s take a closer look at some considerations for different conditions.

Cold Weather Paddling

When paddling in colder weather, it’s crucial to dress appropriately to stay warm and comfortable. Layering is critical during cold weather paddling. Start with a base layer made from thermal materials to keep your body heat insulated. Add insulating layers, such as fleeces or sweaters, for additional warmth. Top it off with a windproof and water-resistant outer layer to protect you from wind chill and splashes. Don’t forget to wear neoprene booties and gloves to keep your extremities warm, ensuring an enjoyable paddling experience even in chilly conditions.

Hot Weather Paddling

Paddling in hot weather requires clothing that keeps you cool and protected from the sun’s rays. Opt for moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics that allow maximum airflow and quick evaporation of sweat. Choose lightweight and loose-fitting clothing to promote air circulation and minimize heat retention. Don’t forget to wear a hat or cap and sunglasses, and apply sunscreen to protect yourself from the scorching sun. Stay hydrated by bringing plenty of water and considering a hydration pack for easy access.

Rainy Conditions

Paddling in rainy conditions requires clothing that keeps you dry and comfortable. Invest in a waterproof or water-resistant paddling jacket or poncho to protect yourself from rain and splashes. Consider wearing waterproof pants or shorts to keep your lower body dry. Additionally, wearing a brimmed hat or cap can help prevent rain from getting in your eyes and provide some protection. It’s also a good idea to pack a dry bag to keep your belongings safe and dry during your paddling adventure.

Dress Comfortably and for Movement

Comfort and freedom of movement are key while SUP paddling. Dressing appropriately ensures that you can move freely and comfortably without restrictions. Let’s explore some important factors when choosing your SUP paddling clothing.

Avoid Restrictive Clothing

Avoid clothing that is too tight or constricting, as it may limit your range of motion and impede your paddling technique. Opt for clothing that allows for a full range of movement in your arms, shoulders, and core. This way, you can paddle effectively and comfortably throughout your entire session.

Choosing Breathable Fabrics

Breathable fabrics are essential to keep you comfortable and prevent overheating while paddling. Look for clothing made from polyester or nylon, which promote airflow and allow sweat to evaporate quickly. Avoid heavy fabrics that trap heat and moisture, as they can be uncomfortable and hinder your performance on the water.

Considering Range of Motion

Consider the range of motion required for SUP paddling when selecting your clothing. Choose clothing that doesn’t restrict your arms, shoulders, or lower body movements. This is especially important during paddle strokes, balance adjustments, and maneuvers. Flexibility and freedom of movement are crucial for an enjoyable and efficient paddling experience.

Avoiding Loose and Baggy Clothes

While it’s important to choose clothing that allows for movement, be mindful of loose or baggy clothes that can be cumbersome and potentially get caught on equipment. Loose clothing may affect your balance and increase the risk of accidents or entanglement. Opt for clothing that fits comfortably and securely without excess fabric that may impede your paddling performance.

Additional Tips for SUP Paddling Clothing

To ensure a positive and comfortable paddling experience, here are some additional tips to consider when it comes to clothing for SUP paddling:

Bring a Change of Clothes

Bringing a change of clothes is always a wise idea, especially if you plan on spending a long time on the water or engaging in other activities afterward. It’s helpful to have a dry set of clothes to change into after your paddling session. This way, you can stay comfortable and avoid discomfort caused by wet clothing.

Wear a Wetsuit in Cold Waters

In icy water conditions, wearing a wetsuit is highly recommended. Wetsuits provide insulation and help maintain body heat, keeping you warm and comfortable in frigid water. The thickness of the wetsuit will depend on the water temperature, so choose accordingly to ensure optimal warmth and safety.

Consider Rash Guards for Sun Protection

Rash guards are not only helpful in minimizing friction and irritation against your skin but also offer excellent protection against harmful UV rays. These lightweight and quick-drying garments provide UPF protection and are an excellent choice for keeping your upper body shielded from the sun. Consider wearing a rash guard in addition to sunscreen for added protection during prolonged exposure to the sun.

Following these recommendations for appropriate clothing, footwear, protective gear, accessories, and dress considerations, you’ll be well-equipped and prepared for your SUP paddling adventures. Remember, the key is to dress for comfort, protection, and mobility to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.

So get out there, explore new horizons, and paddle with confidence! Happy SUP 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!