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When you are heading out on the water to paddle board, knowing what stand up paddle clothes to wear is important. Being out on the water and not being prepared for the weather means you are not going to enjoy your paddle to the full extent you should. You want to wear the right attire for the conditions, so you are comfortable and able to enjoy your outdoor experience. 

Clothes to wear stand up paddleboarding

Most people can comfortably paddle through many of the seasons. There is no limit to the temperature extremes if you are dressed properly. However, while the colder winter weather calls for wetsuits, the warmer weather has more options and is less restrictive.

woman attaches stand up paddle board leash to ankle

Regardless of your SUP clothes, you should always wear your leash.

When Choosing What to Wear Remember, Safety First

No matter what the season or weather, wearing safety gear is a must when it comes to paddle boarding. Having a leash attached and a safety-approved life vest with you is important. Paddle boards are considered to be a vessel by both Canadian and US water patrols so all boarders must have a personal flotation device (pfd) with them on the board. While not all will wear them, it is suggested that all paddlers keep them on. Children under 12 must wear life vests at all times if they are on a paddle board. The only exemption to this is if someone is SUP surfing and then there is no requirement to have a life vest with you.

When you choose a life jacket, there are lots to choose from. They are much smaller and lighter than older styles you may be used to. There are even some that attach around your waist and are barely noticeable. Try them on before choosing to make sure it fits well and does not impede your stroke or mobility.

man wearing swimsuit holds Thurso Surf Expedition Touring SUP

A swimsuit is often enough, but it depends on your plans.

Warm Weather Clothing Styles for SUP

There are very few places in North America that are not going to have a warm summer. While many hard core paddle boarders will try to paddle all 12 months of the year, the numbers are going to grow when the warm summer sun is out. Enjoying the sun and warmth makes everyone happy to be out on the water.
When the warm weather comes, paddlers are going to enjoy the board as well as a cool dip in the water. This means paddleboarders will need something other than a wetsuit. Having a bathing suit, a short sleeve t-shirt for a rash guard or other water-resistant wear is going to make time out on the water comfortable and fun. Men will often wear board shorts and women a bathing suit, be it one or two-piece.
Whatever stand up paddle clothes you choose, keep in mind that you’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun. Add in some waterproof UV sunscreen wherever your skin is exposed. You can even find some clothing that uses sun protection in their fabrics if you are going to be on the water for extended periods of time. While bathing attire with or without UV protection is good for comfort and mobility, your feet have options as well. Many enjoy paddling barefoot, but you can also purchase paddle shoes. These are great if you are in rough areas that tend to be rocky on the bottom or rough getting in and out of the water.
man and woman falling off stand up paddle board

A dry bag can come in handy…in case you need a change of clothes.

Rash guards are important as well, particularly when surfing. They help reduce friction on your skin when climbing back onto the board. Rash guards also keep friction low when paddling and work to decrease soreness caused by repetitive movements on the water. They come in all shapes and sizes including short and long sleeve options.

When choosing clothing for a day of paddling, the best trick is to wear layers. The weather may be cooler in the morning and warm up as the day goes on. Carrying a dry bag on the board is helpful as layers come off. It allows some versatility and clothing changes as the temperatures go up and down.

The other things to consider wearing is a hat and sunglasses. Even on hazy days, it is important to protect yourself from UV rays. Hats will help keep the sun off the top of your head, working to keep you cool and protecting you from sunburn. And sunglasses will protect your eyes from the sun and glare off the water. The reflection off the water can be intense and leave you squinting instead of enjoying the scenery. Plus, everyone looks cooler in sunglasses.

SUP rider wears stand up paddle clothes to keep her protected from the sun

A hat, long sleeve shirt, and pants can help protect you from the sun.

Stand Up Paddle Clothes for Cooler Temperatures

Choosing to wear a wetsuit is not a tough decision in the winter. As it gets colder out, the suit you choose should get thicker. There are even times such as early morning and night or that you need something more than a bathing suit to stay comfortable as summer fades to autumn. A neoprene wetsuit can help do that. You don’t need a heavy-duty one but one that is matched for the shoulder season as temperatures begin to cool.

If you do not want to go the route of a wetsuit, then wear a long sleeve shirt over your bathing suit and sweatshirt over that. Leggings, long johns and gloves can be worn as well. Just be careful about the weight of the clothes and depth of water if you happen to fall in. You need to be able to swim and be safe as well.

SUP Yoga Stand Up Paddle Clothes

Being properly dressed for SUP yoga will improve your session. Be mindful of the weather so you are aware of how much you may need to layer your clothes. Keep the swimsuit or boardshorts underneath, a rash guard if needed and then warmer yoga clothing can go over the top. If it is too hot out, then go with just the swimwear and rash guard. As you can see layering is key.

woman wears yoga pants for her stand up paddle clothes while doing a workout

With a bit of practice, you’ll figure your clothing preferences for each SUP activity.

SUP Fishing Stand Up Paddle Clothes

If you are hitting the water to go out fishing, you do not need a lot of extra clothing other than what you would normally wear. However, sunblock or UV protective clothing and a hat are worth strongly considering. With fishing you tend to spend a lot of time on the water, so keep that in mind when planning your trip. Another thing to consider when SUP fishing is bugs. Unlike regular paddle boarding there’s a good chance you’ll be moving slowly or not much at all, and stick to the edges of the water, marshes, reeds, etc. Those are the places you’ll find fish because they’re looking for the insects that live there. Your regular insect spray, pants and longs sleeves will do the trick.

Final Thoughts

No matter what stand up paddle clothes you choose to wear, make sure they provide you comfort. Layering is a great option because it provides you with a variety of choices throughout your day, so you can adjust as you paddle. Warm or cold weather you’ll appreciate the options. Some items will be better suited for the water, but you’ll figure that out as you go. Just don’t wear something you’d prefer not to get wet. Eventually you may even have a stand up paddle boarding clothing section of your wardrobe.
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