What To Wear Stand Up Paddle Boarding

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Your stand up paddle boarding experience can be ruined by a number of things, from heavy rain to illness and strong winds.

But nothing can ruin it more than being unprepared, and when it comes to paddle boarding, the first step in the preparation process is to ensure that you are wearing adequate attire.

The question is, what should you wear when you’re SUP paddle boarding and what makes this clothing so essential?

What to Wear Paddle Boarding

Some of the clothing essentials fall more into the equipment category, but as you’ll still be wearing them on your body, we will be talking about them.

What follows is a list of the clothing you should wear when stand up paddle boarding.

A Life Jacket (Personal Flotation Device)

A personal flotation device is essential when you’re out on your SUP board.

A personal flotation device is a broad category of flotation devices that are designed to keep you afloat.

They cover life jackets, but the two are not the same.

There are throwable devices, flotation aids, and life jackets.

All of these will keep you safe on your stand up paddle board and they are also required by the US Coast Guard, as a paddle board is classed as a vessel.

Look for a life jacket or other personal flotation device that has been USGC-approved and make sure you wear it at all times on your paddle board.

A Leash

A leash is another essential piece of equipment that could save your life.

A leash is a literal rope/leash that attaches the stand up paddle board to your leg.

It might sound dangerous, considering the SUP board can be pulled toward you in the event of a wipeout, but it also means that it won’t float away from you and will always be there.

What’s more, stand up paddle boards tend not to tackle huge waves in the same way as surfboards, so big wipeouts are not as common and the risks are low.

Warm Weather Clothing

When the weather is warm, your first focus should be sun protection.

Keep your skin and face protected against UV rays, as they will be beating down on your bare flesh all day.

You don’t need to wear any shoes or flip-flops and can ride with bare feet in the summer.

It will make for a more natural ride and give you some extra grip. It also means that you don’t need to worry about expensive water-resistant footwear.

Elsewhere, simple swim trunks, board shorts, or a bathing suit should suffice.

If the weather is hot and the water is warm, you don’t need to layer up and may overheat and suffer if you do.

For extra protection, take a sun hat and some sunglasses with you.

A light t-shirt is also a good idea if you want protection on your upper body and women often wear performance shorts with a rash guard, as well.

The former will protect your head and neck from the sun while keeping you cool.

The latter will make the ride more bearable when the sun is at its brightest.

Cold Weather Clothing

Cold water and cold weather stand up paddle board requires a little more forethought.

Pay attention to the temperature of the water and make sure you have a wetsuit to match.

A neoprene wetsuit will keep you warm and protected without restricting your movement.

You will still need a life jacket, but you’ll want to focus on adding more layers, including a base layer of long johns, leggings, or thick underwear, as well as rash guards, neoprene booties, neoprene gloves, and a winter jacket.

What you wear is entirely up to you, but it’s best to ensure you’re properly protected as cold conditions can cause serious problems for even the most experienced SUP paddle boarders.

Summary: What to Wear on a Stand Up Paddle Board

From foot protection to sun protection and winter gear, it’s imperative that you wear proper clothing when using stand up paddle boards.

It’s a fun sport and one that’s surprisingly easy to learn, but that doesn’t mean that you can just hop on a SUP board wearing anything you want without any consideration for the conditions!