What To Wear Paddle Boarding: A Complete Guide For Any Weather

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Have you ever wondered what to wear before going paddle boarding? Paddleboarding is a water sport that can be enjoyed year-round, but wearing the right clothes can make a huge difference in your comfort and safety.

I’ll never forget some of the times when I went out thinking that I would be fine but then I came back onto the beach shaking and shivering from the cold.🥶

That’s why I created this comprehensive guide to give you some season-specific clothing tips for paddleboarding, so that you can be dressed for success whether it’s summer or winter!

Ready to start outfit planning for your next SUP adventure? Read on! 🏄‍♂️

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Table Of Contents

When paddle boarding, it is important to prioritize safety by choosing the right clothing, such as wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) and ensuring you have the appropriate leash for your board.

Importance of wearing a PFD

The priority in any water sport, including paddle boarding, is safety. A Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or life jacket serves as your best line of defence against drowning. Wearing a PFD ensures you stay afloat even if you fall off the paddle board unexpectedly or find yourself tired and unable to swim.

The US Coast Guard classifies stand up paddle boards as vessels and legally requires users to wear a PFD when paddling beyond swim zones of a beach or the shallow areas of lakes and rivers.

This piece of equipment is more than just an accessory – it can be lifesaving! Multiple designs are available today for maximum comfort without compromising safety during your paddling sessions.

Types of life jackets

Paddleboarding calls for specific types of life jackets to enhance safety on the water.

  1. Inflatable Life Jackets: These are compact and comfortable, inflating when you pull a cord.
  2. Belt Pack Life Jackets: This type is worn around the waist making it easy to paddle without hindrance.
  3. Suspender Style Life Jackets: Great for colder weather paddling, these use a harness design to provide extra warmth.
  4. Hybrid Life Jackets: Hybrids combine the features of standard and inflatable models, offering both buoyancy and compactness.
  5. Offshore Life Jacket: Ideal for rough waters or distant offshore paddling with high buoyancy.

My Favorite Life Jackets:

These are some of the best life jackets on the market right now.

Recommendation 1: Onyx M-16 Belt Life Jacket

what to wear paddle boarding

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– Small and clips on your waist so you hardly notice it.

– Quick to inflate using the CO2 cartridge when you need it

– Doesn’t inhibit your movement or your paddling.

– Keeps even the heaviest people afloat when needed.

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon

Recommendation 2: Onyx MoveVent Life Vest 

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– Has a low shoulder so it doesn’t hinder you while paddling

– Great for beginners because it’s lightweight and extremely buoyant

See also  Is This The Greatest Body Glove Paddleboard Ever?

– Has great drainage with the mesh backing so it’s not constantly wet.

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon

Life jackets are extremely important (and also very overlooked), if you want more recommendations on different life jackets then you can find them here.

The right leash for your board

Choosing the right leash for your paddle board is as crucial as selecting the correct attire. The leash serves as your safety link to the board, preventing it from drifting away if you fall off.

Typically, there are three types of leashes: ankle, calf, and coiled ones. Ankle leashes are popular due to their comfort and ease of use while calf leashes offer more freedom for movement.

Coiled leashes minimize drag in the water and reduce chances of entanglement with underwater objects making them an excellent choice for smooth waters or SUP yoga sessions. Ensure that your chosen leash is about a foot longer than your paddleboard’s length for optimal functionality.

Recommendation 1: BPS Storm Coiled Leash

what to wear paddle boarding

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– It’s a coiled leash so it doesn’t get stuck in seaweed or rocks when you’re out paddling.

– 10 foot length gives you lots of space to use it without constantly getting tangled.

– It is made with soft wetsuit fabric that doesn’t chafe or hurt your ankle.

– Includes a waterproof waist bag for your keys, phone and other goodies.,

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon

For summer paddle boarding, men can opt for board shorts, while women can wear swimwear. Rash guards are also recommended for added protection against the sun.

Board shorts for men

Board shorts for men are the go-to attire for paddle boarding in the summer. Providing comfort and freedom of movement, board shorts are designed to withstand water activities. They typically feature quick-drying fabric and a secure waistband to stay in place while you ride the waves.

Board shorts also offer UPF sun protection, shielding your skin from harmful UV rays. With their stylish designs and practical features, board shorts are a popular choice among male paddlers for their summer adventures on the water.

Recommendation 1: Silkworld Men’s Quick Dry Beach Shorts

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– 100% nylon and also has a drawstring so they don’t fall down.

– Really good price

– The fabric dries quickly if you fall into the water

– Contains built-in mesh lining underwear that doesn’t chafe you.

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon

Swimwear for women

Swimwear is a popular choice for women when paddle boarding in the summer. A bikini or one-piece swimsuit provides comfort and freedom of movement while on the water. It’s important to choose swimwear that fits well and stays securely in place, as you’ll be active during your paddle boarding session.

Additionally, wearing a rash guard over your swimsuit can provide added protection from the sun’s harmful rays and reduce chafing caused by paddling. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on exposed areas of skin to keep it protected throughout your paddleboarding adventure.

Recommendation 1: Cupshe Women’s Bikini

I must confess that I don’t own a bikini 😉… But my wife really likes this one.

what to wear paddle boarding

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– Has shoulder straps that won’t fall off in the water (wrapped bikini).

– Removable pads on the cups for extra support.

– High waisted bottoms with drawstrings to make sure they don’t come off in the water.

– High quality and beautiful design.

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon

Benefits of rash guards

Rash guards are an excellent choice for paddle boarding in the summer. These lightweight, quick-drying shirts provide numerous benefits to enhance your SUP experience. Firstly, they offer protection against harmful UV rays from the sun.

With UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings of 50+, rash guards shield your skin from sunburn and reduce the risk of long-term damage. Additionally, rash guards protect against rashes and irritations caused by friction with the board or wetsuit material.

They act as a barrier between your skin and potential abrasions, ensuring a comfortable ride on the water. Lastly, these versatile shirts can also help regulate body temperature by providing extra warmth during cooler moments on breezy days.

Recommendation 1: O’Neill Men’s Long Sleeve Rashguard

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– Has very few seams so it’s comfortable and you won’t get rashes or chafe

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– Has UPF 50 ultraviolet protection to stop sunburn

– Has non-wick fabric that keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon

Recommendation 2: Roxy Whole Hearted Rashguard

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– It is a tight, snug fit that will keep you protected from chafe (and the sun)

– UPF 50 sun protection and made of quick dry material

– Comes in 21 different styles and designs

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon

Sun protection options

Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is crucial when paddle boarding. Here are some sun protection options to consider:


Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 before heading out on the water. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if you’re sweating or spending extended periods in the sun.

Recommendation 1: Sun Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– SPF 50 and completely water resistant so you don’t have to worry about burning if you go in the water

– It moisturizes your skin and is also oil free so you don’t have sand sticking to you.

– It was made for surfing so it’s a really high quality sun cream that you’ll love.

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon


Wear a wide-brimmed hat or a cap with a visor to protect your face, neck, and eyes from direct sunlight.

Recommendation 1: Surf Bucket Hat

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– It protects your face and neck from the sun and stays on your head during a wipe-out (with the chin straps)

– It has a removable neck flap that you can use for extra protection.

– This was designed for watersports, so it’s pretty damn awesome!

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon


Choose sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection to shield your eyes from the sun’s rays reflecting off the water’s surface.

Recommendation 1: KUGUAOK Polarized Sports Sunglasses

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– Stylish, comfortable and also polarized so you won’t get water glare.

– Comes with a strap that goes round your neck to stop them falling off.

– Most importantly – they float! So if they do fall off then it’s not a big issue.

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon

Now let’s get into essential clothing for winter. Look, you really don’t want to be messing around in winter with the wrong clothing because it’s easy to get really cold. I remember I was once in London (it gets cold there). I was looking for things to do on South Bank London and I noticed that close by there were people paddle boarding at St Katherine docks.

I figured I’d take a little paddle but I was just in shorts and a rash vest and when I got out of the water I was blue and shivering. You don’t want that to happen to you.

For cooler temperatures while paddle boarding, opt for lightweight tops and bottoms that can be easily layered.

Lightweight tops and bottoms

Lightweight tops and bottoms are essential for paddle boarding in cooler temperatures. They provide comfort without weighing you down. Here are some options to consider:

  • Breathable long sleeve shirts or hoodies
  • Quick – drying leggings or pants
  • Thermal base layers for added warmth
  • Moisture – wicking materials to keep you dry
  • Stretchy fabrics for ease of movement

Windbreakers or water-resistant jackets

Stay warm and protected while paddle boarding in cooler temperatures with the right clothing. Consider adding these items to your paddle board attire:

  • Lightweight tops and bottoms for layering
  • Windbreakers or water – resistant jackets to block the wind and keep you dry
  • Headwear, such as hats or beanies, for sun protection

Recommendation 1: Columbia Watertight II Jacket

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– Waterproof and breathable using Omni-Tech technology – Keeps water out, but stays breathable inside.

– Lightweight and easy to pack

– You can use this as an everyday jacket and not just for paddling.

what to wear paddle boarding
Check The Price ➡️ Amazon

Recommendation 2: Columbia Switchback III

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– Lightweight and waterproof jacket

– Has a hydroshell that will keep you dry in the heaviest rain.

– You can use it for any purposes besides going on a SUP.

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon

Neoprene Gloves:

Neoprene gloves become essential when the temperature plummets. They ensure that your hands stay warm and nimble, enabling a firm hold on your paddle. These gloves are a vital piece of gear for paddleboarding in cold conditions.

See also  Paddleboarding Challenges and Races Splash into Adventure!

Recommendation 1: Palmyth Fingerless Gloves

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– Leather reinforced palm for better grip on your paddle when they get wet

– Stretchy, lightweight and breathable material that not only keeps your hands warm, but also drys fast.

– Fingerless so that you can feel the paddle while protecting your palms from blisters and calluses.

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon


A wetsuit becomes indispensable for stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) when the water gets cold. These close-fitting suits work by trapping a thin layer of water next to your skin, which then heats up to your body temperature, offering insulation and warmth in chilly conditions.

Recommendation 1: Seaskin Men’s Wetsuit

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– Keeps you really warm and toasty in the water.

– Made of a stretchy material and they have larger sizes for bigger guys.

– Three layers to keep heat insulation in cold conditions.

Check The Price ➡️ Amazon

Recommendation 2: Seaskin Women’s Wetsuit

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why They Are Awesome:
– Designed specifically to match a women’s body for extra comfort

– Made from stretchable and durable neoprene that will keep you warm in the water.

– Also has knee guards to stop you from getting bruises on your knees (this is great for beginners)

what to wear paddle boarding
Check The Price ➡️ Amazon

What To Wear Paddle Boarding: Essential Items

I know that this list is kinda long and it might feel overwhelming, so here’s a quick summary of the most important gear that you really don’t want to forget.

When paddle boarding, it’s important to bring the necessary gear for a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some items you should have with you:

  1. Personal Flotation Device (PFD) – A PFD is crucial for water safety and should always be worn while paddle boarding.
  2. Leash – Attach a leash to your board to prevent it from drifting away if you fall off.
  3. Sunscreen – Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen before heading out on the water.
  4. Hat – Wear a hat to shield your face and head from the sun’s rays.
  5. Sunglasses – Polarized sunglasses can help reduce glare and protect your eyes from the sun and water reflections.
  6. Water bottle – Stay hydrated during your paddle boarding session by bringing a reusable water bottle with you.
  7. Snacks – Pack some energy-boosting snacks to keep yourself fueled during longer paddle trips.
  8. Waterproof bag or container – Keep your valuables like keys, phone, wallet, and extra clothes in a waterproof bag or container to protect them from splashes or accidental submersion.
Read this article for more advice on the best paddle boarding accessories to keep you safe & happy
The 23 Best Paddleboard Accessories That You Need In 2024

Importance of planning ahead

Planning ahead is crucial when it comes to paddle boarding. Taking the time to prepare and gather the necessary gear before hitting the water can make a big difference in your overall experience.

By planning ahead, you can ensure that you have the right clothing for the weather conditions, including appropriate layers for cooler temperatures or sun protection options for hot summer days.

Additionally, planning ahead allows you to pack any safety equipment, such as a PFD or leash, that is essential for staying safe on the water. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast and plan your paddleboarding session accordingly.


In conclusion, having the right attire for paddle boarding is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience on the water. This complete guide provides recommendations for every season, from swimwear in the summer to layering options in cooler temperatures.

So that should have answered the question of what to wear paddle boarding – now you’re ready to hit the water and make the most of your paddleboarding adventures!

Looking for insider guides to some amazing paddle boarding locations?
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What To Wear Paddle Boarding: FAQs

What to wear paddle boarding in the summer?

In the summer, it’s best to wear lightweight and breathable clothing such as a swimsuit or board shorts, along with a rash guard for sun protection.

Do I need special shoes for paddle boarding?

Special shoes are not necessary for paddle boarding, but you can wear water shoes or sandals with good grip to protect your feet from rocks or sharp objects.

If you’re looking for some great paddle boarding shoes, then here’s a guide:
7 Amazing Paddleboarding Shoes To Try In 2024

How should I dress when paddle boarding in colder seasons?

In colder seasons, layering is key. Wear a wetsuit or drysuit as your base layer, followed by insulating layers like fleece jackets or thermal tops, and finish with a waterproof jacket to stay warm.

Can I wear sunglasses while paddle boarding?

Yes, wearing sunglasses while paddle boarding can help protect your eyes from the sun’s glare reflecting off the water surface. Opt for polarized lenses for better visibility.

What type of hat should I wear when paddle boarding?

When paddleboarding, it’s recommended to wear a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face and neck from direct sunlight and prevent overheating

what to wear paddle boarding
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Jason Watson

My initial goal was to document my paddleboarding experiences with friends and family, but that has evolved into a commitment to share this sport with as many people as possible because of the health benefits & peace of mind it has given me. This sport is not only a great way to see the world, but it also helps us come closer to ourselves. Information gives us strength!

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