What to Wear to Paddle Boarding (You’d Be Surprised!)

What To Wear For SUP

A lot of people get so psyched to go stand-up paddleboarding. One of the things they often prepare is their paddleboard. While it’s definitely the most important piece of equipment for this sport, you shouldn’t forget to pay enough attention to your clothing. 

Don’t know what to wear for paddleboarding? That’s okay. For a water activity that can be done all throughout the year, you’ll need to know the different kinds of outfits to wear depending on the season. And that doesn’t end there. The clothes you wear will vary based on the SUP style you will using. If this has made your mind even more confused, here is a clothing guide for SUP beginners. 

General Reminders on Clothing

General Reminders on Clothing

Even if there are different outfits for SUP for different seasons, the rules for dressing are the same all year. Here are some general reminders for what to wear. 

Keep it lightweight. 

The first rule in SUP clothing is making sure that what you’re wearing is lightweight. The water can weigh you down so it’s best that your suit doesn’t absorb the water. If it does, then expect to have a hard time paddleboarding. 

What you should be wearing is clothing that repels water. Hence, cotton is a big no for paddleboarding. Wear clothes that you would normally swim in on the beach.

You should be comfortable. 

Even when you’re just going for a walk outside, your clothes should be comfortable. So why shouldn’t they be when you’re paddling on water? 

Aside from needing to be light, your clothes should be comfortable. They should be in the right size, the right cut, the right fit, et cetera. Comfortable clothes will help you feel more at ease when you’re in the water. If your clothes distract you from your balance, then they should be changed.

You have to be able to move freely. 

You’re going to be moving a lot when you go on paddleboarding. Yes, even if pictures of this water sport show people very relaxed standing on their paddleboards, that isn’t the reality. If you’re a beginner, there will be a lot of falling, shaking, and going up and down your board. 

Needless to say, your clothes shouldn’t limit you from stretching or reaching out. If anything, it should feel like skin. This is why some paddleboard outfits are in the form of sleeveless wetsuits. Some even just wear their bikinis so they can move more freely. 

It should give you the right temperature when in the water. 

Keeping your body temperature is usually forgotten when thinking about clothes. Some beginners would make the mistake of wearing swimsuits just so they look nice in pictures. However, this is wrong especially when the water is cold. You don’t’ want to be shaking because the water is too cold for you to handle. 

This is where knowing the season comes in handy. Make sure that you have an idea of how cold or warm the water is going to be so you could pick clothes that will help keep your body’s warmth or coolness inside of you.

It doesn’t have to be expensive… 

Now, you might be thinking that paddleboard outfits are expensive. In reality, they don’t have to be. There are times when you don’t need to wear a full wetsuit (this is only for the winter anyway). Thus, you can just wear regular swimming attire. 

…but it has to be of good quality.

But of course, the quality of your clothes is important. When you go paddleboarding, there’s a high chance that you bump into your board or that you fall on the water. If your clothes are not made of good quality fabric, then they might rip. 

The same should be considered for wetsuits. This is mainly because you don’t want the water to get in your suit and start making you feel cold. If that happens, you might get distracted or worse, you might get sick after your paddling session. 

Proper Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Outfits for Every Season

Proper Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Outfits for Every Season


Can you even paddleboard during the winter? Yes, you can, if and only if you wear the proper attire. SUP can be challenging during this season but it’s not impossible to do especially if you’re not freezing inside. 

What you should wear depends on what you plan to do. Are you going to ride the waves or just go touring? If it’s the former, then you need to have a full-length wetsuit. A wetsuit is a body-fitting garment that most divers, swimmers, and surfers wear when they swim in cool water. This is often made of neoprene, and it’s designed to keep your body’s warmth inside the suit.

If you’re only going for a tour of the water, you don’t necessarily need to wear a full wetsuit. Instead, go for thermal tops and bottoms that are both waterproof. However, if you’re the type of person that easily gets cold, then there’s nothing wrong with wearing a wetsuit. 

But while you’re keen on making yourself warm, know that you will still generate heat once you move on your paddleboard. So instead of putting layers of waterproof clothing, wear just 1-2 layers so you don’t end up getting so hot.

What about the shoes? You’re going to need a pair of neoprene shoe boots. Make sure these boots fit you well so you’re comfortable paddling. 

Spring and Autumn

Spring and autumn almost require the same outfits since these two seasons are similar in terms of temperature. Think of your outfit as a mix of winter and summer clothes. They should provide warmth, but they should be light and have fewer layers. 

The ideal spring or autumn SUP outfit is a long-sleeved lightweight top and lightweight leggings or shorts. If you easily get cold, then you can also put on a lightweight waterproof jacket. What’s important here is that your clothes are all light and waterproof. 

As a precaution, do a little research on the temperature in the place you’re going to. This will be your guide on what you need to wear – if you need another layer of jackets or shorts.

For the shoes, you still need to keep them covered. The same neoprene shoe boots that you use during the winter will suffice. 

Should you bring a cap and sunscreen? For the cap, this can be optional since some days during autumn and spring are cool enough. However, if the sun will be shining and you think that it may affect your ability to see properly, then there’s no harm in bringing a cap. 

As for the sunscreen, you should bring a bottle, too. Even if you’ll be covered, putting sunscreen on your hands, neck, and face will give an added layer of protection from burning UV rays. 


And then there’s summer. Since you don’t get cold during the summer, does that mean that you can wear almost anything or even wear less clothing during this season? Yes and no.

Yes, you can definitely do away with all the lightweight wetsuits, jackets, boots, and leggings. There’s no need for so many layers because you want to keep cool during this time. If you ever need to wear long sleeves, that’s probably because you don’t want to get sunburnt too much. 

However, summer doesn’t give you the license to wear anything. While you see people paddleboarding with just their bikinis or swimming trunks, this isn’t ideal especially when it’s so hot. You risk getting sunburn and this can also hurt your arms and back later on. 

Nonetheless, there’s a reason why people love paddling in the summer – paddleboarding outfits are so easy. No need for expensive wetsuits and complicated layers. Just wear a lightweight tee and board shorts and you’re good to go. 

If the weather is too hot, wearing a hat or a cap can help keep you cool. You can also wear sunglasses that have bands so they don’t get lost when you submerge in water.

Lastly, don’t forget to bring a lot of sunscreens. Frequently place sunscreen on your skin during your breaks. This will help lessen the pain of sunburn later on. 

What Not to Wear

What Not to Wear

Just like any other water sport, there are clothes that you should never wear to paddleboarding. One of those clothes is cotton clothes. Cotton easily absorbs water. This makes you heavier, thus, making it harder for you to move. If you fall on the water, you’ll realize that you feel twice as heavy. 

Another clothing no-no is a pair of rubber shoes or sneakers. You don’t want your shoes to get ruined by water. Besides, most shoes aren’t waterproof. You will just damage them. They will also be heavy once they get wet. 

If you’re unsure about what to wear and what not to, a good point to consider is whether or not you’ll be comfortable with your clothes when you get wet. As a beginner, you will most likely fall on the water. Are you comfortable wearing a cotton shirt when you do? If you don’t, then don’t wear it. The same goes for other fabric types. 

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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