What To Wear Paddle Boarding?

Besides being a fun and exciting water sport, paddleboarding is an efficient way to get and stay fit. Though popularly regarded as a summer sport, you can enjoy this water sport all year round. This article explores a list of what to wear paddling boarding and how to pick your clothing!

Paddle Boarding Clothing: All Seasons

The weather determines your choice of outfits. In other words, when thinking about what to wear for paddleboarding, you should prioritize the practicality of your outfit over aesthetics. Here’s a guide on picking an outfit for the most paddleboarding benefits

Summer Paddle Boarding Wears

There are various clothing options to wear when paddle boarding in warm weather. 

1. Swimsuit or Board Shorts

You will need a waterproof outfit like a bathing suit, swimsuit or swim shorts. For women, a swimsuit( bikini or one-piece) would be perfect for a day of paddling, while men can go for their swim shorts. You can also layer this with long-sleeved sweatshirts if the weather gets cooler. 

2. Rash Guards

Exposure to the wind and salt water can cause skin irritation leading to a rash. Consequently, it becomes crucial to add rash guards to your on-water wardrobe. 

Rash guards are fitted with spandex tops that help to protect you from the sun and other harsh elements. They feature built-in UV protection to help prevent sunburn by including UPF 50+ properties in their design. 

For the best results, get a well-fitted short-sleeved rash guard with flat-lock stitching and six-panel construction. There are a variety of rash guard materials you could choose from, they include:

  • Nylon/Spandex: Dries quickly, perfect for hot days as it is very breathable.
  • Lycra: very stretchy, fits tightly to your body.
  • Polyester: It is breathable but less stretchy.
  • Nylon/Spandex: Easy to dry, very breathable, suitable for hot days.
  • Neoprene: It is stretchy and insulated, perfect for cold weather.

3. Shoes

You have the option of paddle sports footwear to keep your foot comfortable when paddleboarding. However, it is not obligatory for summer paddling, and you are advised to do so barefoot.  

4. Sunscreen

While you don’t need to worry about the freezing water or piercing winds, you still need to protect yourself from the harsh sun rays. You are more vulnerable to sunburn as the sun’s reflection on the water could worsen it. As a result, your paddling outfit should be paired with waterproof UV protection sunscreen. 

You can also find some natural sunscreen options. Some clothes use sun protection in their fabrics if you are going to be on the water for extended periods.

Winter Paddleboarding Wears

Paddling in the winter is less crowded, and you get to enjoy the scenery. The key to enjoying paddleboarding in the winter is to dress for the weather. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Here are the essential clothes for a perfect winter paddleboarding trip.

1. Hat/Beanie

Your head is left exposed when paddleboarding. As a result, you need to have a hat or any other headgear on to keep your head warm during winter paddle boarding. You can also get a neoprene hood or cap designed to keep you warm even when wet. Get a neoprene hood covered with smooth skin to achieve an excellent wind lock.

2. Hand Gloves

An essential clothing item you need for winter paddling is your hand gloves if you don’t want to end up paddling with frozen fingers. These gloves help keep your hands and fingers warm in the cold temperature. It reduces callouses and also helps to prevent slipping in the case that there is rainfall. 

Neoprene gloves or wool gloves are both efficient in keeping your hands warm. They both help to preserve warmth even when they are wet. However, you must ensure that these gloves have a decent grip on the palms. Wool gloves are more budget-friendly, while neoprene gloves are relatively pricier.

3. Wetsuit

A wetsuit is one thing you can not do without if you plan to go paddleboarding in the winter. This neoprene suit helps with insulation when out in cold temperatures. These suits trap water between the inside of the suit and your skin. Your body heat warms up the trapped water keeping you warm even in low temperatures.

Here are a few things to consider before picking your wetsuit:

  • Perfect Fit: You need a neoprene wetsuit that fits like a rubber glove. Getting the size right ensures the wetsuit will fit snug across your body.
  • The Wetsuit’s Thickness: The thicker your neoprene wetsuit is, the more warmth it can trap. Winter wetsuits are usually between 4 and 6mm thick. However, you should know that thicker wetsuits compromise your flexibility and mobility.  

Here’s a breakdown of the thickness level you need for different weather.

50°F (10°C) weather30°F (-1°C) weather10°F (-12°C) weather
1. 4/3mm wetsuit1. 5/4mm hooded wetsuit1. 5-6 mm wetsuit hood
2. 3mm booties  2. 5mm booties 2. 7 mm Booties
3. Neoprene gloves3. Neoprene gloves 3. Neoprene Gloves

4. Drysuits

A dry suit is a large, roomy suit made of neoprene and compressed rubber materials designed to keep you dry.  It provides a watertight seal around the neck, ankles and wrists. These seals help lock water away from the body and trap layers of air between the body and suit, keeping you dry.

Drysuits are not designed with insulating materials to keep you warm on their own. You’ll need to pair them with a couple of insulating clothing layers. The drysuit keeps these clothing layers dry, and they, in turn, keep you warm. The more layers you wear, the warmer you will be. When picking your layers, go for materials that insulate even when wet, such as pile fleece, wool, polypropylene and other synthetic materials. 

Layering your clothes allows you to choose from various insulation thickness options, depending on the weather. A single thick layer of 200-weight pile fleece would be better for icy winters than several thin layers. 

Once effectively layered, dry suits provide more warmth than wetsuits. However, they are more bulky and restricting than wetsuits. They are also more expensive and require more care and maintenance. 

5. Shoes

For cold weather paddling boarding, you will need wetsuit booties. This helps to keep your feet warm. Booties are like water shoes with neoprene material. To make sure that they keep your feet longer, heat the wetsuit booties in warm water.

Spring/Fall Paddleboarding Wears

Knowing what to wear when paddleboarding in the spring or fall can be tricky as you might find it challenging to understand the weather. This is because the weather conditions are not stable. 

If you plan to swim or surf on your paddleboard, a wetsuit would be best. For this kind of transitional weather, you should layer up your outfit. Go with the summer attire and add a long sleeve sweatshirt. 

In addition to this, go for materials that dry quickly. Bring your dry bag to store other wears if the weather transitions to a cooler temperature. 

How to Choose a Paddle Boarding Outfit

You need to consider certain factors before picking your paddleboarding outfit. These factors are:

1. Quality

The quality of your outfit determines how long it will last. To get the best out 

of your paddleboarding wear, choose one with decent quality, whether a casual paddleboarding outfit, a full wetsuit, or a drysuit.

2. Price

You don’t need to spend over your budget to get a good outfit. Find an outfit that is practical and reasonably priced. Take your time to research products online that fit effortlessly into your budget. 

3. Material

When picking your paddleboarding wear, consider the outfit’s material. For casual paddle boarding wear, look for comfortable materials, like polyester, spandex or lycra. You must confirm that the fabric is:

  • Breathable, 
  • Quick-drying,
  • Insulating (for winter seasons),
  • UV protective (for summer seasons),
  • Windproof and 
  • Water-resistant

4. Fit

For your paddleboarding wear to be comfortable, it must fit perfectly. To determine the right fit, 

  • Make sure to get the right size for your clothing. 
  • Ensure that the outfit is not restricting, as you would need to have free movement of your body for the most performance on the water. 
  • Your outfit should not be too tight or big. For drysuits, ensure that it fits well after layering


Paddleboarding is a great water sport that anyone can enjoy with the right amount of practice and passion. Before you plan your trip, you need to determine what to wear. Following this guide, you should be able to pick out outfits that would ensure your comfort and safety without compromising on performance. Have fun paddleboarding!