What to wear when stand up paddle boarding.

What to wear when stand up paddle boarding can be a confusing decision. Here in the UK no two days of weather are ever the same. And water temperatures can fluctuate through the year. Also, our sea, lakes and rivers are never quite at the levels you’d expect based on seasonality. For example, seas are at their coldest in spring. Even though air temperatures will have risen.

SUP disciplines also play their part. You wouldn’t necessarily be wanting to wear a 5/3mm wetsuit if only flat water paddling for instance. So what to wear?

Immersion vs non-immersion.

Your choice of SUP attire should be considered based on how much time in the drink you think you may be spending. When riding waves aboard your stand up paddle board there’s a high probability of taking a dunking – it goes with the territory. Paddling in some far flung tropical climate may be all well and good in boardies or bikinis. Unfortunately, we don’t get many days like that in the UK.

NCW 4 3 back zip gulf stream wetsuit idea for sup use
A 4mm wetsuit may be the best call during summer if you’re stand up paddling in waves.

If waves are your thing then you’ll need to consider seasonality. During any given month a wetsuit will need to be worn. In winter thicker neoprene (around 5/3mm) will be the best bet. During summer some rubber can be shed so 3mm can be gotten away with. Although if it’s cooler weather you’re faced with then perhaps a 4mm will be better.

Flat water SUP attire.

The majority of stand up paddle boarders occupy stretches of flat water. There’s less wiping out so less garments need to be worn. Good practice will see paddlers layer up. Lightweight wicking tees, leggings or thin neoprene tops can be combined with fleeces if needs be.

Should you get warm during your sesh (which is highly likely) these layers can be removed and stowed in (ideally) a waterproof dry bag affixed to your SUP’s deck. If you need to reapply clothing then you can do so with the knowledge it’ll be moisture free.

Layers you can easily remove and re-add is a good idea for flat water SUP sessions.

Spare SUP wear.

Even the best paddlers fall in from time to time. It’s therefore a good idea to carry a few extra dry essentials when on the flat or touring. You don’t need to be too laden down but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Finally, you may also have a few handy layers for when you get back to shore. Being able to quickly change (under a change robe is always a good idea) and get into something snuggly increases your overall paddling enjoyment.

Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co. Classic stand up paddle board 9'11 / 10'6 painted glass / Paulownia wood fins. #27
If your kids SUP (or spend any length of time in the water) their attire needs to be correct.

Ultimately there’s no right or wrong solution when it comes to SUP wear. You’re better to be over prepared than under though.

NCW stocks a range of kit that can be used for stand up paddle boarding. Check out the NCW webshop for more or get in touch with any queries.