Did you know that more than 3 million people in the United States alone have tried paddleboarding at least once? This fast-growing water sport is popular for its fun, accessible nature and great physical benefits. However, something many beginners overlook is what to wear while paddleboarding. Choosing the right attire can enhance your experience, provide comfort, and even ensure safety.
The Importance of Paddleboarding Attire
Before we dive into the specifics of what to wear while paddleboarding, it is vital to understand why it matters. Many people might think that any swimsuit or active wear would suffice for this activity. However, paddleboarding requires special considerations for attire because it involves long hours on the water with exposure to various weather conditions and water temperatures. The right attire can protect you from the sun, keep you warm or cool depending on the weather and even prevent chafing or other discomfort caused by wet clothing. It can also help in maintaining buoyancy and providing safety in case of accidents.
Factors Influencing Your Paddleboarding Attire
The ideal clothing for paddleboarding can vary greatly depending on several factors. These factors include the weather, water temperature, duration of your paddling session, your skill level, and the specific paddleboarding activities you plan to engage in.
Weather and Water Temperature
One of the most crucial factors influencing your paddleboarding clothing is the ambient weather and water temperature. If you are paddleboarding in hot summer weather with warm water temperatures, lightweight and breathable clothing such as a rash guard and board shorts may be sufficient. On colder days or when the water is chilly, you may need to consider wearing a wetsuit or drysuit to maintain your body temperature and prevent hypothermia. Even if the air feels warm, remember that water temperatures can often be significantly lower, and when you are wet, you can cool down quickly. Therefore, it is always better to dress for the water temperature rather than the air temperature.
Duration of Paddle Session
The amount of time you plan to spend on the water also greatly influences what you should wear. If you are going out for a quick paddle, your clothing choices may not matter as much. However, if you are planning a long paddling session, comfort becomes more important. Clothing that keeps you dry and prevents chafing is essential for long paddle sessions.
Your skill level can also influence your choice of paddleboarding attire. Beginners who are more likely to fall into the water may want to wear wetsuits or other insulating clothing, even in warmer weather. More experienced paddleboarders who can avoid falling into the water might opt for lighter clothing.
Specific Paddleboarding Activities
The specific activities you plan to do while paddleboarding can also dictate your clothing choices. For example, if you are doing SUP yoga or other exercises on your board, flexible and snug-fitting clothing is a better choice. If you are going on a paddleboarding fishing trip, you might want clothes with pockets or attachments for holding gear.
Essential Clothing Items for Paddleboarding
Now that we have covered the factors that influence what to wear while paddleboarding, let us look at some essential clothing items that every paddleboarder should consider.
Rash guards are lightweight, breathable shirts that offer protection from the sun and prevent chafing from the paddleboard. They come in both long-sleeve and short-sleeve versions, depending on your preference and weather conditions.
Board Shorts or Swim Pants
Board shorts or swim pants are essential for lower body coverage. They are made from quick-drying material that prevents discomfort from wet clothing.
Wetsuits or Drysuits
If you are paddleboarding in colder weather or water, a wetsuit or drysuit is a must. Wetsuits work by trapping a thin layer of water between your skin and the suit, which your body heats up to keep you warm. Drysuits, on the other hand, keep you completely dry and are suitable for very cold conditions.
Water shoes can provide extra grip on the paddleboard, protect your feet from sharp objects in the water, and keep your feet warm in cold conditions.
In conclusion, what you wear while paddleboarding can greatly impact your comfort, safety, and overall experience. By considering factors such as weather, water temperature, paddling session duration, skill level, and specific activities, you can choose the right attire for your needs. Remember, the key is to dress for the water temperature rather than the air temperature and prioritize safety and comfort over style. Whether it is a simple rash guard and board shorts combo for warm weather or a full drysuit for cold conditions, make sure to pick outfits that enhance your paddleboarding experience rather than detract from it.