the SUP guru

fully clothed man and woman stand up paddle boarding on a river

What to Wear Stand Up Paddle Boarding – A Top to Bottom Guide

Do you want your trunks, top, and visor to match?

How about your rock-hard set of abs with your hella-good hair?

A carefully coordinated bikini that matches your SUP board skin would be insanely cool too!

If you’re getting ready for SUPping season, the most important thing to match is your paddle boarding outfit with the weather. Let’s dive straight into what to wear, what not to wear, and when to wear it!

What to Wear Paddle Boarding (for Men & Women)

fully clothed man and woman stand up paddle boarding on a river

Year-Round Equipment

To kick things off, let’s start stripping it down with the must-have equipment you’ll need for SUPping whether the sun is out or not. Most importantly, you’ll need a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) to stay compliant with the law (and for your safety). For the Winter paddling session, consider the standard PFD. For really hot Summer days, consider the better performace-based inflatable jacket that can be worn around the waist.

onyx PFD beltYou’ll also need to pack on board a whistle and a flashlight if you plan on SUPping after dark.

Sunscreen is also a must-have. No set of rock-hard abs look sexy when they’re red-hot and peeling – ew!

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Heads Up!

During the Summer, you’ll definitely want to wear a hat to protect and shade your face. You really have no idea how much sunlight reflects off water directly into your face, especially when there’s a cool breeze disguising the hidden damage being done.

FCS Wet CapIf you’re SUPping in rivers, it’s probably a good idea to wear a river rafting helmet. Don’t forget, a simple pair of sunglasses can serve as eye protection while SUPping!

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Tops and Middles

Many recreational SUPpers who hit the lake tend to throw on whatever they’ve got in the closet. A pair of shorts and a t-shirt, and while we having nothing against this, we think you can do better that.

For warm days, waterproof clothing is a must. A rashguard is the perfect top to wear to dry and wick quickly. A one-piece swimsuit is also a good alternative for females if you don’t own a rashguard.

woman's long sleeve rash guardFor those really toasty days, guys often like to go nude – well, nude on top. Women like to sport bikinis. This isn’t uncommon to see while SUPping, and it makes it easier to go for a dip without extra layers slowing you down and getting in the way. Just be sure to lather on the waterproof sunscreen, eye protection, and get chic with the hats!

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Bottoms Up!

mens hybrid shortsBoard shorts and swimming trunks are excellent options for both men and women.

Stay away from enormous, ill-fitting pairs. They can drag you down, make getting back on board difficult, and of course, the chafing and rashes should be a deterrent in itself.

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Footwear – What Shoes to Wear Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Sneakers, flip flops, and sandals are never a good idea to wear while paddle boarding. This makes figuring out what shoes to wear when paddle boarding even harder to choose.

SUPping deep waters like the ocean and lakes are easy to get away with going bare foot. However, when you’ve got rocky terrain, oyster banks, and mud that you can suck you in, getting cut-up and boggy, pruny feet is never an enjoyable experience. l-run unisex water shoes

You might want to consider water shoes and/or those 5-finger aqua shoes.

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Winter Wear: What to Wear Paddle Boarding in Winter

The rules do change when it comes to figuring out what to wear when paddle boarding in Winter. If you’re going for a casual paddling session or touring, you can save some money by forgoing the wet suit. As an alternative, go with insulated rash guards, thermal-based layers, and waterproof and windproof tops and trousers.

However, if you’re riding waves, you’ll definitely have to spend some cash on a 5/4/3 mm or even 6/5/4 mm full-length wetsuit. Gloves, hats, and neoprene boots will help keep you SUPping through the coldest months. High quality, waterproof, and wind-resistant thin layers are better regulators 3mm full wetsuitof temperature than overdressing while SUPping.

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What to Wear for SUP Yoga

You can pretty much follow the above SUP clothing tips for SUP yoga wear as well. Typical yoga clothing is definitely appropriate. Shorter pants, lots of sunscreen, and comfort is the key to maximizing your yoga session on board.


SUP it Up!

To SUP things up, it’s better to be appropriately dressed for your type of SUPping and the weather than it is to cater to vanity. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t look hot while paddling away.

Choose the right gear, mix and match colors, and keep your skin protected. Don’t worry about how your hair looks. Wet and wind-blown hair looks sexy on everyone. It’s a SUPpin’ win when you’ve got the outfit to match your SUP style!

If you want to shop for the best paddle boards you can see our paddleboard reviews here.