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What To Wear Paddleboarding: Your Ultimate Guide for Comfort and Safety

When it comes to paddleboarding, choosing the right clothing is crucial for both comfort and safety. Not only do you need to be able to move freely and comfortably, but you also need to protect yourself from the elements and potential hazards in the water. Additionally, being properly dressed can help you stay visible to other boaters and paddlers, reducing the risk of accidents.

What To Wear Paddleboarding: Your Ultimate Guide for Comfort and Safety

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Whether you’re an experienced paddleboarder or just starting out, understanding the importance of choosing the right clothing can help you make informed decisions about what to wear. In the following sections, we’ll explore some of the best clothing options for paddleboarding, as well as accessories, materials, and tips for dressing for the weather and water conditions. Let’s get started!

Best Clothing Options for Paddleboarding: From Wetsuits to Rash Guards and Board Shorts

Choosing the right clothing is essential to enjoy a comfortable and safe paddleboarding experience. Here are some of the best clothing options to consider:

What To Wear Paddleboarding: Your Ultimate Guide for Comfort and Safety

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  • Wetsuits: Ideal for cold water or weather conditions, wetsuits provide thermal insulation to keep you warm and dry. Choose a wetsuit that fits snugly and comfortably and allows free movement of your arms and legs.
  • Rash Guards: These shirts provide protection against chafing and skin irritation caused by friction or exposure to the sun. They also offer some level of UV protection and are available in short and long sleeves.
  • Board Shorts: These shorts are designed specifically for water sports and are made of quick-drying and lightweight fabric. Look for board shorts with a comfortable waistband and secure pockets to keep your essentials safe.

It is best to avoid cotton clothing as it becomes heavy and uncomfortable when wet. Opt for synthetic materials that dry quickly and wick moisture away from your skin.

Remember to choose clothing that fits comfortably and allows free movement of your arms and legs. Baggy or loose clothing can interfere with your paddling and can be a safety hazard.

Accessories and Gear to Enhance Your Paddleboarding Experience: PFDs, Hats, Sunglasses, and Footwear

Aside from wearing the right clothing, you should also consider wearing the right gear and accessories to make your paddleboarding experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Here are some essential accessories and gear to bring on your next paddleboarding adventure:

What To Wear Paddleboarding: Your Ultimate Guide for Comfort and Safety

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PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices)

A PFD is a must-have for any water activity, including paddleboarding. It’s a piece of equipment that can save your life in case of an emergency. Always wear a coast guard-approved PFD that fits you properly. Make sure it doesn’t hinder your movement and allows you to paddle easily. You can choose from different types of PFDs, including:

  • Traditional foam PFDs
  • Inflatable PFDs
  • Hybrid PFDs

Hats and Sunglasses

Wearing a hat and sunglasses can help protect you from the sun’s harmful rays, reduce glare, and improve your visibility. Choose a hat that fits well and won’t fly off your head if the wind picks up. When it comes to sunglasses, polarized lenses are highly recommended to prevent eye fatigue and enhance your view of the water.


Footwear is another essential item to consider when paddleboarding. The type of footwear you wear will depend on the water and weather conditions. In warm temperatures, you can wear flip-flops, water shoes, or sandals. In cooler temperatures, you may want to wear neoprene booties or water shoes with a thicker sole to keep your feet warm. Make sure your footwear is comfortable and won’t slip off your feet.

By wearing the right accessories and gear, you can have a safer and more enjoyable paddleboarding experience. Make sure to invest in quality items that fit you well and suit your needs.

Choosing the Right Materials and Fabrics: Quick-Drying, Breathable, and Sun-Protective Options

When it comes to paddleboarding clothing, choosing the right materials and fabrics is crucial. You want to make sure that your clothing is comfortable, breathable, and dries quickly. Additionally, sun protection is also important as you’ll be exposed to the sun for prolonged periods.

What To Wear Paddleboarding: Your Ultimate Guide for Comfort and Safety

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Quick-Drying Materials

Opt for materials such as polyester and nylon as they are quick-drying and moisture-wicking. These materials will quickly wick away any sweat or water and dry quickly, preventing chafing and discomfort. Avoid cotton clothing as it takes longer to dry and can cause discomfort.

Breathable Materials

Choose clothes made from breathable materials such as mesh or those with mesh inserts. These materials allow air to circulate and keep you cool and comfortable during strenuous activity. Breathable materials are especially important in warm weather to prevent overheating and excessive sweating.

Sun-Protective Options

When it comes to sun protection, opt for clothing made from UPF-rated fabrics. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and it measures the UV radiation protection provided by the fabric. Look for lightweight and breathable fabrics with UPF 50+ protection to keep you safe from harmful UV rays.

In addition to choosing clothing made from UPF-rated fabrics, consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and applying a water-resistant and sweat-resistant sunscreen.

Tips for Dressing for the Weather and Water Conditions: Cold Weather, Hot Weather, and High Waves

When paddleboarding, it is crucial to dress appropriately, depending on the weather and water conditions. Here are some tips to help you choose the best outfit for your paddleboarding adventure:

What To Wear Paddleboarding: Your Ultimate Guide for Comfort and Safety

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Cold Weather

  • Wear a wetsuit to keep you warm and dry during cold weather. An insulated wetsuit with a thick neoprene layer is ideal for cold weather conditions.
  • Add layers of clothing to your wetsuit to provide extra warmth. Wear a thermal top or a jacket, gloves, and a beanie to keep your head warm.
  • Choose footwear that is waterproof, insulated, and provides traction, such as neoprene boots or wet shoes.

Hot Weather

  • Wear light and breathable clothing that allows your skin to breathe and wicks away sweat. Rash guards and board shorts are perfect for hot weather conditions.
  • Choose clothing that provides sun protection, such as long-sleeve rash guards and hats with a brim to shade your face.
  • Invest in sunglasses with UV protection to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare on the water.

High Waves

  • Wear a wetsuit or dry suit to protect you from getting wet in high waves. A dry suit with a waterproof barrier will keep you dry and warm.
  • Choose PFDs (personal flotation devices) that fit well and will keep you afloat if you fall off your board in rough water. Make sure they have a bright color to be visible in the water.
  • Choose footwear with good traction to keep you stable on your board, such as neoprene boots or sneakers with a non-slip sole.

By following these tips for dressing appropriately for paddleboarding, you can ensure a safe and comfortable experience on the water, no matter what the weather or water conditions may be.


Now that you know what to wear paddleboarding, you can make sure that you are comfortable and safe on the water. Remember to choose clothing that is suitable for the weather and water conditions, and that offers the right balance of protection, flexibility, and breathability.

What To Wear Paddleboarding: Your Ultimate Guide for Comfort and Safety

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Don’t forget to invest in accessories and gear that can enhance your paddleboarding experience, such as PFDs, hats, sunglasses, and footwear. Choose materials and fabrics that are quick-drying, breathable, and sun-protective to keep you comfortable and healthy.

Ultimately, the perfect paddleboarding outfit depends on your needs and preferences, so take the time to experiment with different options and find what works best for you. Whether you prefer wetsuits or boardshorts, rash guards or T-shirts, you can enjoy the thrill of paddleboarding with the right clothing and gear.