Winter SUP Clothing Guide


Paddle surfing in the winter may sound silly if you’re used to frolicking in bikinis and boardshorts, but it’s not without its appeal. The idea is to dress appropriately. There is no such thing as bad weather, only lousy attire.

Unlike surfers, you’ll spend substantially less time (perhaps none at all) submerged in the water with SUP, thus you have a little more leeway in terms of clothes. Some paddlers may boldly set out in jeans and a jumper, but it’s always going to be a bit of a risk, so heed our advice and slap on some neoprene – you’ll be grateful if you wind up having a dip.

It’s worth mentioning that if you’re going SUP surfing rather than just paddling on flat water, you’d be better off acquiring a thick 5mm wetsuit to keep you warm while you wait for the waves, as well as checking out our winter surf equipment tips.

For the rest of you, keep reading to find out what you should be wearing from head to toe…

When you’re standing on a board, your head will be exposed, so it goes without saying that wearing a helmet or beanie in the winter is a good idea. A regular woollen hat is excellent, but if you’re not completely confident in your ability to stay dry, a neoprene beanie like this O’Neill one is a terrific option because it’s meant to keep you warm even while wet.

Imagine trying to paddle when you can’t feel your fingertips, how difficult would it be? Neoprene gloves can keep your hands warm even if they get wet, but choose a pair with a good grip on the palms or your paddle may slip in your hands.

For SUP, a long john wetsuit is preferable over a complete suit because it provides for more flexibility of movement in the arms and shoulders and allows for greater mobility. If you’re feeling chilly, throw a neoprene top underneath, or quickly roll it down if you’re paddling hard enough to overheat a little.

If you don’t want water near your skin, a drysuit can be a viable option for you. It will completely keep the water out, keeping you dry if you fall in (apart from your head, of course). However, if it is not a drysuit specifically made for paddle boarders, they can be a little thicker than a wetsuit and a little more restricted in the upper body.
The foundation layer

You want to wear something lightweight beneath the upper layer, but it may also need to be warm, depending on how chilly it gets. A rash vest is a simple option that will be comfortable under neoprene, but for further insulation, consider (more!) neoprene or a polypro top with a water-repelling, fleece-like lining. When making this decision, consider whether you feel cold quickly, but also bear in mind that you’ll get warm while paddling. Thermal base layers can be purchased here.

You may want to wear a separate top and bottom combo instead of a wetsuit or drysuit, either for variety or just because it is more comfortable. While keeping the torso warm is important, you should also avoid inhibiting upper body movement when layering. Jackets can be purchased here.
Leggings made of neoprene

Yes, even more neoprene. It’s fantastic. Neoprene leggings are an excellent choice. Because so much of SUP action occurs in the upper body, it’s easy for your legs to become cold while the rest of you remains warm. You’re also likely to get your legs wet when launching/landing, so neoprene is a good choice. Palm Men’s Neoflex Trousers are ideal, albeit on extremely chilly days, you may want a thicker neoprene, as these are only 0.5mm thick.

Wear wetsuit boots to avoid getting cold feet on the water. A few centimetres of neoprene will make a big difference in your toes, but search for a robust non-slip sole to make launching, landing, and staying stable on the board easier.

If you currently have summer boots and don’t want to upgrade, or if you get particularly cold, pick up a pair of neoprene or thermal socks to wear under your boots the next time you go out.

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