Anyone who has seen surfers on the beach or catching waves will be familiar with wetsuits. Recently people have been asking me, “Do you need a wetsuit for paddleboarding?”. Unless you’ve been lucky enough to SUP in the more tropical regions of the world, most of us won’t stay in the water long before we’re back on the beach looking for the warmth of the sun. 

The answer is no, unless you are going to be paddle surfing or in rough water where you might fall in the water. If you find yourself in water temperatures below 75 f, then experts would say you should wear a wetsuit if the water temperature is above 75 f they doubt wetsuits are beneficial.

How do wetsuits work?

wetsuits for paddleboarding

They design wetsuits using a specialist material called neoprene. Despite what you might think, this material actually allows water to get inside the suit. It then traps this water between the material and your body and it warms up. Creating a warm, protective layer to help keep you warm while you’re in colder water. It’s important that you purchase the right wetsuit. Ensure it fits snugly to your body and keeps that thin layer of water inside.

What are the benefits of wetsuits?

Wetsuits offer people a level of protection and warmth, especially when operating in conditions where air and water temperatures are cooler. Wearing the correct wetsuit can help you remain warm and prevent problems such as hypothermia.

Other benefits of wearing a wetsuit for paddle boarding include:

  • They offer a level of buoyancy.
  • Helps you remain warmer in colder air and water conditions.
  • The suit itself can absorb some impact should you fall into the water.
  • They design the suit to stay on your body regardless of the water conditions.
  • Fool what suits cover most of your body and help keep it warm.

What should you look for in a good wetsuit?

Paddleboard wesuit

When purchasing a wetsuit there are a series of different factors to consider. You need to factor in the conditions you’ll be facing and purchase a wetsuit designed to keep you warm enough. 

Factors include how active you will be, the air, wind, and water temperatures will be. These will help you decide on how thick a wetsuit you’ll need. The amount of neoprene it contains dictated the thicknesses of a wetsuit. Thicker wetsuits are obviously more beneficial in colder conditions, however they’re more difficult to operate in as they’re less flexible.

For example, if you are partaking in a triathlon you will need a more flexible wetsuit when compared to someone who is just riding an SUP. When paddle boarding, the vast majority of wetsuits will be just fine. But a basic guideline to start with is as follows.

if you intend to operate your paddle board in water conditions that are below 60 f then you should wear a 5/3 mm or 4/3 mm wetsuit otherwise a 3/2mm suit should be fine.

What to wear when paddleboarding? 

Paddleboarding is one of the most entertaining experiences you ever undertake, however there are some things that can make your day miserable including rain, gusting winds, and the wrong clothing. 

Mostly the weather will remain unpredictable, but you can bring different clothing to allow for different circumstances. Before you set off on a paddleboarding trip, you need to ensure you pack clothing to keep you comfortable at all times while you’re on the water. 

When you ask experts about what they recommend you wear when paddle boarding a wetsuit isn’t the first thing on their list. They want to ensure your overall safety so they recommend you have a leash and a USCG approved life jacket. Because the US coast guard recognizes your SUP as a vessel, you are legally obliged to wear a USCG approved life jacket when operating one. The only exception is if you are using your SUP for surfing. 

In terms of personal floatation devices you can choose from a wide variety of jackets that come in different sizes, styles and colors. Most SUPers prefer the more compact, smaller life jackets they can buckle around their waist. You can even purchase ones that have been specifically designed for paddleboarding. These are easy to use and safely fit around your waist to allow you more maneuverability..

Paddleboarding Without A Wetsuit

Paddleboarding Without A Wetsuit

If you have experienced paddle boarding in Warner weather, you may have occasionally dived off your SUP to enjoy the water and even cool off. Because of this, in wearing comfortable water resistant active layer including a bathing suit and a short sleeve rash guard is advisable.

The vast majority of paddle boarders will wear either swimsuits, one pieces or bikinis for women or board shorts for men. If paddling in warmer weather, the attire you choose should be comfortable and dry out quickly 

One tip we will always give is that you ensure you have an ample supply of waterproof sunscreen. Especially if you find yourselves vacation spotlight Florida where you’ll see hundreds of paddle boarders every summer most of them will be paired with a high-quality waterproof UV protection sunscreen.

Paddleboarding With A Wetsuit

Paddleboarding With A Wetsuit

As we mentioned above, the most common use of paddleboards in colder weather is SUP surfing. Even the most hardcore SCP surfers will not want to find themselves on the beach in the middle of winter facing waters that are below 50 f without the right wetsuit

If you plan to do this, you’ll need a high-quality wetsuit as the possibility of ending up in the water following a wipe out is much higher.

This is not something you want to experience in colder weather and without the right protection. Ensure your wetsuit is wee designed and snug enough to trap that small portion of water inside your suit, between the outer layer in your skin. 

When you find yourself in cold winter waters, this thin layer of warm water will be your best friend. It can keep you warm and allow you to safely get back on your paddle board with no danger of hypothermia.