Did you know that the origins of paddle boarding span all the way back to 1,000 BC?
Back then, paddle boards were made of reeds that were woven together. Today, however, our technology is much more advanced and our paddle boards are faster and more efficient than ever.
But what about your paddle boarding outfit? Not many people realize that the clothes you wear while practicing this sport are just as important (if not more so) than the board itself. But why is the clothing you wear while paddle boarding so important in the first place?
More than that, what kind of clothes should you wear depending on the season and other factors? After all, one set of paddle boarding clothes during the summer might not be a good set of clothes once the colder seasons set in. Keep reading and learn more about why choosing the right paddle boarding outfit is so important below.
Why Is Choosing the Right Paddle Boarding Outfit Important?
If you’re new to paddle boarding, you might think that the only thing you need to wear is a simple bathing suit. In certain conditions, this might be true, but it isn’t true all the time. As a matter of fact, if you try wearing only a bathing suit in certain conditions, you will find that your paddle boarding excursion will go south pretty fast.
What to wear paddle boarding isn’t a question of fashion but rather a question of safety and efficiency. This is important to consider because you can never predict what the weather is going to do. It might seem like a sunny, calm day at first, but within minutes, a bad storm with strong winds and heavy rain might roll in and catch you when you least expect it.
For that reason, you will want to be as prepared as possible when you go paddle boarding. Otherwise, you might end up too cold, too hot, or way too wet. You should also consider how you will need to change your clothes depending on the season.
If you live in an area where the temperatures in the summer and winter are more or less the same, you won’t have to worry about this too much. But if you live in a location where the winters get pretty cold, you will need to do a lot more preparing before you go paddle boarding. Otherwise, being out in the cold water could be very dangerous.
You could also face dangers if the weather is too hot. While this might all sound like a lot to consider, it is important not to disregard the importance of choosing the right clothes when going out on the water. In particular, the one thing your paddling excursion should never be without is a life jacket.
Don’t Forget Your Life Jacket
When putting together your sleek and stylish paddle boarding attire, you might be tempted to leave your life jacket behind. After all, it is bulky and not at all attractive. More than that, not everyone who goes out on the water uses one.
Many people fall into the trap of abandoning their life jackets because they think that the jackets will make them look uncool. However, you will find that looking uncool is the last thing you’ll care about when your life is at stake. Having a life jacket with you when you go paddle boarding is one of the most important decisions you can make.
As long as you have a life jacket with you, most of the dangers of paddle boarding are reduced, if not eliminated. However, you shouldn’t throw on any old life jacket. Instead, you will want to choose a USCG-approved life jacket.
Life Jacket Rules
What does this mean exactly, you might ask? A USCG-approved life jacket is a jacket that is approved by the US Coast Guard. This is important because the US Coast Guard considers a paddle board a vessel, making it a requirement to wear this kind of life jacket while paddle boarding.
The only exception to this is if you decide to try stand-up paddle boarding instead, also known as SUP surfing. Since SUP surfing is quite different from regular paddle boarding, the US Coast Guard does not require you to wear a life jacket. Even so, wearing a life jacket could still be a very good idea because it will minimize any risks you might encounter while out on the water.
If you really don’t like wearing life jackets but know you have to wear one anyway, don’t worry because there are many life jacket variations that are more modern than the big, bulky life jackets you might be used to. In particular, there are some life jackets that are very streamlined and don’t get in the way of your paddle boarding activities at all.
Some even tie around your waist instead of encompassing your entire upper body.
Paddle Boarding Attire to Wear When It’s Hot
During the summer when it’s hot, there are many options you can choose from when it comes to choosing clothes to wear while paddle boarding. You will find that many people who go paddle boarding during the summer only wear a simple bathing suit. Women might wear bikinis while men might wear simple swim trunks.
Whatever the case, you should choose a high-quality bathing suit that won’t get in your way when paddle boarding. Of course, you don’t have to wear a bathing suit if you don’t want to. There are also many types of activewear that are resistant to water that you can wear when out on your board.
Keep in mind, however, that the more skin you keep exposed when out and about, the more you will have to worry about using sunscreen. Many people ditch sunscreen in favor of getting a tan, but this can be a bad idea if you don’t know when to limit your sun exposure. While a little bit of sun exposure can give you a nice tan, too much can cause your skin to burn.
Once your skin burns, it will heal with time, but the skin cells themselves will be irreversibly damaged. They will be weaker than before and you will actually be more likely to burn again in the future as a result. More than that, this continuous damage to your skin can put you at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
This is not to mention that too much sun exposure can also make your skin wrinkle prematurely. Your skin might even become leathery and covered in sunspots as you age. To fix this problem, you will want to cover your body with sunscreen that is at least SPF 30.
If you plan on spending a lot of time in the sun, your sunscreen should be stronger than this, around SPF 50. Keep in mind that you will also need to use sunscreen even when it’s cloudy since the sun’s UV rays can pierce the clouds.
You can also wear a sun hat while paddle boarding. If you want, you can use paddle boarding shoes to protect your feet, but this isn’t necessary.
Paddle Boarding Attire to Wear When It’s Cold
When it’s cold outside, the last thing you want to wear when paddle boarding is your summer bikini or swim trunks. This is important because when you start paddling in the winter months, your clothes are not only for comfort but also for paddle boarding safety. As the temperature drops, you will want to start wearing a paddle boarding wet suit.
A wet suit is made of a very thick material that will keep your body temperature stable. That way, even if you go swimming in freezing cold water, you will be safe and you won’t have to worry about getting hypothermia for a long time. You should wear a wetsuit even if you don’t plan on getting in the water.
There is always the chance that you could lose your balance and fall into the water. If not, the wet suit will still protect you from the cold air and wind above the water. This is especially true if it starts to rain.
You will want to opt for a neoprene paddle boarding suit. This suit is designed to keep a layer of water between your skin and the suit. The heat of your body will warm up this water layer and keep you warm for a long time.
You will want to make sure that your suit fits you perfectly, otherwise, it might not work very well and you might end up getting very cold when out on the water. Keep in mind that thicker suits will provide you with more warmth.
However, very thick suits may not be necessary if the water isn’t all that cold. If the water is very cold, you shouldn’t hesitate to add shoes and gloves designed to keep your fingers and toes warm when out on the water. However, you’ll only need shoes and gloves if the temperature drops below 50 degrees.
You might also benefit from a wetsuit that has a hood attached to it. That way, it will keep the majority of your head warm, including your ears and neck. If the temperature is above 50 degrees, you might not even need a wet suit if you don’t want to buy one.
Instead, if the weather is only a bit chilly, you can opt for a pair of leggings and a long-sleeve shirt. Preferably, these clothes should be resistant to the water.
The Details of Paddle Boarding Attire
When it comes to the details of paddle boarding attire, you should know that what you wear depends a lot on what you plan on doing on your paddle board.
For example, if you plan on SUP surfing, you can be a little more versatile with your clothing choices since, most likely, you won’t actually end up getting in the water. In this case, you can risk wearing clothing that isn’t water-resistant, especially in cold weather.
For example, if you’re stand-up paddle boarding down a calm, cold river, you can opt for a wool hat and a puffy coat to keep you warm. Of course, you will want to make sure that you have good balance so you don’t end up falling in the water and get all of your warm clothes wet. You can also opt for clothes that aren’t resistant to water in the summer.
For example, to protect yourself from the sun, you can wear a long-sleeve shirt and ordinary pants while on your paddle board. You can even bring a pair of sunglasses if you’re confident that you won’t lose them.
Fishing and Yoga
For those who like to fish while paddle boarding, you can pretty much wear the same clothes you would wear when on a fishing boat. A T-shirt and shorts would be ideal, but you can choose to wear an ordinary bathing suit as well. Wearing paddle boarding shoes and gloves while fishing is important because the last thing you want to do is accidentally hook one of your fingers or toes.
But what about paddle boarding yoga? In this case, you still have many options. Some people like to wear bathing suits while others prefer to wear water-resistant activewear.
Choosing the Best Paddle Boarding Outfit
Choosing the best paddle boarding outfit for you doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you know what to consider. For example, when choosing your attire, you will want to think about the weather and the temperature. That way, you can plan ahead and make sure that your paddle boarding adventure is as smooth and comfortable as possible.
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