What to wear paddle boarding in the winter, summer and autumn/spring
Most of us aren't lucky enough to live in locations that are consistently warm all year round, with these temperature fluctuations, inevitably comes the need for different SUP attire to match the season.
If you are strictly a summer SUP-er then you should be fine with one standard paddle board outfit, however for dedicated all year round paddleboarders you are going to need a few variations to make sure that you don’t catch a chill in the cooler months and likewise don’t over heat in the summer months.
Paddle boarding in summer
Summer is typically most paddle boarders' favourite time of the year, aside from the glorious sunshine and inviting temperatures, summer is also the easiest season to dress for paddle boarding. With most European countries hitting average air temperatures of 20 degrees in summer months, there is minimal risk of a chill when being out on the water.
In terms of clothing, it depends what you will be most comfortable in. Some people are happy to go paddle boarding in little more than their swimming costumes, but we would recommend some good board shorts and a lightweight t-shirt with another light layer for backup in case of a cooler breeze
Aside from the clothing, it is important to be sun smart when paddling boarding in summer, at some point we’ve all been tricked by the cool sea breeze and ended up with intense sunburn. In order to avoid sunburn and other nasty post-sun side effects such as heatstroke and sunstroke, it is important to monitor the amount of time you are out on the water for. Wearing a paddle boarding sun hat will help to keep the sun off of your face and neck whilst you are out on the water offering some protection, you should also make time for regular sunscreen top-ups and water breaks.
Paddle boarding in winter
For some of us, the thought of paddle boarding in near freezing temperatures seems crazy, however if you’re dressed correctly it can be just as fun as warmer months. It is important to keep in mind that however cold it is outside of the water, the temperature of the water is going to be far colder so you need to consider the possibility of falling in.
Exceptionally confident paddle boarders may opt for jeans and jumpers, but there is always going to be a level of risk involved with this approach as no matter how experienced you are, there is the chance you could end up taking an unplanned dip (yes even you!). Even without falling in, standing up on a paddleboard in the middle of open water in winter is going to leave you pretty exposed to the elements, so you’re going to want to be wrapped up.
For the most wallet friendly option, investing in some good base layers, thermal socks and waterproof top/trousers is a good idea. When choosing base layers for cooler conditions, avoid cotton T-shirts as once wet, they wick heat away from the body and take a long time to dry. Thermal base layers and man-made materials will be much warmer when wet and dry faster. Then for extras, you could get some neoprene gloves which will keep your hands warm even if they are wet and a warm hat. If you would rather splash out, then wetsuits and drysuits are also an option and will offer the most protection from the cold water if you fall in. However, keep in mind that a full wetsuit is much trickier to peel off halfway through your session so they are better suited to very cold conditions or when frequently in the water, such as when SUP surfing.
If you are planning on paddle boarding in cold temperatures then make sure that you scrub up on your cold water safety knowledge - it could save your life!
Paddle boarding in Autumn/Spring
For spring and autumn paddle boarding, you may need to swap and add a few layers to your summer attire in order to keep comfortable on the water. You could change your board shorts for some neoprene leggings and add an extra top layer with a light waterproof jacket. It ultimately will depend on how sensitive you are to cold temperatures, you can add as many layers as you like, just remember that paddle boarding is an active sport so you are likely to warm up after a while so be careful not to over dress. For this reason, Neoprene jackets are becoming very popular, as you have a warm-when-wet top layer which protects from the wind and rain but also can be easily unzipped to cool down or easily removed when paddling hard.
We think paddle boarding is great fun all year round - so wrap up warm and make the most of it!