What To Wear Paddle Boarding

If you’re wondering what to wear paddle boarding, these are some things to consider, plus our top recommendations for comfy, practical gear.

It can be challenging to find the best clothing when paddleboarding. You may be overwhelmed with pictures of models enjoying the sun but are unsure if a swimsuit is the best option for your paddleboarding adventure. You may also feel like you need more protection than a simple bikini top or a pair of swim trunks.

Paddleboarding was commonplace as early as 3,000 BC. Many ancient civilizations used paddle boarding to travel, fish, or ferry across large bodies of water. Peru, Italy, and China are only some modern civilizations that have used this practice. 

what to wear paddle boarding

Native inhabitants of Hawaii are famous for all watersports, including paddle boarding. However, paddleboarding did not become a leisurely hobby until the 1920s. In the 1940s, many paddle boards were hollow wood.

Clothing for paddle boarding can be simple! First, consider what type of location to paddle board in and what specific needs you may have. Also consider wearing additional protection against the sun or elements.


Thing To Consider For Paddle Boarding Clothing

Before planning your outfit for your paddle boarding adventure, you should consider several factors about your trip. What clothing choice you decide will likely be determined by factors like the weather, the location you choose to paddle board, and how long you will be paddle boarding. 

The distance you travel will also have an impact on what you wear and what you will need.

Consider planning your adventure before you go to your local paddle board rental so you can have everything you need ahead of time.


The weather can impact your paddle boarding adventure in many ways. Warm weather may mean you will need extra water or protection from the sun. Paddleboarding in colder temperatures can mean that you will need a thin sweatshirt or a rash guard to keep you from getting chilly.

Paddleboarding during rainy seasons can be fun if there is no thunder or lightning present and may mean bringing a poncho or rain jacket.


The region of your adventure will impact your trip paddle boarding. If you are paddle boarding in a tropical location, you will likely need some extra UV protection and information on creatures in the area. For example, alligators frequent Florida paddle boarding locations.

Paddleboarding on the ocean can mean gathering information about current and riptides, and paddle boarding in rivers may mean being on the watch for ticks, snakes, or fish.

Related: Best Tick Repellent Clothing For Travel

what to wear paddle boarding

Distance and Time

Paddleboarding can be a strenuous activity and is an ideal anaerobic and aerobic exercise. Because you will burn many calories, you may need to keep extra food and water on you if your adventure exceeds two hours.

If you travel a long distance on your paddleboard, you may need a light backpack to store extra water and food.

What To Wear Paddle Boarding

Finding the best paddle boarding outfit is difficult, but using our list of what to wear while paddle boarding can help you make the best choices for your clothing. Each item has its benefits and disadvantages. Some clothing choices may not be ideal for you, but other options may be perfect for you and your adventure.

Consider your location, the weather, and how long you will be on the water.

Bathing Suit

A classic outfit for paddle boarding for women includes a simple two-piece swimsuit, like this one on Amazon. A bathing suit can offer you a wide range of movement and prevent overheating or excessive sweating.

A men’s pair of swimming trunks (or board shorts) can also offer a wide range of motion. Swimming trunks are typically flowy and may work well to help capture wind, encourage comfort, and make paddle boarding easy. They also dry quickly if you fall off your board.

Paddle Board Shorts

For women, a pair of paddle board shorts are usually short and provide plenty of room to move. If you fall in the water while paddle boarding, these shorts will not inhibit movement and will make resurfacing easy.

These shorts are form-fitting and cling to the skin, making swimming and paddling easy.

Waterproof Clothing

Waterproof socks, shorts, and shirts can keep you from getting rashes and welts from overexposure to salty, dirty, or murky water.

Consider buying waterproof socks and having an extra pair on long trips to prevent bacteria from finding a home on your feet. Some of these socks are designed for board and watersports, and have neoprene grips on the sole, making them perfect for paddle boarding in winter.

Rash Guard

Rash guards have natural UV protection and can help you forgo sunburns and negative impacts from sun exposure. Although a rash guard can have long sleeves, they offer more coverage than going shirtless or wearing a small top.

A rash guard can help keep your skin from chafing, prevent skin cancer, and retain your body’s warmth.

Light Sweatshirt

Paddleboarding in the fall and spring can be a challenge, but a light sweatshirt can make paddle boarding during these seasons more comfortable. If you’re outdoorsy, paddle boarding in the colder temperatures can be fun and offer a good avenue for alone time since many people won’t be on the water.

Using a light sweater can keep you feeling cozy while you enjoy the calm, crisp waters.

Additional Protection

You may need added layers of protection, depending on the nature of your adventure. UV rays may be strong or you may be paddle boarding in an area with extreme heat, no shade, or other factors. Adopting other wearable gear can keep you from getting sunburnt or suffering from the aging effects of the sun.

Paddleboarding in murky waters can be dangerous and may require additional protection to keep you safe and healthy.

Sun Hat

A sun hat can keep you from getting sunburnt and keep your skin healthy, especially your neck, face, and shoulders. A sun hat can work in tandem with sunscreen to offer an added layer of protection and keep you from suffering aging effects from the sun.

Using a hat with a chin strap can provide you with comfort, style, and protection during your paddle boarding adventure. Not to mention that it won’t blow away if it gets windy, and it’ll keep you safe from a nasty sunburn while you’re out on the water. 

Life Jacket

A life jacket is essential for paddle boarders who can’t swim, are uncomfortable in deep water, and those in an unfamiliar area. Currents can change quickly and lead to an accident or have you disoriented in the water.

A life jacket can protect you from drowning and keep your head above water in the event of an accident.

Sun Glasses

A pair of sports sunglasses can protect your vision from harsh sunlight and help you keep from furrowing your eyebrows. Furrowing your brows can cause wrinkles and aging effects. Sunglasses can keep the skin around your eyes safe from sunburn, damage, and overexposure. 

Sunglasses can block all UV radiation while maintaining the true colors of the world around you.

Light Backpack

A light backpack can be perfect storage during a long paddle boarding trip. Paddleboarding in a nature preserve or on the gentle ocean waters can be a perfect opportunity for pictures or snacking on the water. A light, drawstring backpack can hold everything you need without weighing you down.

A simple backpack can help you carry any extra essentials you may need, like water, food, or gear during your paddle boarding trip.

Can I Wear Yoga Pants While Paddle Boarding?

Yoga pants may seem like a good choice when paddle boarding. However, yoga pants may not be a good option for all occasions. Evaluate the weather and your location to determine if yoga pants are suitable paddle boarding clothing. 

For example, yoga pants are breathable and lightweight, but they may have plenty of latex that can limit your range of movement, making it hard to swim if you fall in the water.

Yoga pants may be suitable for paddle boarding in shallow water, shaded areas, or during the spring or fall when the weather is brisker. Yoga pants may also be best in areas where ticks are present. Pants are ideal in areas where pests are common because they prevent insects from sticking on your skin and transferring diseases.

Otherwise, you may want to choose lightweight swimming trunks or paddle boarding shorts that can offer you a better range of movement.

Final Thoughts – What To Wear Paddle Boarding

Paddle boarding is a fun and thrilling hobby or sport. However, it may be a challenge to know what to wear and what things to consider when choosing your outfit. 

Most paddle boarders enjoy wearing a swimsuit, rash guard, or a pair of paddle boarding shorts. However, you may want more protection. A thin sweatshirt, pair of yoga pants, or other clothing with high maneuverability is ideal for paddle boarding.

You may also want to consider bringing plenty of sun protection including a hat, sunscreen, or sunglasses. If you are a beginner, you should always wear a life jacket or safety device to assist if you fall off your paddle board or run into currents or winds.

Paddle boarding is an ancient and exciting activity, but you should prepare for your adventure by wearing the correct clothing. However, that choice is up to you, your location, the weather, and how far you intend to paddle.

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