Congratulations on your new paddle board! We understand that navigating through the overwhelming amount of advice and information can be challenging when it comes to finding the perfect wetsuit or even shorts for your paddleboarding adventures. Staying warm and comfortable while out on the water is crucial, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddleboarder. In this blog post, we aim to help you make the right decision by covering some of the best entry-level paddle board wetsuits and providing guidance tailored to your needs. Our goal is to ensure you stay warm and enjoy your time on the water.
If you’re budget-conscious and want to assess if paddleboarding fits your financial plans, we’ve got you covered. We’ll discuss some of the best entry-level paddle board wetsuits, providing you with the essential information necessary to make an informed decision. It’s common to encounter a mix of entry-level and high-end gear options, making it challenging to choose what to buy. One question that often arises is, “Do I really need this?” Many online reviews come from individuals with extreme budgets or limited experience, making it difficult to find guidance relevant to your specific needs. We understand this predicament and acknowledge that everyone wants the best value for their money. With proper research and exploration, you can find the perfect gear that fits your budget.
The guide below will be divided into different price ranges, offering insights into what you should consider when starting your paddleboarding journey. Please note that this guide does not cover all aspects comprehensively, but it provides enough information to help you make an informed decision based on your individual requirements. We understand that each person is unique, and their needs may vary.
This article primarily targets beginner to intermediate paddleboard enthusiasts who are looking to get started or upgrade their equipment. Our focus is on high-quality gear at reasonable prices, ensuring that most individuals will be satisfied with their budget-friendly purchases.
Once again, it’s important to note that this article serves as a guide and is not comprehensive. For more detailed reviews on some of the best gear available on the market, we recommend checking out our buyer’s guides elsewhere on the website.
But before we dive into the specifics, let’s begin with a brief overview of what paddle boards are and how they work.
- What is a Paddle Board?
- Choose the Right Swimwear for Paddleboarding
- Do i need a Rash Guard for Paddleboarding?
- Are wetsuits good for paddle boarding?
- What makes a good wetsuit?
- Best Wetsuits for Paddle Boarding
- Best Paddleboard Wetsuits for Women
- Do you wear shoes while paddle boarding?
- Personal Flotation Device
- Should I Buy A Changing Robe?
- Do I Need a Waterproof Bag for Paddleboarding?
- Sunscreen and Paddleboarding
- Our Verdict
What is a Paddle Board?
A Stand Up Paddle Board (or “SUP” for short) is a watercraft that combines the qualities of
kayaks and surfboards. The difference between a surfboard and a paddle board is that you use paddles to propel the board, as compared with a surfer who uses his or her body weight and arm movement to move the board along the water surface.
The paddle board features a very wide and flat surface that works to maximize the contact area between the water and the bottom of the board. As a result, weight is evenly dispersed across the entire length and width of the paddleboard, thereby reducing the pressure between rider and board.
This design makes it easy for users to stand up and paddle on it without worrying about pressure points or causing damage. This allows for a more comfortable ride with prolonged periods of use.
Due to the nature of paddle boarding, it is more likely you will spend a lot of time above the water, so mobility is key over actual thermal insulation.
it is, for this reason, we will recommend some of the thinner wetsuits or even “shorties” to get you started!
Choose the Right Swimwear for Paddleboarding
Selecting the right swimwear for paddleboarding is crucial, as it combines both functionality and style. While comfort and fashion are important, you must also consider the practical aspects of your outfit.
Firstly, prioritize swimwear that allows for a full range of motion. Opt for options that offer adequate support for your upper body and remain securely in place while you paddle. One-piece swimsuits, high-neckline bikini tops, or rash guards with built-in support are all excellent choices. Additionally, pay attention to the fabric of your swimwear. Quick-drying and moisture-wicking materials such as nylon and spandex are ideal, as they help keep you cool and dry during your paddleboarding session.
Sun protection is another crucial factor to consider. The sun’s rays can be harmful, particularly when reflected off the water’s surface. Look for swimwear that provides UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) coverage to shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Rash guards, swim tights, and swim shirts are excellent options that offer UPF coverage.
Lastly, don’t overlook your personal style preferences. Choose swimwear that aligns with your taste and makes you feel confident while on the water. Whether you prefer vibrant prints, timeless solids, or trendy cut-outs, there are numerous paddleboarding swimsuits available to cater to your individual style.
Do i need a Rash Guard for Paddleboarding?
If you’re planning to go paddleboarding, one clothing item that should be at the top of your list is a rash guard. A rash guard is a specialized swim shirt designed to offer several benefits while you’re out on the water.
The primary purpose of a rash guard is to protect your skin from the sun’s rays. It acts as a shield, minimizing your exposure to harmful UV radiation. This sun protection feature is crucial for preventing sunburns and reducing the risk of long-term skin damage.
Rash guards are typically constructed using quick-drying and breathable fabrics such as spandex and nylon. These materials help keep you cool and dry during your paddleboarding session. The fabric’s quick-drying nature ensures that you won’t stay wet for long, even if you come into contact with water.
The snug fit of a rash guard is another advantage. It is designed to hug your body, allowing for freedom of movement and preventing the garment from riding up while you paddle. This ensures that you can fully enjoy your activity without any discomfort or distractions caused by loose clothing.
In addition to sun protection and moisture control, rash guards can also provide an extra layer of warmth, particularly in cooler temperatures. Some rash guards even have built-in insulation to help keep you comfortable and cozy while paddleboarding.
When selecting a rash guard, it’s important to consider the UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating. The UPF rating indicates how effectively the fabric blocks UV radiation. Opt for a rash guard with a high UPF rating to ensure optimal sun protection.
Are wetsuits good for paddle boarding?
So, are wetsuits worth the money? Yes! For most of us that end up spending an awful lot of time paddling around cold lakes and in the sea, they will make a big difference to your comfort and enjoyment, allowing you to have more fun for a longer time!
Whilst wetsuits are not waterproof you can get very cold water temperatures in some parts of the world so you’ll need to prepare yourselves to be out in the water for extended amounts of time. So using a wet suit is much better than going straight into your board shorts, it will keep you warmer and give you more confidence during your paddling experience. Wetsuits are also required by most paddle boarding race organizations. They keep you warm, make it easier to stand up for longer, and make it less likely that you will end up in the water! There are many different types of wetsuits suitable for different situations.
A simple swimsuit comprising of shorts and a t-shirt is sometimes the choice of many experienced paddleboarders out there in warmer climates! Along with the essential personal floatation device, if you’re not planning on getting wet then let’s just hope you have the skills to back it up! (it’s harder than it looks!)
consider a rash vest? It’s kind of like wearing a wet suit, they make you look pretty awesome while showing off your muscles (Some people don’t care about that, they just want the warmth!) alone they also add some thermal insulation, rash vests should also be worn under a wetsuit regardless, these are made to help protect against swimmer’s itch, or also known as poison ivy/oak rash! like wearing a wetsuit, if you’re not planning on paddling in colder temperatures or longer distances then it makes sense to consider getting a rash vest! These are perfect for smaller paddlers on shorter journeys.
When it comes to wetsuits our advice would be to try before you buy! or in this case of web shopping make sure they have a good returns policy so that if the shoe doesn’t fit, you can always size up or down. Amazon has great buyer protection and both facilitate the returning of goods with ease. it is extremely important that no matter what wetsuit you go for, you take the time to study the size guide as each manufacturer’s sizes are slightly different. Spring into action and look for the perfect wetsuit to help you make the most out of your next paddle trip, so go on do it and get paddling!
For more information, check out our wetsuit section. We try really hard to get all the information on this page as accurate as possible,
What makes a good wetsuit?
When it comes to choosing a suitable wetsuit for paddleboarding, it’s important to consider the price-to-thermal insulation ratio. Generally, higher-quality wetsuits will offer better insulation but come at a higher cost. However, it’s worth noting that higher-quality wetsuits often use thinner materials, resulting in reduced weight and bulkiness. Therefore, a lower number on the thickness scale indicates a better wetsuit. For paddleboarding, a wetsuit with a thickness of 1.8mm or below is ideal, whereas a 2/4mm thickness is more suitable for surfing.
While some surfers in colder climates may prefer wetsuits with hoods for added warmth, this extra feature can be restrictive and unnecessary for paddleboarding. Since the aim is to stay out of the water rather than in it, the added warmth of a hood is often not worth the limitations it imposes.
Just like our bodies have different shapes and sizes, wetsuits vary across different brands with unique sizing specifications. Therefore, it’s essential to measure yourself and consult the sizing charts provided by the manufacturer. Other details to consider for a perfect fit include the thickness of the wetsuit on the arms and the length of the legs. These factors are crucial and should be taken into account before making a purchase.
If you prefer not to invest effort into finding the right paddleboard wetsuit, you may end up paying more for board shorts instead.
Best Wetsuits for Paddle Boarding
Here is a quick rundown of some of the best entry-level wetsuits for paddle boarding.
The first one is the Xcel Men’s Stretch Neo-X Fullsuit, this one comes in at an affordable price and should do you well in almost all water temperatures given its thermal qualities.
Now on to the less expensive range we have the Xcel Men’s Neo-X III Fullsuit. With a great fit and outstanding thermal qualities, this one should do the job well in all but the coldest water conditions.
If you’re looking to keep things cheap, then you can’t go past the entry-level men’s Xcel Neo-X Top or a great pick for medium water temperatures is the Women’s Xcel Neo-X Shorty – both of which are affordable and extremely buoyant.
If you’re looking to push the boat out (pun absolutely intended) there is the much loved and known brand Speedo, at a none bank breaking price of £140 the speedo proton is the wetsuit of choice for many sea swimmers, paddle boarders, and surfers alike! a cheaper wetsuit with the performance of a top-end premium price wetsuit, the styling and comfort will not disappoint.
Now we have to include a wetsuit that you really should not be used in warm water – the Xcel Pro-Plus Scuba Suit! If you need a scuba suit that will help to protect you, then this is the one for you. However, we cannot recommend it for paddle boarding in general as it’s simply just too bulky and heavy. you will soon find yourself restricted and a floating boil in a bag.
Best Paddleboard Wetsuits for Women
Now for the ladies, it can be hard to find the best suit to fit your build and shape. the best way would be to grab a size that is a little too big and then measure up once you have got rid of any excess material! If you are looking for a wetsuit that will stretch with you throughout the summer months then the wetsuits from Xcel are great. they come in many different sizes and styles for all sorts of body shapes (and prices!).
If you are looking for something more budget-friendly, look no further than the Merino Country Water baby women’s wetsuits as they are available in a wide range of sizes and will fit your body perfectly.
Our next choice for the wild sea woman is the zone 3 advance wetsuit. the reason this wetsuit is on our list is that it has a seam-free construction. this is important because it allows you to move and stretch your arms and legs freely without any restriction. the seam-free construction of the ZONE 3 ADVANCE will keep you warmer in the water even if it’s a cold day (and we all know those days are when we need a wetsuit the most).
Whilst there are cheap wetsuits out there, the no-compromise for a relatively low price choice is the aqua sphere pursuit v3. This wetsuit is fan favourite and has been examined by a whole host of experts. if you are looking for maximum buoyancy and thermal protection then this is the one for you.
Do you wear shoes while paddle boarding?
If you do go for a wetsuit, then its time to think booties! Make sure that the style of bootie isn’t restricting your ability to move. they can be hard to get off and put on so again, we recommend you get a wetsuit shoe rather than sock or boot style, even if you’re going to be wearing them in cold water!
With the exception of a few hardcore SUP’ers, no one wears boots (even in warmer waters) when paddle boarding, trainers and normal footwear is a big no no. The few main reasons for this is that there is a chance of damage to your board when you land on, and as stated before, the hassle of getting the things on and off! if you decide to use normal footwear then if you fall off you will reduce your ability to swim an not worth the risk to safety.
For the booties, we recommend getting them as close to your foot size as possible. once they are on it you can’t really tighten them up too much or else it will affect your ankle too much.
Personal Flotation Device
As a beginner, or even a pro! A personal floatation device is a must have, there is nothing worse than being in a tricky situation and not being able to swim properly with a paddle, wetsuit shoes and the cold water shock. They are great in every situation – whether you are a beginner or more advanced. When you purchase your PFD, get one that fits well and is comfortable for you to wear, this will make it easier to keep on and not have any restricting features while paddling.
Don’t just take my word for it, look around at some of the PFD reviews to get an idea of which ones are the best and why. a good one will fit nicely over your wetsuit or shorts/ tshirt and will not get in the way while you paddle.
A little note on wetsuits:
The main reason why beginners don’t wear them is because they are afraid that when they fall off their board into cold water, they won’t be able to swim as well. This is true to an extent, however your wetsuit will aid in buoyancy and you will float better! The wetsuit will add some much needed buoyancy if you’re a sinker like me.
Should I Buy A Changing Robe?
We would say that once you’re finished in the sea, there’s nothing better than to drape yourself in a lovely warm changing robe! Not only are there some awesome hooded ones, but there’s some brilliant designs too. The ones from Patagonia are really popular and for very good reason, they offer a nice warmth and comforting feeling to help you relax after your paddle:
But if you don’t want a hooded one then don’t worry! There’s so many different colours and designs out there that you can be sure that if you see one then it will fit your requirements.
Changing robes make getting out of that tricky wetsuit a little more dignified, some of them have even got storage designed in the bottom for shoes and other items to get you home! there are many options out there when it comes to changing robes, we don’t want you to miss out on these fantastic products.
Do I Need a Waterproof Bag for Paddleboarding?
Having a waterproof bag with you during paddleboarding is a wise decision as it helps safeguard your belongings and keeps them dry while you enjoy your time on the water. Regardless of whether the conditions are calm or choppy, a waterproof bag ensures that items like your phone, keys, wallet, and other essentials remain protected from water damage.
Waterproof bags come in various sizes and styles, offering options such as small pouches or large backpacks. Some bags are specifically designed for water sports and boast features like adjustable straps, extra padding, and multiple compartments for efficient organization.
When choosing a waterproof bag for paddleboarding, consider the size and type that best suits your requirements. If you only need to carry a few small items, a compact waterproof pouch or waist bag may suffice. On the other hand, if you plan on bringing a larger amount of gear or clothing, a spacious waterproof backpack or dry bag would be more appropriate.
Furthermore, it is crucial to ensure that the waterproof bag is properly sealed and securely closed before embarking on your paddleboarding adventure. Take the time to double-check the zippers, clasps, or roll-top closures to prevent any water from seeping inside.
In conclusion, bringing a waterproof bag while paddleboarding is a straightforward yet effective way to protect your belongings and provide you with peace of mind during your time on the water.
Sunscreen and Paddleboarding
Using sunscreen while paddleboarding is extremely important for safeguarding your skin against the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Even when it’s cloudy outside, the sun’s rays can still harm your skin, particularly when they bounce off the water’s surface. Sunburn can be painful, unsightly, and also heighten the risk of developing skin cancer.
When choosing a sunscreen for paddleboarding, it’s essential to select one that is water-resistant, offers broad-spectrum protection, and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Water-resistant sunscreen will provide longer-lasting defense while you’re on the water, and broad-spectrum sunscreen guards against both UVA and UVB rays.
Applying sunscreen liberally and frequently is crucial. Ensure you generously apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of your skin, such as your face, neck, arms, and legs. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours or more often if you’ve been sweating or swimming.
If you have concerns about the impact of sunscreen on marine life, consider using a reef-safe sunscreen. These types of sunscreens are formulated without harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which have been proven to cause harm to coral reefs.
One of the main reason why falls happen on an SUP is because your kit is very bulky which restricts your ability to paddleboard well. finding a balance that’s right for you is essential. So, the bottom line is…
If you want to paddleboard in cold water, then get a wetsuit. If you want to paddleboard in warm water then there is no need for a wetsuit and go for board shorts instead.
Footwear is optional and get yourself something to help you float!
Wetsuits are great, they add buoyancy and keep you warm. The best ones will have thermal protection as well as an super-thick skin which will really keep you warm. it’s been proven that wetsuits allow you to paddle for longer and those who wear them report being warmer and more comfortable.
Check out some of the links if you’re struggling to decide what’s best to get you started!
- “The Ultimate Guide to Paddleboarding Gear” by REI Co-op: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/paddleboarding-gear.html
- “What to Wear Stand Up Paddle Boarding” by SUP Board Guide: https://www.supboardguide.com/what-to-wear-stand-up-paddle-boarding/
- “Paddleboarding Clothes: What to Wear on the Water” by Men’s Journal: https://www.mensjournal.com/gear/paddleboarding-clothes-what-to-wear-on-the-water/