6 Quick Tips For What To Wear Paddle Boarding

Have you ever tried paddle boarding (SUP)? Do you ever wonder what to wear when paddle boarding or kayaking? I know these were a few questions I asked myself when I first tried paddle boarding.

We got 6 tips on what to wear when paddle boarding and what to expect. After all, if you never have done paddle boarding before it’s a perfect family outdoor beach activity to do with your loved ones.

Let’s get started.

Photo by Josh Appel

What is Paddle Boarding?

Paddle boarding is said to have originated a thousand years ago. According to Cambridge Dictionary paddle boarding is:

“A sport in which you travel across water or ride on waves using a board, which you can sit or stand on, and sometimes paddle.”

Cambridge Dictionary

Most often when paddle boarding you will find many people standing up. This is known as stand up paddle boarding (SUP) which was seen in Hawaii.


Paddle boarding costs range from place to place. Below is a list of what to expect:

Although paddle boarding is most often seen in the oceans, Lake Michigan is no exception. There are many different companies that offer paddle boarding as well as kayaking here.

*Tecumseh Paddling Company (MICHIGAN)

  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding range from $10 per hour
  • Kayaking for 1 person $10 per hour and for double kayaking (2 people) $15 per hour

*Third Coast Paddle Boarding (MICHIGAN)

  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding costs $40 per hour for Silver Beach, St. Joseph
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding costs $20 per hour for Galien River, New Buffalo
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding costs $20 per hour for Paw Paw River, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor

Florida is known as the theme park capital in the United States. Many families visit this state due to not only the theme parks but as well as its beautiful beaches.

*Wildlife Watersports in Cocoa Beach (FLORIDA)

  • Paddle Boarding ALL DAY costs $40
  • Kayaking ALL DAY costs $50


  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding costs $30 per hour
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding Lessons costs $50 per 1 paddler

California also is known as the Golden State. It’s one of the most diverse geographical states from mountains, deserts to even oceans. You can rest assured when visiting here you will have many family outdoor water activities like paddleboarding.


  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding costs $30 for 2 hours


  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding costs $25 per hour
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding costs $40 for 2 hours

*Refer to the company’s main website for the latest pricing

what to wear paddle boarding in the ocean
Photo by Photo by Anastasia Taioglou


These are our 6 tips regarding what to wear when paddleboarding. After paddleboarding, for the first time, I wish I should have prepared better. There’s always next time, right?

Tip 1: Wear sunscreen

If you are outdoors you should always be wearing sunscreen. This is a no-brainer. The sun is amazing! It provides us with warmth, food, and even Vitamin D, however, it can be deadly as well.

There is scientific research evidence now that shows long exposure times around the sun can lead to skin cancer. So, it’s best to always protect your skin from harmful rays.

Neroli & Argan Milk SPF 50 Sunscreen

Neroli & Argan Water-Resistant with Antioxidant Protection SPF 50 Sunscreen

There are many studies out there pointing to evidence of an increase in skin cancer related to long exposures to the sun. If you don’t know what type of sunscreens to use we put together the top vegan sunscreens and yes they are also coral reef safe.

a hat
Photo by Yang Deng

Tip 2: Wear a hat

When paddleboarding make sure to wear a hat. Most times when you are paddleboarding it will be during sunlight hours and in some cases during the sun’s hottest times.

Wearing a hat allows you to keep the sun out of your eyes. Even if you paddleboard in the winter wearing a hat can provide warmth so it’s a win-win.

Princeton Tec Impulse Multi-Task Keylight w/Hat Clip

Princeton Tec Impulse Multi-Task Keylight w/Hat Clip

Tip 3: Wear the right clothing for the season

Paddleboarding in the springtime is going to be a lot different from wintertime. Therefore, you have to be prepared. For spring or summer time we recommend:


Rash guards are your best friend when it comes to paddleboarding. They are meant to dry quickly once you get wet. Which is a plus.

Lesson learned when my sister and I first went paddleboarding she wore jeans and they got wet from the splashing and needless to say she still had to paddle board for the rest of the hour with wet jeans.

The experience was not fun for her! Rash guards not only dry quickly, but they can come with protective 50+ SPF and can either be tight or loose depending on your desired style.

Rash guards are the perfect type of clothing to wear when paddle boarding. If you don’t know to choose the right rash guard? Well, we put together our 10 tips for choosing your right rash guard.

Paddle Boarding in Spring or Summertime:

Akona Tiffany Blue Women's Short Sleeve Rash Guard for Scuba Diving Swimming Snorkeling Surfing

Akona Tiffany Blue Women’s Short Sleeve Rash Guard for Scuba Diving Swimming Snorkeling Surfing

Paddle Boarding in Wintertime:

Sharkskin Unisex Rapid Dry Longsleeve Shirt Rash Guard SPF 50

Sharkskin Unisex Rapid Dry Long sleeved Shirt Rash Guard SPF 50


When you are paddle boarding it’s recommended to wear shorts in the spring or summer, but often go for pants in the winter.

You want to make sure the material is breathable and dries quickly in case you do end up getting wet.

Paddle Boarding in Spring or Summertime:

Z/ Chicloth Rosy Trim Black Boxer Short Swim Bottom for what to wear paddle boarding

Rosy Trim Black Boxer Short Swim Bottom

Lavacore Lavaskin Women's Board Shorts for what to wear when paddle boarding

Lavacore Lavaskin Women’s Board Bottoms for Swimming, Paddle Boarding etc.

Paddle Boarding in Wintertime will require a bit more coverage, unlike the other seasons. The reason being is usually it’s colder and you can definitely feel it.

If you ever paddleboard in Lake Michigan during the summers and then try in the winter you will know what I mean.

Usually, look for the material neoprene which is used to help keep the body warm.

Tilos 1mm Neoprene Water Sports for what to wear when paddle boarding

Tilos 1mm Neoprene/Lycra Paddle Shorts for Surfing, Snorkeling, and Water Sports

These shorts are made from Lycra material which provides breathability and comfort amongst your skin.

In addition, it offers 1mm of neoprene that used to help keep your skin warm in the winter. This is perfect for those paddleboarding in the wintertime.

shoes on what to wear paddle boarding
Photo by Ahdiat Fanada

Tip 4: Wear the Right Shoes

Did you know that when paddle boarding there are specific shoes that are ideal for this outdoor activity? I know the first time my sister and I tried this we didn’t know.

Don’t wear:

  • Sneakers
  • Boots
  • Flip flops
  • Slippers

Or go barefooted! This is from my own experience. I wore flip flops first time when I went paddle boarding, I know what the heck was I thinking.

I kept slipping then decided to go barefooted but the board was hot from out in the sun that it kept burning my feet. The moral of this story is to be prepared and wear the right shoes. You want to make sure your shoes:

  • Dry Quickly
  • Non-slip
  • Breathable
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Comfortable

Of course, comfort is subjective to each person, but you definitely want to look for some of these features. Our top water shoes for paddle boarding are:

Colorful Summer New Women Beach Slip Water Shoes

Blue Non-Slip Breathable Easy Slip On Water Shoes

Breathable Beach Upstream Water Sport Anti-skid Socks Shoes

Breathable Ultra-LIghtweight Black Non-Slip Water Shoes

Tip 5: Wear a Wrist Water Bottle

Paddleboarding will be a workout. You will be required to use your upper body muscles along with your abs when moving paddle boarding.

This becomes more extreme to your body when doing during summertime. Especially, when it’s 100 degrees out. Chances are you will get thirsty!

If you plan on bringing your water bottle we recommend leaving it in the car. Less carrying the better, unless you plan on bringing a:

OMS Modular IQ Harness Pack System - Backpack Only

OMS Modular IQ Harness Pack System Backpack

However, if you are not going to best invest in a water backpack then wearing a wrist water bottle will be perfect. It wraps along your wrist so you don’t have to worry about it getting in the way as you paddle. Stay hydrated.

 Wearable Hands Free Wrist Water Bottle for Outdoors

Eyourlife Wearable Hands-Free Wrist Water Bottle for Outdoors

Tip 6: Wear a Water-Proof Watch for Time

The nice thing about taking a paddle boarding tour or lesson is you don’t have to worry about time. You are learning having fun and then it comes to an end.

Of course, it’s more expensive than if you just rent a paddle board for an hour. But, often you might be on a budget and so renting a paddle board for an hour seems like a better option.

Make sure you wear a waterproof watch to tell the time when paddle boarding so you know when to come back.

Freestyle Womens Solstice Water Proof Watch ALL COLORS

Freestyle Womens Solstice WaterProof Watch

Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch

Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch with Heart Rate, Swim Tracking One Size (S and L Bands Included)

My sister and I rented a paddle board for an hour our first time.

We didn’t bring our phones due to fear of it getting wet nor have anything to tell time long story short we were charged extra for bringing the paddle board 30 mins late!

girl paddle boarding
Photo by Kalen Emsley


What muscles does paddle boarding work?

When you paddle board you will be working out all kinds of body parts. For instance, you will be required to move back and forth your paddle for a significant time.

Hello, biceps, triceps, and shoulder muscles. If you aren’t used to working out these parts of your body you will feel it. But, hey, there’s always a first time right?

Now if you want to take this up a notch and stand up while paddle boarding then hello core. You will be working out of this region. For it will take balance to stand up as well as maintaining it while you are constantly moving your arms. This will engage your core.

How do I prepare for paddle boarding?

There’s no right or wrong way when preparing for paddleboarding. The 6 tips mentioned previously give you a heads up on what to expect. If you want to get a feel on how to prepare you can always try exercises that help you build upper strength.

There is this great video on Youtube that also gives you a heads up on how to avoid these common mistakes.

 Is paddle boarding difficult?

Paddle boarding isn’t difficult to learn nor to do. However, if you never really work out your body it might be a bit challenging. For instance, paddling consecutively can bring soreness along your upper region.

When paddleboarding be sure to take it slow. Go at your own pace and don’t compare yourself to others. The first time I did this with my sister there were a few people that were also participating, but more experienced.

I felt intimidated and tried to paddle as fast as I could to keep up and still fell behind and my left arm ached badly for me overdoing it. Go at your own pace and enjoy the moment! Don’t be like me!

girls slimming in beach
Photo by Photo by Vince Fleming


Paddleboarding is a great activity to do with your family or heck even solo. The most important thing is to remember to have fun! Enjoy the time with your loved ones and get a little workout.

As a first-timer doing paddle boarding I never did my research ahead of time and didn’t know what to expect. Now, I do. I hope these 6 tips on what to wear paddle boarding help prepare you!

Let us know in the comments below if you have ever done paddle boarding or any other tips you recommend we should know. Until next time, happy beach travels.

What to Wear Paddle Boarding Pin 1

Jess and Jeanette
About Jess and Jeanette

Jess and Jeanette are two sisters who created Unseen Beaches. This beach travel site was inspired by their family beach vacations while growing up. Helping you discover the best U.S. beach destinations worth visiting, staying, and eating at.

unseenbeaches about us pic

Hi! This is Jess and Jeanette. Two sisters & beach travelers. We built this blog to share our travels in hopes of helping you plan your next beach vacation. Cheers! ❤️


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