Stand up paddle boarding apparel (what you wear) can be tricky to get right. With the UK’s changeable climate, and Mother Nature often in a mood, making sure you’re adequately protected is key. As much as anything SUP wear is a safety point.
Friends of McConks, North Coast Wetsuits, know a thing or two about neoprene and how to use it efficiently. With this in mind NCW talk wetsuit layering system for additional SUP warmth in this guest article.
Wetsuits, and the wearing of, aren’t always applicable to stand up paddle boarders. If you’re strictly a flat water paddler, or off on a SUP adventure, then donning the 5mm rubber isn’t the best idea. Wetsuits are designed (mainly) with immersion in mind. Of course, in winter, when it’s brass monkeys a thick neoprene suit will certainly protect. For summer, however, unless you’re SUP surfing then the 5mm can be hung up less you fancy getting heatstroke.
The above said wetsuits can be still preferred apparel – especially for beginner paddlers during high season months. If you’re taking regular dips then a wetsuit will certainly help fend off the chill. In this instance you’d be better off with something around 3mm thick rather than full on winter suit. Evaporative chill, however, can still affect paddlers even during the warmest of spells.
Having take a dunking your wet wetsuit will keep you warm for a little while. All moisture, however, starts to heat and lift back into the atmosphere. As this evaporates the rising damp wicks away heat from the body. It starts with extremities but soon affects the core. If you fell in at the start of your session, but then managed to stand tall for the rest of it, you may be starting to feel the chill even though you’re working your body via paddling. This is where layering can be handy.
In the past it was thought by many that a lycra rashvest, worn beneath a wetsuit, would add more protection. This isn’t correct, however, as lycra tops will speed up the cooling process. A thermal lined rashy, however, will work well.
Wetsuit manufactures these days use all sorts of additional materials to make wetsuits and wetsuit accessories additionally warm. Adding a fleece layer to the inside of a neoprene garment will give it more heat retaining properties. Wearing this beneath a wetsuit will then see those inner bodily furnaces stay ignited. This can be especially key in colder, winter months when a 5mm winter wetsuits still mightn’t be quite enough. Add a thermal rash vest and you’re onto a winner.
Not everyone wants to wear a wetsuit come summer, as we’ve said. And actually wetsuits mightn’t be the best bet for the type of stand up paddle boarding you have in mind. Neoprene strides (leggings) and a thermal rash vest alone can be a good shout, as one example. Perhaps with a fleece top layer top keep things like wind chill at bay if it’s breezy.
In general having layers is a good idea. garments can be removed as and when you warm up. Or alternatively, pop something back on to stave off the cold. We mentioned fleeces above as these tend to keep heat in even if wet. So if you take a dunking then it’s not too much hassle staying toasty.
Layering doesn’t stop at body apparel. Wetsuit gloves and boots can be additionally fired up with things like Merino Wool liners. Which sounds bonkers but these work well if it’s particularly frigid and/or you’re prone to cold tootsies and fingers.
For anyone layering up and not SUP surfing then having a means to store removed garments is a good idea. A waterproof dry bag, lashed to your board via bungee, will see threads stay dry until you need them next.
All in a layered system of stand up paddle boarding wear is a good idea. Consider what environment you’ll be paddling in and choose your gear accordingly. More is better than less as you can always get rid of items if not needed. It’s always better being too warm than too cold!
For more info about NCW check out – https://www.northcoastwetsuits.co.uk/