What Should I wear to paddleboard in South Wales?

Definitely, the most common question I get asked when planning a trip is ‘What should I wear?’. This blog will give you the basics; join a lesson with Outdoor Explore Wales for more information!

Truthfully, there is no definitive answer but hopefully, you can get some good ideas on what you should (and sometimes shouldn’t) wear when paddleboarding.

In reality, I often don’t know what I’m going to wear until the morning of the paddle and, sometimes, I change my mind just before I get on the water! And no, that’s not because I have too much to choose from (see photo below)! However, I do have an idea of what to choose, from my experiences – and from checking the forecast!

Not even close to all the options I have for clothes! But a good selection!

My usual recommendation is to wear what you wear to the gym. Or what you might wear to the gym if you went!

So…, shorts and a T-shirt?

Sure thing! Providing it’s warm enough and you slather yourself with suncream! I’ve paddled many times in just shorts, a T-shirt and a buoyancy aid!

Just be aware of cotton T-shirts as they hold the water well, so can make you colder.

For beginners, a wetsuit can be a great addition, especially if you think you might fall in! Short sleeve or ‘long-john’ style wetsuits are especially good for paddling as they keep your arms free – but they’re not as warm if you fall in!

We have some wetsuits to hire for our sessions if you haven’t got one.

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Browse Wetsuits on Amazon

But what to wear under a wetsuit? Gym kit is good again, something skintight and stretchy is ideal – anything baggy can bunch up and be uncomfortable.

A waterproof splash-cag, or a thin waterproof coat, is great for keeping the wind off, which will make you feel much warmer, even in a gentle breeze! And it’ll keep you dry in a cheeky downpour!

Drysuits are the top-end kit for the colder weather! On its own, it won’t keep you warm, so you wear lots of warm clothes underneath, and your drysuit keeps you and your warm clothes dry!

Browse suitable Drysuits on Amazon

There are many more options and choices out there – feel free to ask us if you have any questions about any kit you’ve seen!


That’s for keeping you warm… how about staying safe?

Staying warm is a great start to staying safe – if you’re comfortable and warm, you’ll be able to function better and keep yourself safer!

Wear a PFD. Wait, what’s a PFD?

It’s a Personal Floatation Device. Usually, you’ll find lifejackets and buoyancy aids. For paddleboarding, I recommend a foam-block style buoyancy aid with a minimum of 50kN rating.

A Lifejacket is great, but they are often one use until recharged – and inflate to a size which makes it hard to paddle!

Buoyancy aids have various designs, some of which are more comfortable than others for paddleboarding. It’s important that all your kit is comfortable for you, so look for a buoyancy aid which is designed for paddlesports and has a low-profile front panel.

My BA is low cut under the arms to allow for movement and has 2 handy pockets on the front.


Shoes! Especially if you can’t see the bottom of the water!

Some of the shoes I wear paddling. And a dog.
Please don’t try to wear a dog on your feet – but do get them a buoyancy aid and bring them paddling!

We often don’t know what is under the water – less so what is just below the surface of the sea/ river bed. Sharp sticks or rocks, unknown bits of debris, even the dreaded WEAVER FISH!

Old trainers or wetsuit shoes are the most common I see but, as long as they’re not going to fall off your feet if you fall in the water, they’ll do fine!


There is so much more to say about appropriate warm clothes and safety gear, so book a lesson with Outdoor Explore Wales and look out for more blogs to come!


If you’ve really got the SUP bug and you’re looking at splashing out on some kit, we recommend a chat with the guys at Escape Watersports who will give you a cheeky discount if you mention Outdoor Explore Wales!

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