Have you ever been curious about learning how to paddle board? We’ve found that even novice paddlers can get started quickly. Paddle boarding is an easy and inexpensive way to get out on the water. It’s a great activity for people of all ages who are looking to have fun in the sun. New boarders can learn the basic techniques quickly, but advanced boarders may need to spend some money on gear – that includes SUP life vests and PFD..
Our complete guide has everything you need to know from paddle boarding basics to what gear, clothing, and footwear you need to look at. If you’re new to the sport of stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) this guide will get you up and running on your next adventure.
Paddle board wetsuit
If you’re planning on going out with your stand up paddle board, you’ll probably want to get yourself a good wetsuit. A wetsuit will keep you warm so that you can spend longer in the water. Wetsuits protect the body from the cold water by providing warmth through insulation.
So do you actually ‘need’ a wetsuit for paddle boarding? Well no. You will often see paddle boarders out on lakes and even on calm days out on the ocean with just a bikini or board shorts and a life vest on. Even if they fall in whilst paddling, they’ll get back on the board and soon dry off.
However if you’re a little hardier and want to make the most of the paddle board season, you may find yourself out paddle boarding when the water temperature is 12 – 14 degrees (that’s pretty chilly – your local swimming pool is probably at 21 or 22 degrees c), then you’ll want a wetsuit. The whole idea of the wetsuit is that once it gets wet, it will help keep you warm.
The most important function of a wetsuit is preventing hypothermia. A wetsuit should not be expected to keep your body completely dry. In fact, even the best-made, modern wetsuits allow small amounts of water to seep into the suit. It is able to keep you warm with a small amount of water that is absorbed by the suit.
A wetsuit, also known as a wet suit, keeps you warm and safe in the water by trapping a layer of warm water between you and the suit. The better the fit of your wetsuit, the longer you can stay in the water before having to get out.
There are two types of wetsuits the full body and the ‘shortie’. The shortie type of suit does not cover the full length of your arms or legs, but still functions in the same way as the full body wetsuit. Clearly the shortie won’t keep you as warm in the same temperature water as a full body suit, but they are cheaper.
Womens paddle board
Men and women can both use the same paddle board, in fact there is no reason to have a gender specific board (except marketing). However if someone is smaller in stature, as some women are, then they should look at the smaller boards (10 foot or 11 foot). If you (whether women or men) are taller than about 5 foot 9 we would recommend looking at one of the longer paddle boards (such as the 12 or 14 foot long boards).
Do you wear shoes when paddle boarding?
Don’t wear shoes when you paddleboard, it’s not necessary. You’ll get more traction doing it barefoot, your feet will be in the right position for proper balance, and your board is less likely to get damaged that way.
You’ll probably want shoes or something to protect your feet when boarding, if you’re boarding in a shallow area where your feet will touch the ground. Shallow areas of the ocean, rivers, bayous, and other bodies of water are typically filled with sharp objects like rocks, oyster shells, gravel, and other debris.
Water shoes are a useful tool to help you navigate through wet or slippery conditions. They’re ideal for use in shallow water, while not weighing down your feet and providing good traction; but that doesn’t mean you should just grab your nearest pair of trainers. They will get wet, soggy and heavy very fast.
We’ve listed our preferred water shoes for all of the family below:
Water shoes for men
Our favourite pick of men’s water shoes are the men’s aqua shoes from Saguaro. The key thing with them is the 7 holes in the sole which allow water to drain quickly through the shoe, so even if you do take a dip, they’re not too heavy. They also seem to provide loads of grip on the board, and a few of the kayakers amongst us are fans too! Check out the latest price here —>
The unisex IceUnicorn water shoes may also be worth having a look at, as they come in a little bit cheaper when we checked and still have the benefit of the holes in the soles for water drainage. They are less ‘trainer like’ so pretty much just for swimming, SUPing, kayaking etc rather than a 5 mile hike to the beach, but still getting very favourable reviews from both men and women. Check out the latest price of these here —>
Women’s water shoes
Now we don’t just love these women water shoes because they look cool (but we think they do), but they have the standard holes in the soles to allow water to pass through quickly. This means they aren’t going to drag you down when you jump off your board for a quick swim. A clamber back onto your board and all of the water will drain away from your shoes, leaving you ready to continue on with your paddle. Check out the best price for the Mobave womens water shoes here —>
Water shoes for kids
The HKR water shoes for kids are reeeeealy cheap at the moment ( Check out the best price today here —->) and they are superb. They’re made from neoprene uppers (which is the same stuff as wetsuits) so they will let water in, but also importantly straight back out. In contrast to a number of kids water shoe designs, these have a drawstring at the ankle which enables you to tighten them up and prevent any debris (stones, rocks, shell etc) from getting into your kid’s shoes.
Best water shoes & aqua water shoes
So which are the best water or aqua shoes available for you to buy? It’s really up to you, and depends on what you’re looking for. Crucially they should always have a way for the water to escape – this could be drainage holes in the soles or just being made from a fabric like neoprene. The other thing to consider is if you want to keep everything else out of your shoe. As we saw with the kids aqua shoes, if they feature a drawstring at the ankle this can help to keep all kinds of debris out.