One of the questions I get asked the most is what to wear standup paddleboarding. It can be a bit of tough question since it requires a few more questions of my own like. Where are you paddling? What season is it? What is the water temperature? What is your experience? and looking at the probability vs consequence of going in the water. Your number one goal is safety and certainly if your in the water a lot and the water is cold then going with a wetsuit or drysuit is the way to go. The best clothing I have found to paddle in for most of the year and for most of my touring and racing is Vaikobi Ocean Performance. I recommend this gear to everyone who asks and I have my guides outfitted in as well. Vaikobi’s mission is to increase performance and comfort by creating the world’s most innovative technical apparel for ocean athletes and paddlers.
My two favourite pieces to wear are from their V Cold Performance line and I pretty much live in this stuff out on the coast.
When I am paddling/training in the cool winter and shoulder seasons here on the coast this is my go to paddling pant. I tend to overheat when I train so I need gear that breathes well yet provides some safety protection for the cooler conditions and colder water if I happen to go in. These pants are the best. They are made of Airprene (light neoprene with holes in it) placed through the pant in combination with Hydrofleece back leg panels for maximum comfort and breathability. It also has a rip stop outer lining for durability. I have worn these pants non stop for the last couple of years. They are comfortable, provide light protection and they are very well made. These pants come with me everywhere I paddle in Canada. I usually wear a pair of board shorts overtop to compete the look, provide a little wind block if needed and for the ability to carry a couple of small things in the pockets.
I pair this top with the Storm Paddle Pant. This top is super comfortable in cool to cold conditions and feature’s Vaikobi’s innovative VCOLD Technology. Super Stretchy, Super Light & Super Comfortable, the VCOLD Base top keeps you warm without overheating. Considering how much I have worn this top I can say that it is also very durable.
I have fallen in a couple of times on Howe Sound (cold water) and I am always so impressed how quickly I warm up. I always carry a light goretex shell with me and if the air temperature is a little cooler or if there is wind then I throw my shell over top. This cuts the wind and keeps my heat in as I paddle as needed and then shed the shell once I have warmed up sufficiently. This system just gives you that safety peace of mind when you are out there and the probability of going in the water is not that high.
My Warm Weather System comes from their V Cold Ocean Performance Line
This pant is designed for the warmer seasons, The UV Paddle Pant protects your legs from the elements and also improves circulation for increased performance. The UV Paddle Pants will keep you cool as the sun heats up and provides a neoprene pad on the seat for extra comfort and protection. I do wear the V COLD system much more but I wear this system when I am Belize to protect me from the sun and I wore this system on the 714km long Yukon River Quest. I have started wearing it on Howe Sound on those warm summer days but I am aware that it will provide minimal protection if I am in the water for longer periods of time. These pants breathe well and I am using it for element protection and breathability.