What to wear for paddle board yoga? Just grab a board, run majestically by the sunset straight from your yoga class to the water and enjoy the serenity of the water! Thats it, right…. Right? Mmm not quite.
Although this scenario won’t realistically happen there are a plethora of things to love when you have everything you need. Of course, as you have probably read thousands of times already. SUP Yoga is also an enjoyable activity with benefits for both the mind and the body.
SUP yoga forces you to be intentional with how you move and be mindful of how you interact with your surroundings. It adds an extra challenge to workouts that may have gotten stagnant on land and helps build and tone muscle.
It is also the perfect way to connect with nature.
If you’re new to the sport, you may feel a little lost about what you should wear. This article delves into the appropriate paddle boarding attire needed for a quality SUP yoga experience.
We’ll help you figure out what shoes to wear, address different options men and women might find helpful, as well as the best apparel for different seasons.
Looking for a SUP Yoga board? Click here!
Shoes or No Shoes?
Bare feet are the best option for SUP Yoga, hands (feet?) down!
It is much easier to stay upright on the paddleboard with bare feet. This is because toes are necessary for balance. Your two largest toes and the ball of your foot are responsible for 75 percent of the support needed to keep you upright. So balance is vital when you’re out on the paddleboard.
If you’re not a fan of bare feet, you could give water sandals or neoprene socks with grips on the soles a try. If you are doing SUP Yoga in colder weather, you can also take advantage of SUP shoes or wetsuit booties to keep your feet warm.
Regular street shoes are never a good option, regardless of the weather. They make keeping your balance difficult, get incredibly heavy when wet, and can damage your paddleboard over time.
Typical Upper Body Wear for SUP Yoga
Most upper body wear for SUP Yoga can be found in your dresser drawers already. Just make sure the material is quick-drying, and you are comfortable in it.
Luckily for men doing SUP Yoga, a top isn’t necessary. If you’re comfortable doing so, going shirtless is an option. A loose-fitting t-shirt or tank top made of water-wicking material is an excellent option for men as well. I personally like using a wet shirt or the quicker drying polyester material.
For women, upper body wear for SUP Yoga can range from a quick dryting t-shirt to a sports bra. Many women also love wearing bikini tops for less restriction. It is advisable to avoid overly baggy tops, which can get in the way of certain poses. Basically wear what caters to you!
Typical Lower Body Wear for SUP Yoga
The type of clothing you choose to wear to a SUP Yoga session should be comfortable and easy to move in. Although you won’t be spending much time in the water, quick-drying fabrics are also a necessity.
Typically, men find a simple pair of quick drying boardshorts or swim trunks are the perfect SUP Yoga clothing item. Their relaxed fit and comfortable waistbands don’t limit movement, and most likely, you already own a pair (Hello old high school days!).
You can also wear traditional yoga clothes for SUP Yoga. Any item that would make sense in a hot yoga class would work well out on a paddleboard due to its water-wicking and quick-dry features.
Ladies, swim leggings are a thing. And they’re AMAZING.
Swim leggings are designed to fit like your average pair of leggings but are made from a blend of spandex, polyester, and nylon. They are leggings made of swimsuit materials, with the bonus of being usable off the paddleboard for activities like jogging or pilates.
Unlike regular leggings, SUP Yoga leggings also come with a built-in Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UPF. This sun-protective element keeps the harmful rays away from your skin, always a good thing if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors. Look for swim leggings with a UPF 50+ for the best protection.
There are also endless colors, styles, and prints to choose from various swimwear and athletic apparel brands. Who said comfort and style weren’t mutually exclusive?
You may have a vision in your head of hopping onto your brand new paddleboard and drifting off into the early morning sun while mist rises off the water. Everything is quiet, and as you move into downward dog, a wave of serenity washes over you.
I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but there’s a little more prep involved before you can start doing SUP Yoga. To be prepared out on the water, you’ll need the right gear.
Like any outdoor sport, it is important during SUP Yoga to sunscreen up. Protecting your skin is not only important to reduce risks of skin cancer and aging, but it will also prevent an uncomfortable sunburn.
Water-resistant sunscreen is your best bet. However, everyone’s skin is different and responds to different ingredients. Therefore, you’ll need to do your own research to determine what sunscreen will work best for you. I like SPF 30 but my friend who turns into a lobster in the sun goes for SPF 50+.
Sunglasses are another important piece of paddle boarding equipment you’ll want to have on hand. They help protect your eyes from sun damage and reduce the sun’s glare off the water so you can concentrate on moving through the poses.
A good pair of sunglasses for SUP Yoga will have at least UV-400 blocking protection. This level provides almost 100 percent protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
I actually really love Shady Rays for paddle boarding. They are relatively affordable and have a lot of great styles to choose from. If they get lost you can also get a replacement for a fee.Authors Note
You may feel a little apprehensive about taking your most expensive pair out paddleboarding because there is a chance they could fall into the water and sink to the bottom. However, adding a head strap to your sunglasses can keep them attached to your person no matter what.
If you can find a pair that will float, that’s even better. My friend has his from when he was still in elementary school!
Personal Floating Device
The Coast Guard requires that recreational boats, including SUPs, carry a personal floating device (PFD) appropriate for the size of the intended user.
You’re probably thinking, “How am I supposed to do SUP yoga in a bulky life vest?” We totally get it. Wearing a life jacket isn’t exactly comfortable in normal circumstances. Luckily, various PFD designs can be worn without limiting your range of motion.
We recommend trying out inflatable PFDs, which come in the form of waist packs as well as vests. These provide the same amount of safety without the cumbersome design of a traditional life jacket.
They can be manually activated by pulling a cord on the outside which activates an inner CO2 gas cartridge that inflates the pack. They are slim, compact, and comfortable to wear at any temperature.
It’s also a requirement to carry a sound-producing device that can help paddlers signal for help in an emergency situation. In many places including my home country Canada, you need to have a whistle with you if you are operating a single boat like a kayak or paddle board.
A leash is a cord attached to the paddleboard on one end, while the other has a comfortable strap that connects around your ankle, calf, or waist. Its purpose is to keep you tethered to your stand-up paddleboard in the event you take an unexpected plunge.
In SUP Yoga, a leash is best used when you are paddling to and from shore. It can be a bit of a hindrance to use it while practicing.
While not a required element for a successful SUP Yoga session, practicing yogis often find an anchor useful to avoid floating around aimlessly during a routine. It helps keep you in one place and limits the amount of bumping into others.
Fishing anchors for small boats like kayaks can be connected to the paddleboard using the leash attachment point at the tail. Leave the anchor and the rope on top of your paddleboard while paddling to and from shore, and simply drop it into the water when you’ve arrived at your chosen spot.
The rope should have a little give so you and the paddleboard can move naturally with the water.
Apparel to Wear for those HOT Summer Days
SUP yoga is often enjoyed in the summer months, and it can get hot out on the water. The SUP Yoga clothing you choose should help you stay cool and dry while also aiding in stretch-like movements.
On a hot summer day, boardshorts and swim trunks are the standard fares for male SUP yogis. They can also benefit from adding a rash guard or swim shirt to their swim trunks to protect against the sun’s rays.
Rash guards are lightweight and typically made with spandex, nylon, and/or polyester. Their primary purpose is to protect your skin from the harsh rays of the sun. They can be loose like a t-shirt, or fit tighter like a compression garment. Both fits allow for plenty of movement, so it ultimately depends on your personal preferences.
As the temperature creeps higher, the desire to cover up diminishes. When it’s hot, you may find traditional swim leggings make everything feel a little too toasty.
It’s completely fine to wear just your bathing suit during SUP Yoga. However, keep in mind that the nature of SUP Yoga involves bending and stretching, which bikinis are not exactly known to be suitable for.
Instead, try a standard sports bra and a pair of athletic shorts or a swimsuit with more coverage for a more modest outfit.
It just all depends on your level of comfort and where you are practicing SUP yoga.
Apparel to Wear for Cooler Weather
It is important to dress in layers to combat the chill from spring and fall’s cooler temperatures.
Rash guards are also great for keeping warm. Thermal rash guards are designed with a thicker, insulating fabric like neoprene and have long sleeves. Their tighter fit helps keep your natural body heat trapped inside, which is perfect for those chilly morning SUP Yoga sessions. Pair this with a light outer layer and a pair of boardshorts.
Women can also make use of thermal rash guards for cooler weather SUP Yoga. Combined with a pair of yoga pants or swim leggings and a light outer layer like a fleece or flannel, you’ll be ready to greet the cool weather on your paddleboard.
Apparel to Wear for Cold Weather Conditions
Although SUP yoga is a water sport, it isn’t just for hot or moderate temperatures. Depending on your location, this sport can be enjoyed all year round with the right outfit and accessories.
A tightly fitting wetsuit is ideal for cold weather or winter conditions. Many men choose to wear their rash guard as an initial layer under their wetsuit for added warmth.
Wetsuits come in varying thicknesses depending on the temperature of the water you’ll be practicing in, so you’ll want to shop around a bit to find the best option.
Women can also take advantage of wetsuits for cold weather SUP Yoga. Due to their design, wetsuits will keep your hands and feet exposed, so gloves and water sport shoes are more of a necessity.
Base layers of swim leggings can be worn underneath a wetsuit for added warmth and protection.
What’s more important, comfort or style?
Comfort is key when buying SUP Yoga clothes. Due to the transitional movements required–balancing, paddling, holding poses–you’ll want to be as unencumbered by your outfit as possible to get the full experience.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t also look good doing it if you want. There are A TON of stylish options from major athletic apparel brands to choose from. Just stay away from cotton fabrics and anything baggy that could weigh you down if you fall in or have to swim.
Can I wear leggings while paddleboarding?
Absolutely! Leggings made from spandex, polyester, and nylon have a quick-drying effect perfect for yoga on a SUP. Many swim leggings have UPF for added protection against the sun.
How cold is too cold for SUP yoga?
SUP Yoga can be done at any time of year at any temperature. So, most SUP Yoga takes place in water that’s 40-50 degrees or warmer. Doing SUP Yoga in cold weather requires participants to wear a neoprene wetsuit or a base layer of warm clothing like long johns with a winter coat over it.
You should always cover up your extremities with booties, gloves, and a swim cap. As a beginner it’s best to start this practice in the spring/ summer when its warmer out.
Do you have to be able to swim to perform SUP yoga?
Although it is advisable to have some swimming knowledge before engaging in any kind of water sport, you don’t have to know how to swim to do SUP Yoga. Due to the fact it is necessary to have a PFD on, you won’t be in danger should you take a tumble into the water. SUP Yoga can also be practiced in shallow water if you’re concerned about falling in.
What We Have Learned on What to Wear for Paddle Board Yoga?
Let’s do a quick recap of what we’ve learned thus far.
- SUP Yoga is an amazing water sport that combines mindful movement with peaceful surroundings. It feeds the soul, tones your muscles, and allows you to connect with nature.
- You’ll need to purchase a personal floatation device and an emergency whistle before getting out on the water.
- Cotton apparel is a major DON’T. It absorbs water and takes a long time to dry.
- You’ll want to opt for comfortable yoga clothes for SUP, including leggings, bathing suits, or water-wicking material.
- Take precautions in the sun to avoid sunburn and premature aging. Wear water-resistant sunscreen, SPF-protective clothing, and protective eyewear.
- Dress appropriately for cold weather and be sure to wear gloves, a swim cap, and a warm outer layer like a wetsuit and a rash guard as a base layer.
There are no set rules when it comes to SUP Yoga attire. But hopefully, you now feel a little more prepared to take the next step into SUP Yoga.