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August 22nd, 2016
Posted In: How-to
Tags: Kayak, SUP
SUP and kayaking are fun and popular water sports; so can’t say that we blame you for enjoying and participating in them. Maybe you’ve got all the gear needed for your stand up paddle board or a kayaking session, but you’re not sure what to wear. With the amount of wetsuit tops, bottoms, full wetsuits, rash guards and more that are on the market today, it makes shopping for a SUP and kayaking wetsuit overwhelming.
Read on to find out what key features you need to look for when it comes to buying a wetsuit for SUP and kayaking.
As with most watersports, wetsuit thickness and water temperatures are key when it comes to finding the right wetsuit. Wetsuit thickness is measured in millimeters (ex: 3/2mm or 1mm) and it impacts the warmth of the wetsuit. Thinner neoprene means more flexibility and range of motion and is perfect for warm water temps while a thicker suit obviously has more neoprene with less range of motion and works for cool to cold water temps.
We like to go off of this handy water temperature chart:
There are a wide range of wetsuit styles for SUP and kayaking. Even though these water sports aren’t directly in the water, you might want something to protect you from harmful UV rays or any chill coming off of the water.
Rash guards are popular for SUP and kayaking because they prevent sunburn and offer little warmth which is great for warmer or tropical areas. If the water and air temperatures are a little too chilly for a rash guard, you could always wear a wetsuit top or vest or even neoprene pants or shorts. Some people like to wear layers like a long john/jane or a short john/jane with a wetsuit jacket. Others might even prefer to wear neoprene shorts with a rash guard.
Another great option is a baselayer. Base layers are usually thicker or offer some type of inner lining for more warmth compared to a rash guard. You might find that you need socks for your wetsuit boots or a pair shorts for insulation and chafing protection. Or maybe a long or short sleeve top that has poly fleece on the inside for quick drying properties and warmth.
In cool to cold water temps, we highly recommend a pair of wetsuit boots, neoprene gloves, or even a wetsuit hood. Brands like NRS and NeoSport offer a great selection of kayaking and stand up paddle boarding boots. These types of boots provide great traction for your paddle board or kayak and other features like poly linings and zippers or straps for entry and exit.
Kayakers might also want a drysuit which keeps you completely dry! Drysuits are especially great for whitewater kayaking.
Again this depends on how warm and protected you want to be, so pay attention to the weather before you get your paddleboard or kayak out!
What else should you look for in a SUP and kayaking wetsuit? Wetsuit seams!
Seam construction impacts the warmth and comfort of the wetsuit and comes in three different types:
Flatlock: Flatlock seams are great for warmer water temps (62F & up) and these seams look like railroad tracks on the inside and outside. Some water does seep in through this type of seam.
Sealed (Glued & Blindstitched): Sealed seams have very little water seep through and work in cold water temps (55F & up). The seam is constructed by being glued first then stitched. The exterior is similar to flatlock seams but the interior is glued.
Sealed & Taped (Glued Blindstitched & 100% Taped): For serious durability and preventing any water from seeping in, sealed & taped seams work great for really cold water temps (55F & below).
Check out this video below for more on seams!
Zipper placement can also affect your SUP and kayaking wetsuit shopping.
SUP and kayaking wetsuits come with either a back zipper or a chest zipper. Front zippers seem to be the best choice for easy entry and exit while on the water. Front zippers can be found on wetsuit jackets or vests, long johns or short johns, and fullsuits.
Back zippers are comfortable and are also pretty easy to get in and out of but this style of zipper is more common for SUP and kayaking full wetsuits or shorty springsuits.
Now that you know the basics for buying a SUP and kayaking wetsuit, it’s time to get out there on the water! And if you have any questions, feel free to contact our customer service team either via phone (866-906-7848), email ([email protected]
I’m going to be white water rafting on the Kaituna river near Rotorua on October 8th. I’m unsure of the thickness of wetsuit that I require.
Thanks for asking. The thickness definitely depends on the water temperature, do you happen to know what those temperatures will be around that date you will be white water rafting? Please feel free to reach out to our customer service team either via phone, 866-906-7848 or email, [email protected] and they can help you find just what you need! Thank you.
Awesome post! This has got to be the most thorough guide to getting paddlers kitted out with a wetsuit on the internet. I’ve linked to you guys on the resources section of my website. Keep up the stand-out content.
Thanks for the awesome words on this post, Jamie! We definitely appreciate you linking to us on your website. You’re the best!
Boy, do I need help in deciding on what wetsuit to purchase.
I’m looking for a wetsuit to keep me warm while SUP paddling, kayaking, as well as some swimming in cooler water here in CT in late spring and early fall. Water temp. around 55-65 F. I’m 5’0 tall and weigh 95lbs. Measurements are chest 32 1/2″, waist 26″, and hips 33″. It would be great to be able to use it for a little surfing as well. I generally feel cooler than the average person in the water.
I appreciate your help and any suggestions you may have.
Thanks for asking! Unfortunately, there’s not a one suit for all so I would highly recommend a long jane (or pants) and jacket. They’re great for layering and work really well for kayaking and SUP since you won’t be in the water much and the front zippers make entry/exit super easy. Like I said though, you would need a separate suit for surfing and for swimming since they require different needs wetsuit-wise. This 3mm front zip long jane would fit you great in the XS: https://www.wetsuitwearhouse.com/PROD/17267-02.html#.V_ugs8lWX2s. Or if you want something with a little color or fun, we offer these Billabong long janes (you’d fit well in a size 2): https://www.wetsuitwearhouse.com/PROD/JWFUCSAJ.html#.V_ug0slWX2s. As far as pants go, we have a great selection here: https://www.wetsuitwearhouse.com/wetsuits/category/womens-wetsuit-shorts.html#/?_=1&filter.suit_type=Pants&page=1. And for front zip jackets, we have offer a lot of options: https://www.wetsuitwearhouse.com/search.html#/?_=1&filter.gender=Women%27s&page=1&filter.suit_type=L%2FS%20Tops&filter.zipper_type=null. When you’re looking for a size in which to buy, always base off of your chest measurement first.
This is a lot of information so please feel free to contact customer service either phone (866-906-7848) or email, [email protected]. Thanks again Kathy!
I would like some direction in purchasing a wet suit for my son-in-law for Christmas. He stands up boards on inland lakes in Michigan and sometimes on one of the great lakes. Is a top and bottom more practical for this sport or would the O’Neill Superfreak 4/3 one piece be better? Thanks, Diane
A two piece would be the most practical for your son. That way he can shed layers or add layers depending on the temperature when he is stand up paddling. Here is a selection of our front zip jackets: https://www.wetsuitwearhouse.com/search.html#/?_=1&filter.gender=Men%27s&page=1&filter.suit_type=L%2FS%20Tops&filter.zipper_type=Front%20Zip and here is a selection of our men’s bottoms: https://www.wetsuitwearhouse.com/search.html#/?_=1&filter.gender=Men%27s&page=1&filter.suit_type=Pants.
If you need any more help with this, feel free to contact our customer service team via phone, 866-906-7848, or email, [email protected]. Thank you!
Hello, I would like to buy a wet suit for my son-in-law for Christmas and need some direction. He stands up boards on inland lakes in Michigan and once in awhile on one of the great lakes. Is a top and bottom wet suit better for his sport or would the O’Neill Superfreak 4/3 be better? Thanks, Diane
I am interested in buying a wetsuit for kayaking off the coast of ME in waters ranging in temperature from about 50-60 degrees. My primary interest in protection from the cold water if I were to capsize. Other Important considerations are ease of putting on and taking off the suit, maneuverability (especially arms and shoulders), and overall comfort.
Do I need a full length or would a “shorty” be adequate? Are there over important considerations?
Considering your needs/wants, I would recommend getting a john & jacket instead of a fullsuit or a shorty. These layers are great because if you get too warm you can shed the pieces. Here are some great layering options from NRS: https://www.wetsuitwearhouse.com/wetsuits/category/nrs-wetsuits.html#/?_=1&filter.gender=Men%27s&page=1&filter.suit_type=Long%20Johns&filter.suit_type=Short%20Johns&filter.suit_type=L%2FS%20Tops&filter.suit_type=S%2FS%20Tops&filter.suit_type=Shorts. And here are some options from NeoSport: https://www.wetsuitwearhouse.com/wetsuits/category/neosport-wetsuits.html#/?_=1&filter.gender=Men%27s&page=1&filter.suit_type=L%2FS%20Tops&filter.suit_type=Long%20Johns&filter.suit_type=S%2FS%20Tops&filter.suit_type=Shorts&filter.suit_type=Short%20Johns.
Please feel free to reach out to our customer service team via live chat, phone (866-906-7848) or email [email protected] for any additional help. Thank you!
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