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How to Buy a Wetsuit for SUP and Kayaking

   August 22nd, 2016   Posted In: How-To   Tags: ,

How to Buy a Wetsuit for SUP and Kayaking

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 number 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 to look for when in order to buy 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 wetsuit 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. They also have other features like poly linings and zippers or straps for entry/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. Just 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 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! Questions? Contact our customer service team either via phone (866-906-7848), email (service@wetsuitwearhouse.com), or live chat!

Lauren (LoLo) has been turning words into blog posts for Wetsuit Wearhouse since 2014. She learned to surf for the first time ever in Costa Rica but she gravitates more towards SUP. When she's not scouring the web for travel deals, you can find her either hiking, running, gardening, tending to her animals, or reading a good book outside on a beautiful day.

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