If you love paddleboarding in the colder months, staying totally dry on a paddleboard is probably the most ideal scenario and a drysuit definitely is a great way of solving this issue..
When looking for a drysuit to paddleboard in, there are definitely some things to keep in mind, with comfort and not getting too hot being probably the key needs alongside staying dry of course.
Drysuits are fantastic for keeping you dry but – and there is a BIG BUT!!! a lot of dry suits are really uncomfortable and totally overkill for paddleboarding. The first thing to look into when buying a drysuit for paddleboarding is the neck – A lot of necks on drysuits are made out of latex or neoprene and are designed to be really tight and 100% keep the water out, this is great and totally agree with this for people who are diving as an example but paddleboarders in the cold er months are mostly paddleboarding in rivers, lakes and calm sea or canals and the likelihood of them falling in is slim but boiling to death and feeling totally overwhelmed is quite high if the purchase goes wrong.
What to look out for when buying a Drysuit for Paddleboarding…
- Check The Neck Design
There are a few brands now offering SUP-specific comfort necks at different price points.
Prolimit SUP suit is definitely the most reasonably priced dry suit
with Yak 2 piece coming in a close second
and Mustang Ocean Rodeo being the more expensive.
All the above brands have mastered the neck design to offer a ‘nearly’ 100% watertight design that is very comfortable to wear and allows riders to fall in without getting wet. If A rider is SUPsurfing or swimming in a drysuit then this is where the latex or neoprene tight seal is worth looking into but for most of us, the above designs are just what we all needed.
- The Comfort Wee! and Zip Design
Yes, we are going there! – The conversation on how to go to the toilet easily when wearing a dry suit?
Men have definitely been better catered for in this department than the women, with quite a few drysuits having a waterproof zip across the front, great for the boys, but useless for the women.
There is one absolutely amazing drysuit called the Mustang Survival – Women’s Helix CCS Gasket Dry Suit – This is a bit of a video on the product. Definitely more of an investment at £860 but has everything that is needed for long touring trips including a comfortable neck, sealed boots and a zip in the right place for the women (This product also has a different design for men’s comfort too).
If you need some guidance on specific drysuit needs just call Emma at SUP inflatables who has done a lot of work into finding specific drysuits for women (as well as men 🙂 )
The other product that are great for men and women’s comfort that are a little bit more budget conscious is the Prolimit SUP suit, This suit has an easy-to-use waterproof zip running up the front so having a quick wee behind a bush is easy enough and the Yak 2 piece is also a good product too as its a jacket and trouser combination.
- Booties Or Open Feet
There is definitely positive and negatives to both booties integrated into the drysuit or latex/neoprene cuffs that are waterproof around the base of the ankle. The latex or neoprene cuff can be worn with waterproof socks and trainers and does allow riders that prefer to go barefoot for as long as they can this option. The integrated booties allow for a full, no questions asked waterproof seal but the booties do have to be worn with neoprene boots or trainers to protect the fabric.
- Paddle-Specific Reach Capabilities
When choosing paddle wear, it’s really important to check the drysuit has the right reach capability before going out into the water.. All the Drysuits that we have been talking about in this blog do but it’s still important to check the product fits your height. When you do eventually get your shiny new drysuit there are a couple of stretches you can do to double-check the suit is the right size.
1. Get a paddle or pretend to have a paddle in your hand and put your hand above your head in about the place you are used to paddling and check there is enough room and the suit isn’t riding up into your crotch :).
2. Do a squat – Bend your knees with your bum sticking out (making sure there is enough space in the suit to bend down on your board and get back up again without the neck and shoulders pulling and feeling tight.
3. On a clean floor as the suit is new:) bend down on your hands and knees to simulate kneeling and getting up and down from your board.
The main issue with non-specific paddleboarding wetsuits is the rider just gets too hot in them, so a paddle-specific drysuit has been designed to allow the rider to get some air if needed.
The Prolimit Drysuit is probably the lightest and easiest suit we have found to unzip easily and cool down if needed, with the Yak 2 piece also having a great design as the inner dry neck is easily opened up to allow air to get in, The Rodeo drysuit also has a really well designed ‘Leasure mode’ which has surprisingly little info on it, to say its such a unique design, so Youtube videos will be coming on this product so watch this space and last but not least the Mustang Helix Drysuit with CCS is probably the least ventilated SUP specific suit we suggest but this suit is for anyone who wants a long distance suit that will also cover extreme weather conditions as it is fully watertight, including a comfort neck and comfort break zip.
Durability is really important when spending the pennies on a drysuit for yourself but once the pennies are spent the suit should last a very very long time. The rodeo and Mustang are definitely the most durable and come with extended warranties, that said my Prolimit drysuit has been used for 2 winters without signs of budging, If you ever do feel that your drysuit could do with a bit of TLC there are some really great products on the market to get it back to full working order. I would say the Zip is the thing that will need the most care, especially if you’re using it in the sea most of the time. All drysuits come with zip maintenance but when it runs out it is also really easy to purchase again, the other product that may also be good to know about is Drysuit repair glue, again, it’s super easy to use and easy to purchase.