Cold Weather Paddle Clothing

Surf Booties

Cold Weather Paddle Clothing

Its starting to get chilly. Sort of! But best be prepared before you decide to go for a paddle and end up underdressed and shivering or overdressed and overheating.

Flatwater Paddling: Dress for 20 Degrees Warmer

The key to dressing for a paddle in the winter is layers–from head to toe. Paddling in the flatwater is kind of like going for a run or a bike ride. It’s cardiovascular activity and you’ll heat up quickly. You never want to wear a full wetsuit while you’re paddling in flat water. You’ll overheat really fast. Here’s what you want to think about wearing instead:

Neoprene Vest


It’s important to keep your core warm. As temperatures drop, think about adding a neoprene vest. In the meantime, here are some suggestions for layers:

  • Short-sleeved rash guard or paddle shirt (made from material that will wick moisture)
  • Neoprene vest
  • Water-resistant vest (From Season Five, for example)
  • Paddle jacket with wind-resistant front

Bottom Tights for paddling

  • Tights
  • Compression pants
  • Neoprene pants (when temps are below 40 degrees)


  • Booties (non split-toe for flat water)
  • Wool socks under the booties for extra warmth (wool conducts heat even when wet)

Surf Booties

Farmer John WetsuitOcean Paddling

Layers are still important with ocean paddling. If you tend to fall a lot, think about adding a wetsuit to your wardrobe. The specific type of wetsuit you’ll want is called a “Farmer John” or “Farmer Jane.” These wetsuits are sleeveless so that you can move your arms easily for paddling. These wetsuits also provide more room to breathe so that you don’t overheat. If conditions are calm and you don’t fall a lot, layers that you’d wear for flat water will be fine.

Split toe or non-split toe booties work well.


You can surf in a Farmer John with long-sleeved layers underneath. A 1/2 mil or 1 mil long-sleeved top will be enough when the water is still fairly warm, especially on a warm day.

Full Wetsuit


As the water cools off, you’ll want to put on a full body wetsuit, possibly with a rash guard or some layers underneath for extra warmth.

Need help?

Split toe booties are often preferred for surfing because they allow you to grip the board and move around more easily. Always fold your wetsuit legs over the booties–don’t tuck them under the booties because if you get water in your wetsuit it will get stuck at your ankles!

Need help picking out winter gear? Call us! (910) 679-4473