As the weather gets warmer, a great place to cool off or get in some exercise is the closest body of water. Water Sports like surfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, SUPing and sailing are great exercise–and a lot of fun! Does what you’re wearing make the cut? Go through this checklist:
1.Will it keep you cool or warm?
Temperatures on the water can change quickly. It is best to dress in light layers of synthetic materials like nylon and neoprene. Bathing suits are great for hot weather, but if the water is cooler than 70 degrees Fahrenheit and you run the risk of falling in, you may want to consider a wetsuit or drysuit. A windbreaker or rain jacket are great to have in case the weather changes. In Spring and Fall, you may want to consider other forms of a wetsuit:Spring Suit: Short sleeves, comes just above the knee.
Long John: Sleeveless wetsuit
Short John: Sleeveless with shorts
Rash Guard: Neoprene tops
2. Will it stay on?
Very active sports require secure clothing. Look for board shorts with secure-fitting drawstrings–bonus points for surfing if the drawstring is on the side and you don’t have to lay on it while paddling out. Women should also look for cross-back or t-strap bathing suits that work like a sports bra and stay on securely. Tankinis and One-piece swim suits are more secure than traditional bikini tops. Women’s bottoms may also have rubber lining to keep them in place. Don’t do Water Sports with a pair of sunglasses you’re not okay with losing, and keep them on a lanyard for extra security.
3. Is it functional?
Water Sport wear should be fitted enough to stay secure while still allowing you a wide range of motion. Rash guards, wetsuits and dry suits will protect you from winds and friction. Waterproof, water resistant, and quick-dry materials are a plus. Women should bring hair elastics, as it can get very windy on the water!
4. Are you protected?
Some rash guards and bathing suits have UV-blocking UPF qualities to protect you from the sun’s rays. Be sure to use SPF on your skin, wear a hat and protect your eyes with sunglasses. Polarized, orange-tinted glasses are best for countering the glare off of the water. Protect your hands from paddles, sailing lines, and more with gloves–either find some specially used for sailing, or get more use out of your weightlifting/bicycling gloves.
Don’t forget your life-vest! A PFD(personal flotation device) is required for each person for both sailing and SUPing. Waterskiiers and wakeboarders should also wear life-jackets.
Your footwear counts, too! Many watersports are done barefoot but you may want to consider protective footwear in cold, rocky or unknown waters, as well as during more active sports. If you’ll be on a boat or Stand-Up Paddleboard, make sure that the soles of your shoes are slip-resistant, strong-gripping and non-marking. Shoes that have drainage are also ideal. Some of our favorites are Chaco sandals, Vibram FiveFingers, Sperry Top-Siders, and Sebago Shoes. For more about shoes you can set sail in, see last week’s blog.