Family stand up paddle boarding - what to wear
Family travel, Travel tips & gear

What to wear for paddle boarding with kids

Stand up paddle boarding is a brilliant outdoor activity for families – we are totally hooked after giving it a go last summer. However, you need more than something to ride to try out this fun water sport. Here’s what we recommend you wear for paddle boarding with kids:

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You need more than something to ride to try out stand up paddle boarding or SUP with your family. Here’s what we recommend you wear paddle boarding with kids for comfort, safety and practicality #SUP #paddleboard #watersport #beach #outdoors #fun #family #kids #TinBoxTraveller #wear #clothes #equipment

Wet suits

Wet suits should be top of your mind when wondering what to wear paddle boarding, especially in the UK.

Four-year-old Baby has inherited a Jakabel toddler wetsuit* from her sister. It originally had inbuilt floats which were great for when the girls were splashing around at the beach. We have now taken them out and would advise wearing a further buoyancy aid for water sports (see below).

Seven-year-old Tot has a Nalu child’s wetsuit* which we picked up during a day out at a country park last year. It’s really flexible and has lasted a season already.

Mr Tin Box bought a XCEL shorty wetsuit from a local surf shop. There’s similar ones on Amazon*.

Wetsuits can be an awkward fit so sometimes going to a shop where you can try them on before you buy is a good idea.

Dad and daughter standing with paddle board

Meanwhile, I picked up a £30 wetsuit from our local super market to see what the quality difference was. Mine was definitely thicker and less flexible, but it did the job. 

My guess is that it will probably last a season or two. Here’s a similar one on Amazon*.

UV protective swimwear

If you are paddle boarding in the summer or in warmer climes then you can probably ditch the wet suit and opt for standard swimwear.

I know from experience that you can burn easily when on the water – ouch! When doing any kind of water sport like paddle boarding wear UV protective swimwear, rash vests and hats to protect you and the kids.

Buoyancy aids

Something that we didn’t have before starting paddle boarding were buoyancy aids for the kids. We picked up a Gul from Go Outdoors for £40 and a Circle One from a surf shop. Similar ones are available on Amazon*.

It’s a good idea to talk through the various options or seek advice from a professional to make sure you get an appropriate buoyancy aid for your kid.

Tot wearing Circle One buoyancy aid on beach in Wales
Mum and girl on paddle board. Girl wears a Gul buoyancy aid

Read more of our tips for paddle boarding with kids.

When we borrowed boards from Red Paddle Co they also supplied us with two Airbelt personal flotation devices. Think of those life jackets they use in safety demonstrations on planes but tucked away in a waist belt that you can quickly put over your head and inflate should you get into trouble.

These have been specially designed for Red to give you the reassurance of carrying a buoyancy aid without it getting in the way.

When we bought our own boards we found these buoyancy floats*.

Beach shoes

Non-slip, water shoes will help you when you are getting in the water and on the board. 

Sun glasses

If you’re out on the water you’re bound to be picking up plenty of sunlight reflecting off the surface of the water. Good sunglasses will help to protect your eyes and your kids’ eyes. 

More things you need for paddle boarding

The paddle boards

We used Red inflatable paddle boards last summer and loved them, plus they are a Devon company – not that we are biased! Other brands are available. We have recently bought Sandbank SUP Style boards and found the main difference was the price.

Read our Red paddle board review and our Sandbanks SUP Style paddle board review.

Red paddle boards proper up next to parked car

Changing towels

Donning a wetsuit on the each or in a car park is no mean feat. Having a changing towel* makes this soooo much easier.

Child wearing Red Paddle Board Co changing towel

Cool bag

If you are planning an expedition with your paddle boards then you may want to take a picnic with you. Red make a waterproof, insulated cool bag* that is ideal for this with plenty of contact points for you to secure it to the webbing on your board. It is pricy but it keeps things cold for ages so is also ideal for festivals and camping too.

Dry bag

When you are using a public beach to launch you will want to take dry bag for essential items you don’t want to leave in your car. Mobile phones, car keys and cash, as well as a microfibre towel* and change of clothes can be kept drip free in a dry bag*.

Mobile phone case

If you need to keep your mobile phone accessible, which is always handy if you are paddle boarding off shore, a waterproof mobile phone case* is handy. You can also slip a bit of cash into this.

Now we can’t wait to get back out on the water. Have you been paddle boarding? What kit do you always take with you?

For more travel advice and reviews take a look at my tips for smashing travel with kids and sign up to my newsletter.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link marked with * and make a purchase then I may earn some commission. This doesn’t affect the price you pay.

Planning a SUP adventure with kids? Why not save this post about what to wear paddle boarding.

You need more than something to ride to try out stand up paddle boarding or SUP with your family. Here’s what we recommend you wear paddle boarding with kids for comfort, safety and practicality #SUP #paddleboard #watersport #beach #outdoors #fun #family #kids #TinBoxTraveller #wear #clothes #equipment