What to Look for in SUP Base Layers

SUP base layers are important. They should be some of the first pieces of gear you purchase after you get the SUP itself. With that being said, you can’t just buy any old base layers. You need to find base layers that are going to benefit your style of riding.

So, we’re going to go over some of the key traits that you should look for in a set of SUP base layers. Let’s get started.


One of the most crucial traits of a good set of SUP base layers is that it’s lightweight.

It is very likely that you will get thrown off your board if you’re doing anything more than floating around on the calmest waters. If that happens, and you’re wearing heavy clothing, you’ll feel as if you put bricks in your pockets.

A lot of materials absorb water very quickly, and they can end up weighing several times what they do when they’re dry. If you’re in the water and that happens, the results can be disastrous.

Make sure your base layers are made from lightweight materials.


This goes with the previous tip. Even the lightest base layers will end up being heavy in the water if they’re not waterproof. A good set of nylon base layers, or another fabric that is treated to repel water, would be ideal.

Also, waterproofing helps keep you warm. Even if you don’t end up going for a swim, you will get splashed. Having base layers that reflect water will keep your skin dry and warm. This can be crucial for preventing hypothermia.


SUP base layers aren’t the cheapest clothing items. They’re niche clothing, and manufacturers have to charge more since they’re not exactly as in demand as basic t-shirts and shorts.

On top of that, SUP riding can be fairly rough on your clothes. They’ll constantly get soaked, and if you fall, you can hit things that rip holes in your clothing.

As such, you’ll want durable base layers that will last a considerable time.

Not only will this mean that you won’t have to buy new base layers frequently, but it will also help keep you safer. Durable base layers are a lot less likely to rip and leave you exposed than flimsy ones that can’t take a hit.


When we say “cost-effective” we do not mean cheap. So, let’s get that out of the way first. Instead, we mean that the price of the base layers should reflect the overall quality and any special features that they have.

There’s a fine balance here. You should expect to pay more than you would for your basic big-box store t-shirts, but if you’re getting a barebones package made from mid-range materials, you shouldn’t be willing to pay premium prices, either.

Just like any other product, you should get what you’re paying for. If you’re paying at the higher end of the price spectrum, you should expect all of the bells and whistles. This isn’t a designer shirt you’re buying. The price shouldn’t come from a logo. It should come from the benefits it offers while you’re on the water. As such, if you’re paying very little, you shouldn’t expect more than a functional piece of gear.

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