Tips for Hot Weather Paddle Boarding

Hot weather paddle boarding requires some special considerations to ensure you stay safe, comfortable, and have a fantastic time. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind for your next sunny paddle boarding adventure.


Summer is the perfect season for paddle boarding. The sun is shining, the water is warm, and there’s nothing quite like gliding across a serene lake or riding gentle ocean waves. However, hot weather paddle boarding requires some special considerations to ensure you stay safe, comfortable, and have a fantastic time. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind for your next sunny paddle boarding adventure.

inflatable paddle board in the desert

Stay Hydrated

One of the most crucial things to remember when paddle boarding in hot weather is to stay hydrated. The combination of physical activity and heat can quickly lead to dehydration, which can make you feel fatigued and dizzy. Always bring a large water bottle and take regular sips, even if you don't feel thirsty. Consider using a hydration pack so you can drink hands-free while paddling. Electrolyte drinks can also be beneficial as they replace essential salts lost through sweat.

Wear Sun Protection

The sun's rays can be intense when you're out on the water, and it's easy to get sunburned without realizing it. Make sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 before heading out and reapply it every two hours, or more frequently if you're sweating or swimming. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and UPF-rated clothing can also provide extra protection from the sun.

Choose the Right Time of Day

Timing your paddle boarding session can make a significant difference in your comfort level. Early mornings and late afternoons are the best times to avoid the peak heat of the day, which usually occurs between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Not only will it be cooler, but the lighting during these times is often beautiful, providing stunning views and excellent opportunities for photography.

Dress Appropriately

Wearing the right clothing can keep you cool and comfortable. Lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics are ideal as they help keep sweat away from your skin and dry quickly. Rash guards or paddle board-specific tops and bottoms are excellent choices. Consider wearing a swimsuit underneath in case you decide to take a refreshing dip. Also, water shoes can protect your feet from hot surfaces and provide better grip on your board.

Take Breaks

Don’t push yourself too hard in the heat. Paddle boarding can be a strenuous activity, and it's essential to listen to your body. Take frequent breaks to rest and hydrate. Find a shady spot or even take a quick swim to cool off. Remember, it's okay to take it easy and enjoy the experience without overexerting yourself.

Use a Cooling Towel

Cooling towels can be a lifesaver in hot weather. These towels are designed to retain moisture and stay cool for an extended period. Simply wet the towel, wring it out, and drape it around your neck or shoulders. The evaporative cooling effect will help keep your body temperature down, making your paddle boarding experience much more enjoyable.

Be Aware of Heat Exhaustion

paddle board race board

Heat exhaustion is a serious condition that can occur when your body overheats. Symptoms include heavy sweating, dizziness, nausea, headache, and muscle cramps. If you or your paddle boarding companions experience any of these symptoms, it's crucial to get out of the sun immediately, hydrate, and cool down as quickly as possible. Seek medical attention if symptoms do not improve.

Enjoy the Water

One of the best ways to stay cool while paddle boarding in hot weather is to take advantage of the water around you. Don’t hesitate to jump in and take a swim. Practicing paddle boarding skills that involve getting in the water, like self-rescue techniques, can also be a fun way to cool off while improving your abilities.

Take Care of Your Paddle Board

Hot weather can take a toll on your paddle board, so it’s essential to take some precautions to keep it in good shape:

  1. Avoid Prolonged Sun Exposure: When not in use, keep your paddle board out of direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause the materials to degrade and the board to overheat, potentially leading to warping or delamination. Use a board bag or cover to protect it from the sun.
  2. Store Properly: When storing your paddle board, keep it in a cool, shaded area. If possible, store it indoors. Make sure the board is dry before storing to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  3. Don’t Overinflate your Inflatable SUP:  Don’t inflate your paddle board to the maximum PSI as the heat will expand the air in the board.

Use a SUP with a Cooler

Bring a small cooler with you, pack it with ice and cold drinks. Having access to cold beverages can be incredibly refreshing and help maintain your hydration. Some paddle boards also have attachments for cooler bags, making it easy to carry your refreshments along.

Know Your Limits

inflatable paddle board on a roof rack

Finally, be mindful of your physical limits. Paddle boarding in hot weather can be more challenging than in cooler conditions. Pay attention to how your body feels and don't hesitate to cut your session short if you start feeling overheated or unwell. It’s better to be cautious and paddle another day than to push yourself too hard.