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Wetsuit for SUP

Hi all!

I'm just getting into paddle boarding and I'm looking for a good top to keep me warm while I'm in the water but won't be too hot while paddle boarding.

I'm 6'2", 175lbs (with a long torso) and have a great dislike for even slightly cold water. I naturally run cold, have pretty much no useful insulating fat, and have poor circulation.
All that is to say I don't want to wear a full body wetsuit but I was wondering what you might recommend as a good alternative.

I've been looking at wetsuit shorties, tops, and rash guards, but I've read the latter doesn't really keep you warm.

I just bought the hydroskin .05 to try it out.
It's difficult to find anything in a Tall size, but ideally I'm looking for something Medium Tall, with decent flexibility that would keep me warm in a lake on a summer day but not make me miserably hot/stiff while boarding.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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6 Replies

@Hobbes Thanks for reaching out!

You are correct, that rashguards aren't really going to help keep you warm, particularly in the water. You off to a good start with the Hydroskin 0.5, we'll be curious to hear back if it is thick enough to work for you. Unfortunately, we don't carry anything in a Tall size, and it doesn't look like O'neill makes a tall version of many of the wetsuits we carry by them. However, it may be beneficial to check out the O'Neill Reactor II 1.5mm Front-Zip Wetsuit Jacket. At 1.5mm it will definitely help keep you warm, and the front zipper is super handy for putting it on and taking it off.

Additionally, for the flexibility you're looking for, take a look at the O'Neill Hyperfreak 1.5mm L/S Top. It comes in tall sizes and might fit great. Also, the O'Neill Reactor II 2mm Back Zip Spring Wetsuit is a good shorty wetsuit option. It even comes in a Medium-Tall if you order directly from O'Neill's website.

Hopefully this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

what @REI-JohnJ said, I would definitely get a front zipper next time.

REI Member Since 1979

@REI-JohnJ, Thanks for the recommendations! I actually purchased the  O'Neill Hyperfreak 1.5mm L/S Top and love the style but unfortunately the Medium/Tall was a little too tight.
If the Hydroskin doesn't work out I'll probably get the Hyperfreak in Large/Tall. 

I'll report back when the Hydroskin comes in.

Hey guys!
I promised an update so here it is, albeit over a month later.

I initially bought the NRS Hydroskin 0.5 and 
O'Neill hyperfreak.

The Hyperfreak was very tight on me but I like the style and I might purchase a larger size for colder water.
The NRS Hydroskin kept me warm but I could see it getting a little hot in the sun.

Then I tried the DAKINE TIG Snug-Fit Rashguard  but I discovered rashguard only cling to my skin and make me colder out of the water.

Finally I bought an O'Neill Men's Thermo-X Long Sleeve  and it did a great job of keeping me warm in the water while not being to thick or hot out of the water, and it's super comfortable. It also doesn't hurt that it fits me nicely and isn't too short for my freakishly long torso.

So there it is. The clear winner for me when it comes to a top that for paddleboarding is  the O'Neill Thermo-X.

I hope that's useful for someone!


Also, in case anyone was wondering, the MaxKare paddleboard kit on Amazon is fairly decent but the paddle it comes with is rubbish. The coupler that connects the top of the paddle to the bottom slid right off since there's no way to secure it. I know I'm not doing a great job at describing it but trust me, the paddle is rubbish.



Thanks for coming back to the community to let us know what worked for you. We're excited to hear you've got the gear you need. Have fun out there!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.