Is there even such a thing as the right clothing for paddle boarding in the cold season? Apart from a SUP wetsuit or a SUP drysuit and some proper insulating SUP shoes, what else do you need to have a good time on the board in the cold?
SUP gloves are indispensable for paddling enthusiasts who don’t want to let the weather conditions force them to take a long break from their favorite pastime. On the contrary, paddling amidst the gorgeous fall colors or a snowy landscape can be a kind of poetry in itself. However, paddling in colder weather is fun only with the right gloves for paddling.
With our tips you will get through autumn and winter with warm and healthy hands.
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Do I Need Gloves for Paddle Boarding?
SUP gloves are necessary for temperatures below 50°F (10°C) and especially in wet or windy weather. Protecting hands from wetness and chill is important to improve performance, be comfortable, and prevent stiffness and hypothermia. SUP gloves are also recommended in other situations to protect hands from extreme UV exposure, chafing from long paddling, or injury from contact with sharp objects such as shards and shells.
When you think of stand up paddling, most people probably imagine a sunny day on a calm river, with sunglasses and tanned shoulders in the blazing sun. However, with the change of seasons, air and water temperatures begin to drop and the sun no longer provides as much warmth as it does in the height of summer.
With the right SUP gloves, the paddling season starts in early spring (March at the latest) and ends between October and November, depending on where you live.
Hardcore outdoor freaks and competitive athletes can paddle throughout the year -even on classic winter days when most of us would trade in our paddle board for a snowboard or, even better, for a good book in a warm room.
Many people only use SUP gloves in lower temperatures. However, you should always take wind into account as it cools your hands more quickly. Plus, several studies have shown that women (and children) get cold quicker than men.
Therefore, it’s best to have gloves with you at least as a backup, preferably a pair of cross-country or neoprene gloves.
Read also: Can you stand up paddle board in rain?
Some paddlers might argue that it’s harder to have a good grip when wearing gloves – and that the feeling for the paddle is somewhat lost. In this case, you could resort to gloves that are otherwise used for sailing or surfing. These usually have a leather surface or special non-slip material on the palms to guarantee good grip.
Apart from water sports, cross-country or bicycle gloves can also be your friend on the paddle board. That said, be advised that the fun is over if they get wet.
You can even get extra style points by wearing really cool looking SUP gloves, like some of the ones listed in the following section: What Are the Best SUP Gloves?
Chafing and Injuries
Repeated movements and friction of the skin can get very uncomfortable. SUP gloves protect your hands from annoying calluses and blisters when you maneuver the paddle for an extended period.
Bicycle gloves can be especially well suited for this purpose. They will provide soft padding between your hands and the paddle shaft.
In cold and wet weather, you’d better opt for fleece or merino wool gloves as they can absorb body heat and store it. For added warmth, some models have an integrated membrane to keep the wetness away from your fingers.
Indeed, SUP gloves are worn not only in cold weather but also in the opposite. Long paddling sessions in very sunny weather expose the hands to harmful UV rays. In addition, sweaty hands are problematic because they worsen the grip on the paddle and form blisters more easily.
All these negative effects can be counteracted with suitable gloves for paddling. Find out what you should specifically look for in SUP gloves in the next section.
Read also: Paddle Board Paint (A Comprehensive Guide)
What to Look Out for in SUP Gloves
First and foremost, gloves for paddle boarding should be weatherproof. This includes both waterproofing and windproofing, and ideally UV protection as well. SUP gloves should be comfortable to wear for at least a couple of hours, keep hands warm, and ideally absorb moisture from inside and out. A firm grip on the paddle is important, as it should not slip out of the gloved hand and sink into the water.
Are Neoprene SUP Gloves a Good Choice?
Neoprene gloves with a thickness of 3 to 5 mm can keep you warm even after a fall into the cool water. When moving, the body can still keep a good temperature after that, provided that you keep paddling. At rest, however, you cool down very quickly with wet neoprene.
As so often in life, the optimal solution does not exist. The biggest drawback is the non-existent breathability of rubber gloves. This means that you usually sweat a lot when you move, especially if you rarely come into contact with water.
Also, fatigue and cramps in the hands and arms can occur after some time because neoprene SUP gloves can cut off blood circulation.
Read also: How to choose a wetsuit for paddle boarding?
What are Pogies for Paddle Boarding?
Pogies, or ” paddle paws”, are an alternative to SUP gloves when you want to keep your hands dry, warm, and free. Instead of wearing them as gloves, pogies are like large mittens that attach directly to the paddle. You simply put your hands in and grip the paddle shaft from the inside.
Often pogies are made of nylon so they are thin and flexible (similar to kayak pants or some SUP drysuits), only with a reinforced cuff for an easier entry. In other cases, pogies can be made of neoprene, but either way, they are always waterproof and windproof as they are designed for rowing and paddling.
The main advantage of pogies is the freedom of movement for hands and fingers. Moreover, they provide excellent breathability, as they do not enclose the skin all around, but are still able to keep the warmth inside.
What Are the Best SUP Gloves?
There are a variety of gloves for paddling on the market, and it’s hard to know which ones are right for you. We’ll help you out with a short list of our best SUP gloves that are versatile and practical:
- made of strong and flexible neoprene
- glued and blind stitched – super durable
- soft elastic surface fabric for more warmth
- adjustable Velcro wrist straps
- pre-formed hand-shaped ergonomic design
- fingerless for more freedom of movement
- breathable and quick-drying
- stretchy and comfortable (20% spandex)
- anti-slip silicone palm
- high sun protection factor
- hoop and loop closure at the wrist
- fingerless for maximum dexterity
- reinforced contact points for grip and durability
- suitable for saltwater
- certified UPF 50+ shield
- moisture-wicking material – suitable for fishing as well
- pull off easily with middle finger pull tab
- full-finger glove suitable for colder conditions
- silicone printing on the palm for superior grip
- strong protection against blisters and calluses
- comfortable unisex fit
- not waterproof
- can be used also for gym training, weight lifting, etc.
- 4-way stretch super thin material (0.5 mm)
- thermal lining for better heat insulation
- high-quality NRS Hydroskin material
- GripCote print on the palm for great grip
- not waterproof but drainable and quick-drying
- warm enough even for ice climbing
By the way, have you ever heard of paddle board boxing? To practice it, you’ll need a totally different set of SUP gloves, as shown in video below! 😉
Finally, here’s another important piece of advice: Remember to check the navigation rules and the nature reserves of the respective water body where you want to paddle. Especially in winter and spring, there are more restrictions, for example, to protect waterfowl that are overwintering. In spring, waters and river sections are additionally closed because of the spawning and breeding times of fish and birds.