For some, SUP is a lighthearted frolic in the water, whereas for others, it’s a serious fitness regime; as the LA Times have noted, simply maintaining good posture during SUP is a serious workout. Just like all sports and fitness arenas, there is a significant amount of min-maxing going on behind the scenes with SUP – and clothing enters as its own debate. Just as nutrition and sleep impact the internal workings of the body, having the right clothing can help to maximize your performance.
Sweat wicking from the body
SUP obviously benefits from its proximity to water. However, during SUP yoga or speed trial events, it can be a disadvantage to have to get submerged at junctures throughout the event. This is where clothes can assist. The use of lycra, for instance, can bring sweat away from the body and help to regulate temperature, improving your performance. Furthermore, with the development of textiles that actively cool the body in response to heat upticks, as presented in one Scientific American analysis, clothes will start to play a very active role in your heat regulation and managing the fatigue that heat creates.
What to avoid
Generally, close-fitting clothes are going to the best option in getting sweat off your body and also improving your dynamism on the board. Loose-fitting clothes, like board shorts and baggy t-shirts, are great for endurance hobbies like SUP fishing. For all athletic pursuits, however, less is generally more. Go for tighter-fitting, sweat wicking clothes that are still flexible, enabling your body to reach it’s peak.
What about nothing at all?
Especially in hotter climates, like San Diego’s, many SUP enthusiasts will choose to forego any clothes but their life jacket and underwear. While this is often comfortable and feels natural, there is evidence that scientifically designed equipment can boost speed and how aerodynamic an athlete is. According to Cycling Torque, the type of body suit used in cycling can boost performance by up to 10%. Instead of no clothes, pick the right clothes.
SUP can be a genuine athletic pursuit. For competitive boarders, it’s important to have the right equipment. Clothing can be a key part of that, and having the right balance, material and type of apparel will help you to squeeze out the extra few percentage points that will get you to the top of leader boards.