At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we can’t overstate the importance of sun protection in the summer. The reality of the paddlesports world is that you’re adventuring where there’s little shade to shield you from the sun’s gaze and the unrelenting glare off the water.

Are bad memories of being nagged to wear sunscreen as a kid creeping in yet?

For kayaking, kayak fishing, or paddle boarding, you need to be prepared to go the extra mile for sun protection. Beyond sunscreen, you must remember to stay hydrated and you dressed to protect your skin.

The reality of the paddlesports world is that you’re adventuring where there’s little shade to shield you from the sun’s gaze and the unrelenting glare off the water.

Step #1: Cover Up 

Summer’s here, meaning it’s time to shed the layers… right? Nah, not when you’re out on the water. You want a long-sleeve shirt, especially if you’re planning to go out in the peak smoldering hours (noon-4 pm).

But won’t I get hot?,” you ask. Ideally, you’re looking for lightweight, breathable apparel made out of a quick-drying fabric. Something like the NRS Baja Sun Shirt or the Columbia PFG Cool Catch Tech Zero Long Sleeve Shirt are good options (check out our full apparel selection here).

Columbia PFG Cool Catch Tech Zero Long Sleeve Shirt

You want to end up looking like this guy in the summer – buffhat and all.

Step #2: Drink Your Weight & Then Some In Water

To stay hydrated while paddling your yak or SUP, you’re going to need cold, accessible water, and lots of it. Consider upgrading from your standard water bottle, because your water, even if it’s ice water, will turn lukewarm quickly. Depending on the length of the paddle excursion, you could get away with bringing an insulated tumbler (the YETI gallon jug is a popular pick this summer).

But ultimately, a great idea is investing in a hydration pack like the lightweight CamelBak HydroBak or the more heavy duty Outdoor Research Hoist Pack Daypack if you don’t already have one.

Hydration packs hold plenty of water, some more than others. They’re versatile, so you can use it for all adventures on and off the water this summer. And they’re more accessible and space-efficient than a solid container (you can wear it or place it on the front of your SUP or in the cockpit/hatch of your kayak).

Step #3: Just Go In The Evening

We’re not trying to be snarky with this advice. Who says you gotta be limited to mid-day paddling? With increased hours of daylight, summer is the perfect season to try your hand at evening and night-time excursions.

Just make sure you’re preparing with the proper safety measures, and let us know how your experience goes.


Having read this, we’re trusting you to heed our advice and have a summer free of harmful sunburns and zero risk of heat exhaustion or stroke (if you’re wondering what the difference between the two is, read our blog explaining the distinction).

Stay cool & happy paddling!