If you're about to go skimboarding for the first time you might be unsure of exactly what you should wear skimboarding.
You need to wear the right attire skimboarding because otherwise you can end up too cold, too hot or too restricted – all of which make skimboarding harder and not as fun.
Bikini, boardshorts, springsuits or full wetsuits? What exactly should you wear skimboarding?
If the water temperature is above 70ºF (20ºC) and there is no wing chill most people choose to skimboard in boardshorts, a swimsuit or a bikini. However, in colder temperatures a wetsuit should be worn otherwise you will get too cold.
A rash shirt is also advised in warmer weather to protect you from the harmful UV rays of the sun. If not then definitely load up on sunscreen so you don't get burned.
What you decide to wear skimboarding depends largely on:
- The water temperature
- The outside temperature
- The wind chill factor
Read on to learn exactly what to wear in each different scenario.
What Do You Wear Skimboarding in the Summer?
Skimboarding is more popular in the warmer summer months for obvious reasons. Fewer people are willing to brave the frigid temperatures of winter just to catch some waves.
If the water temperature is above 70ºF (20ºC) then you can get away with wearing board shorts, a swimsuit or a bikini for the girls.
A rash shirt is also usually advised in the summer months, especially for kids. Rash shirts don't really keep you warm but they do protect you from the sun's harmful UV rays.
For people who need more support in their bust when running and skimboarding then yes, you can wear a swim bra under your rash guard! It's a great way to add support while still looking great at the beach.
Remember, a rash guard won’t keep you warm in cold water. If the water temperature is between 40-50ºF (8-15ºC) you will probably need a full wetsuit.
Even when the sun is shining, we would advise against going bare on top when skimboarding.
A rash guard provides UV protection to stop you from getting sunburnt, as well as preventing any scrapes if you fall on sand, stones or sharp shells. Read more on rash guards vs swim suits if you're not sure which one you should wear.
What Do You Wear Skimboarding in Cold Weather?
I remember the first day I went skimboarding it was raining and windy and cold, but I was so excited to take my new board out that I didn't care.
Boardshorts or swimmers just won’t cut it if the water temperature is below 60ºF (15ºC) or if it’s a windy day. You'll end up frozen to the bone with your teeth chattering and while the skimming might be fun overall it's be a pretty miserable experience.
When the water and/or weather is colder you'll really want to consider wearing a wetsuit to keep you warm when skimboarding. This is what I did on that extremely cold and windy day I went skimboarding.
Consider a spring suit/short sleeve wetsuit if you want to stay warm and comfortable when skimboarding when it is cold.
However, if we are talking SUPER cold and the water is below 50ºF (10ºC) or it’s very windy, we recommend a full 3mm or a 2mm wetsuit so you can stay out on the waves without feeling too cold.
Wind chill factor plays a huge role. If you're new to skimboarding (check out our full guide on exactly how to learn skimboarding fast) and you're skimboarding on a lake or there isn't much swell then you're not going to get extremely wet.
However, if you're learning to skimboard waves you're going to get completely wet.
When skimboarding a lot of your time is spent out of the water and if there's a cold wind and you're wet you can get cold really quickly.
Anything colder than 45ºF (7ºC) you are really going to need a full wetsuit. We recommend at least 3mm or you won’t last long on the water.
For temperatures below 40ºF (4ºC) you will need some extra thermal gear. We are talking a full wetsuit, hood, mitts, shoes, and gloves, as well as some serious courage! If you're skimboarding in this weather I'd also recommend questioning your own sanity. That's some serious commitment if you ask me.
Be mindful that skimboarding is NOT surfing. You will be spending most of your time out of water, so wind chill is a huge factor to consider. Cold water on a hot day is often easier than warmer water on a cold windy day. Learn more about the difference between skimboarding vs surfing.
The table below breaks down all the different skimboarding clothing by water temperature. Take a picture and keep it with you to refer to later.
Worried a wetsuit might kill your look? You need to know how to look good in a wetsuit.
What to Wear Skimboarding
|Water Temperature||What You Should Wear Skimboarding|
|>70ºF (20ºC)||Boardshorts (or bikini) and rash guard|
|60-70ºF (15-20ºC)||2mm short arm/ short leg wetsuit|
|45 – 60ºF(8-15ºC)||3/2mm full wetsuit|
|Upper teens to 40ºF(-8-8ºC)||No one really skims in this weather but if you do…|
5/4mm Full wetsuit with hood, 7mm boots, and 5mm mitts (+ loads of courage)
|Anything below the teens||Are you crazy?!!! If so…|
7mm full wetsuit and a thermal layer underneath
Do I Wear Shoes Skimboarding?
You typically don’t see skimboarders wearing shoes as they can negatively impact your running ability, slow you down, and mess up your balance. Add to the fact they can be slippery when wet and lead to falls and you're almost always better off surfing barefoot.
Wetsuit booties are usually reserved for when the water gets extremely cold. (i.e., when it's cold enough to start becoming painful.)
If you are skimming on a beach with coarse stones or sharp shells, booties will protect your feet.
If you do want to invest in a pair, look for high-quality 7mm ones. You can get thinner shoes, but they are not as warm and are much more likely to wear through whilst skimming.
A Word on Wetsuits
It might be wise to invest in short-leg and long-arm wetsuits for skimboarding, as running in full-leg neoprene can be uncomfortable.
Skimboarding is typically carried out on the shore where sand can easily get trapped in your long leg suit. We don’t need to tell you that it does not feel good. This is another reason why a spring wetsuit might be a better option.
What Do Most People Wear When Skimboarding?
As skimboarding is typically carried out in the warmer weather, most people wear board shorts or swimwear.
This attire is comfortable and easy to run around in.
Plus everyone looks better in beachwear rather than a wetsuit… right?!
Of course, be safe and dont forget the sunscreen.
Before your skimboarding adventure you will need to look at the weather, the water temperature, and the beach – is it shingle or sand?
If the water temperature is above 70ºF (20ºC) and it isn’t too windy slip on your board shorts or swimwear and your good to go. We advise if you are going bare on top to be mindful of falls and potentially scraping across the shingle or getting a sunburn.
Boardshorts and a rash guard just won’t cut it if the water temperature is below 60ºF (15ºC) or if it’s a particularly windy day, consider a short leg wetsuit if you want to stay warm and comfortable.
If the beach has sharp stones or shells then consider wearing good quality booties, but be mindful that these may impact your grip, balance and speed.
In colder temperatures, anything below 60ºF (15ºC), you are going to need a full wetsuit if you want to be comfortable and warm during your skimboarding session.
For those brave enough to skim even colder waters (anything below 40ºF) you are definitely going to need to bring mitts, a hood and possibly even a thermal layer too.