Best value in a paddle jacket?

Wondering what the best value is in a paddle jacket. My worst case enviornment is about 60° for both air and water temp (so-cal).

I’m a beginner and plan to use my wetsuit for paddle surfing but was wondering what to wear for occasional flat water paddling in area lakes, Big Bear, Mammoth, Yosemite lakes, etc. Thanks!

I love my Kokatat Gore-Tex semi-drytop
When I’m not quite in full drysuit conditions, I’ll wear a Farmer Jane wetsuit with my “semi-drytop” paddling jacket (and if the air temperature is cold, I may wear a fleece jacket underneath the paddling jacket). This “semi-drytop” means that there are latex wrist gaskets, but just adjustable neoprene closures at the waist and neck. I do wear my sprayskirt underneath the jacket, and this has worked very well for me.

It wasn’t exactly cheap, but I’ve been using it a lot for over eight years now, so I’d say it was a very good value.


I live in SOCAL
and in the winter, my paddling wear is usually the following:

NRS Farmer John

Rashguard poly unless it’s really cold and then Hydroskin

Chota Mukluk lites.

Kokatat Paclite Goretex paddling jacket for the really cold days or if lots of rolling practice.

I’ll also wear an NRS Mystery hood if I’m planning on lots of rolling or if it’s raining.

Be sure to check out our local club’s website

I second the PAClite

I think this Kokatat jacket in longsleeve might be a good bet.

There is also a shortsleeve version if you feel that it would be more useful in your climate. I have a shortsleeve paclite knappster and I live in Michigan, I wore it for the final days in fall for surfing and it worked pretty well. It’s not water tight, but it is close enough. Very breathable. I also wore it on a day long paddle across the mackinac straits (touring not surfing) and was very comfortable.

Great info, thanks!
And thanks for the website waterdoc!

That’s three in a row for the Kokatat products. I’ll check them out.

Check out
they have really nice stuff at a really good price.


Where are you surfing in Socal?
Right now I use a 3/2 wetsuit and an NRS paddle jacket (neoprene sealed at cuffs, neck and waiste). Works fine. On coldest days I put a thicker top under the wet suit instead of a rash guard. Water temps this morning were about 57-58, in North County San diego. Not sure how far north you are but the water gets colder up by Ventura. It can get down to about 55 F, here in Midwinter.

also check out
Immersion Research gear, they have a great line of paddle gear too. They have neo neck gaskets, unusual but cool.

I was just going to ask about a standard surfer-type wetsuit (3/2). I live in HB, about 40 minutes north of you. Water temp is now about 58°.

So, I have a 3/2 full suit I was thinking might work just as well for paddling. Guess I’ll give that a try. Anybody want to comment on this approach? Chaffing, rashes, pain??

If you can surf in it
You can paddle in it.

A rashguard keeps it from rubbing. Only problem is if the air temp is too warm, you tend to overheat in the wetsuit. Not too much of a problem just spash water onto yourself or roll, or flip in water and brace up. Definitely a tiny bit more work in a full suit than farmer john, but hey I need the exercise. I surf early morning at sun up and the temps are in low 40s with stiff breeze; sitting up out of the water in the wetsuit is kind of chilly in a kayak or on a waveski. I’m using a paddle jacket the last few weeks, but not really needed later in the day. If you are getting into surfing head down to the kayak specific beach in San Onofre and meet some other paddle surfers. Also check out (southern california surf kayakers) There are some guys who surf in the HB area.

If you plan on paddling those lakes in

– Last Updated: Dec-20-05 10:14 PM EST –

winter or spring. You bet be wearing a drysuit with proper head protection. That cold water can be deadly, especially if you are used to warm 54 deg waters.

Thanks all and seadart…
thanks for the webiste, I’ve been checking them out. Also, seems you feel a 3/2 suit is fine for 57°?? I usually don’t go back in until at least 60° in February, or so. I’m just anxious.

So, a 3/2 suit in mid-day 57°/58° water with ~65° air should work ok? Thanks again!

3/2 is OK
I forgot to mention I’m not a native californian and have lived in cold climates. I’m also 5’8 and about 205 lbs so I am “well insulated” and descended from “compact” coastal types from the UK. So your milage may vary. You might want some more insulation under your 3/2. I use an NRS hydroskin top underneath, and the NRS splash jacket on top, when its really cold, but I’m thinking about getting an Oneil p2 rashguard with a hood. A decent 4/3 suit can be had on sale next week, I may go that route for paddling at Jalama, Big Sur, and Santa Cruz.

mine, if you want to buy it! :slight_smile:
I have a Kokatat Tropos Reaction semi-dry top (medium I believe) for sale if you’re interested. I used it for one season paired with a farmer john wetsuit. It was fine down to around 55 degrees or so although it does take on quite a bit of water if you do a lot of rolling since it’s only semi-dry. (I roll a LOT so I use only dry gear these days.)

Even if you’re not interested in mine, I’d give that particular jacket a try since it’s very good at what it does.

Thanks schizopak
but I need at least an XL. I’m 6’0", 222 trying to get back to 200.

I’ll check that out and thanks for the lead!

Thanks seadart…
As I mentioned to schizopak, I’m 6’0" bearing about 222# and I grew up in Cleveland. I know the frigid weather well - that’s why I live here now.

Frankly, I’m now a weather wimp. If it’s

One Of the Places I Looked
when I was shopping was the IR website. They have a couple of pages of last year models at pretty good prices.

Happy Paddling,