Long sleeve under short sleeve dry top?

Greetings All,

Somewhat in the market for a dry top. I paddle mostly in South Florida, and not sure if the water down here really gets cold enough to warrant a dry top, but received notice if going up to central/north Florida having one is recommended, especially if planning on doing alot of rolling (taking a rolling class up there in a few months)

Considering my situation - I was thinking a short sleeve top would be ideal? If so, could I use a long sleeve wetsuit or rash guard underneath one? Would water be able to enter the dry top? Since the water could more easily leak through a wrinkle in the rashguard under the sleeve gaskets - than the sleeve gaskets on skin? - Over thinking this?

Thanks in advance!,


Does the water really get below 60 ?

water temp

– Last Updated: Dec-03-12 6:22 AM EST –

I live in N. central Florida (Ocala/Gainesville area) frequent the Gulf. Look at the chart below:


Cedar Key is west of Ocala and does drop into the high 50-low 60 range.

I'm thinking similar temps for the Atlantic at given latitude.

I would think a long sleeve rashie or something like below will be just fine.


Granted at my local air may be colder than water so maybe a layer you could peel off if it gets too warm

Yes and yes
You can wear a long sleeve top under a short sleeve dry top. Fairly common for the whitewater folks up here in the mid-range temps. I have done it here and there paddling.

Water will climb up the sleeve past the arm gasket, amount depends on how much immersion and the material. The gasket won’t stop water from following natural paths in the garment. But - it will allow you to still be warm even if the top gets damp by blocking wind.

Actually, come colder weather I have been known to pull out less breathable layers on purpose. But I am talking a colder set of temps than you are. That approach may be overkill for you.

Check out What da Surfahs wear?
Most get along fine wearing those water repelling long sleeve surf shirts that are 1/2 mil. thin?

A wetsuit with a splash top is probably good enough.

Long sleeves with a drytop will allow moisture to wick up into the drysuit. In general, you don’t want anything between you and the latex gaskets. On warm days it won’t matter much, but on warm days and 60 degree water a wetsuit also works very well.


some folks in Cal. do just that
I think their primary reason is for sun protection, on a warm day. Most shorty ‘dry’ tops don’t have latex bicep and neck gaskets (neither of mine do), so you are not going to be 100% dry anyways.

When I wear a shorty top and am concerned a bit about warmth, I wear something warm under it, like a shorty .5MM neoprene for that extra bit of warmth.

That is my guiding uniform in the summer. Always. Long sleeve white rash guard to to keep the sun off my arms and a short sleeve paddling jacket (Kokatat pac-lite knappster) over that.

Check out the Knappster. If your paddling doesn’t demand an absolutely dry drytop, you’ll be much more comfortable in a semi-dry short-sleeve drytop, like the Knappster. That is my favorite garment. It’s comfortable, warm, and though it lets in a couple teaspoons when you roll, it breathes well enough to keep me feeling dry all the time.

I do wear a long sleeve shirt under the Knappster if I’m sick of slathering on sunscreen.

Florida garments – “it depends”…

Keep in mind that what you need to wear for rolling/rescue practice (extended immersion) is not necessarily what you would be wearing (in Central Florida) for active paddling, depending on the conditions.

A Central Florida January morning might be 30 degrees or it might be 75, the water temperature might be 72 degrees in a spring-fed run, or it might be 55 degrees offshore. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work well, so you need options.

For rolling practice I often wear a neoprene tulik or a drytop, although the tuilik would COOK ME me if I wore it for actual paddling. Likewise, I often wear a drytop, drysuit or neoprene vest for playing in surf in mid winter, but rarely wear them in Florida for “regular touring”.

If you are into Greenland rolling, consider a tuilik. The loose fit gives you incredible freedom of motion and having your face/ears/neck covered adds comfort and warmth. I can use my tuilik from November to March before I start to roast.

I’m glad to have a drysuit and drytop, but for touring in Central Florida I usually wear a short or long-sleeve paddle jacket with appropriate insulation, or just the insulation, depending on conditions. But there are times when I need more than a paddle jacket.

The latex seals on a drytop often last only for a few seasons, and the wearing season in Florida is very short, so unless you travel extensively it might seem that everytime you seem to reach for the drytop that the seals are already rotten (it’s not too difficult to replace the seals, however).

Consult local knowledge because there can be a lot of variation in temperature between paddling in the keys versus heading for Cumberland Island, or the panhandle, in mid-winter.

Greg Stamer