Asheville’s easy access to the French Broad River and other great waterways make it an ideal spot for watersports, as the increasing popularity of kayaking and paddleboarding can attest. As these activities gain in overall popularity, more and more women are taking to the water for recreation, relaxation, and fitness.

Selecting the right gear is often the difference between a great day on the water and a bad one, and men and women often have different gear needs. To help you get geared up right, the paddlesports experts at Diamond Brand Outdoors, Asheville’s original outfitter, have handpicked a few favorite paddlesports essentials for women.

Astral Layla PFD $139.95

With features like hinged princess seams and boob cups, there is no PFD better designed to be comfortable on curves.

Patagonia Sunshade Hoody $69.00 

Perfect for sun protection or a lightweight layer, this compact hoody is quick drying and provides UPF 50 + sun protection.

Patagonia Baggies Shorts $49.00

Old school in a good way. These multifunctional shorts are super comfy, quick drying and perfect for summer outdoor activities.

Astral Mary Jay $79.95

Super grippy, awesome drainage, quick drying, and cute, these are water shoes that can go from the river to a night on the town.

Hurricane Santee 116 $1,099

At only 38 lbs, the Santee is super light and easy to transport + paddle all day.