As stand up paddleboarding gains popularity throughout the country, there is a distinctive lack of paddleboarding-specific clothes on the market. But the Hamptons will be the epicenter for that change, as local designer Kimberly Schamber launches SUPMerge, a clothing line that tailors to the needs of standup paddleboards.
“I’m a paddler, and I couldn’t find anything to wear that is cute, has SPF and pockets,” says Schamber.
The line features skirts, dresses, shorts and tees, though the dresses, which include a halter dress and a front zipper dress, have been the most popular. The clothing line is mostly populated with women’s wear, but men’s gear, like a short sleeve pocket shirt, is available. All of the clothes are quick drying, with hydrophobic fabric. Oversized pockets incorporated into many of the designs can accommodate essentials like car keys and cell phones.
The venture was born as Schamber became more into standup paddleboarding and realized that there was a void in the market for functional yet stylish sport-specific clothing. “(If you wear traditional athletic clothes), you immerse yourself in the water, you end up looking like a drowned rat,” she says. Running gear or yoga gear is designed to whisk sweat away from the body but not necessarily to keep you dry.
SUPMerge blends Schamber’s professional design background with her passion for the sport. Schamber worked as an associate designer for MichaelKors, focusing on the “Michael Line” for women’s outerwear. She then turned to outdoor clothing company Spyder, designing their après ski wear.
SUPMerge clothing sizes go up to an extra large—“There was a need for that in surfing gear,” says Schamber, who notes that her line caters to a mature woman. “I couldn’t find things I felt appropriate in at Roxy.”
I tried the front zipper dress, appropriately dubbed “the little ‘back’ dress you can paddle in.” The cute pink number is versatile between the board and daily life, perfect for the on-the-go paddler to seamlessly slip from the water to running errands around town. The dress is comfortable and allows for ample paddling movement, with two large pockets in the front and a moresecure, covered pocket in the back.
When on the East End, Schamber’s preferred paddles include Georgica, a 2.5 mile trip if you leave from the rest stop along Montauk Highway and paddle to the beach and back. “Go with a cooler and have a picnic on the beach,” she suggests. Another frequented route is in Northwest Harbor by Cedar Point Park.
Schember will be showcasing her SupMerge line at Main Beach Surf + Sport (352 Montauk Highway, Wainscott) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 24.