You’ve got your board, you’ve got your paddle, and now you’re ready to begin your adventure! Right? Well, not quite.
While that is technically all you need to start your SUP board journey, there are a few more things you should invest in to make your experience easier, more enjoyable, and, most importantly, safer.
So before you hit the water, take a look at this list of the top 5 paddleboard accessories I would recommend to anyone taking up SUP boarding.
First things first, every SUP board should have a leash, and you should always wear yours while paddling. A leash ensures you are always attached to your board even when you fall off. This keeps you safe and stops your board from drifting away, getting lost or damaged, or crashing into other people.
Paddleboard leashes are coiled – like a soft spring – so there’s no excess length for you to worry about. They strap onto your ankle with a padded velcro cuff that is so comfortable you’ll probably forget you’re wearing it. And they’re inexpensive. So definitely get yourself a leash.
Dry bag or pouch
If you want to take anything with you on your paddles like a towel, phone, book, or warm clothes, then a dry bag is a must to keep your gear safe and dry.
You might think you’re the stablest paddler in the world who never falls in, but why take the risk? Invest in a good dry bag, and then you don’t have to worry about falls, splashes or even rain.
They come in all sizes and have straps so you can wear them like a backpack or lash them to the nose of your board. If you don’t carry that much gear, opt for a waterproof pouch instead. They are worn around the waist like a bum bag and are just big enough for a phone, cash, car keys, and maybe a snack or two.
Electric SUP Pump
Inflatable paddle boards are a fantastic invention. They’re lighter than hard boards, more durable, can be carried and stored more easily, and cost less. They’re brilliant, except for one problem – having to pump them up every time you want to use them!
Pumping up a SUP by hand is a time-consuming, strenuous exercise, but investing in an electric pump can take the hassle away and save you a whole lot of time and energy.
Electric pumps come in plenty of styles and are available to suit all budgets. My personal favourite is the Shark II Pump. It’s a sleek, lightweight piece of kit that inflates a board in 10 minutes. And it can pump three boards in a row, perfect for families of paddleboarders!
Personal Flotation device, PFD
Paddle boarding is pretty safe as watersports go, but when you’re out on the water, there’s always an element of risk. Remember, you could be the safest paddler out there, but you still can’t control the water, the conditions, or other people. Accidents do happen, so don’t take the risk. Invest in a good PFD to keep yourself safe.
Now, no one really likes wearing a full life jacket when paddling. Traditionally they’re bulky, restrictive, and don’t look very cool. But not to worry, advances in water safety mean PFDs now come in much sleeker, more lightweight styles. Including ones that aren’t worn like a vest at all but around your waist, out of the way. Several companies like Oynx and Restube make compact floatation devices which fold away into a small pouch. Then, if you fall in or get into trouble, you simply pull the cord, and the buoyancy aid inflates.
Paddleboards are large, cumbersome pieces of kit and getting them from the house or car to the water can be one of the trickiest parts of the sport, especially if you have to carry multiple boards. That’s where paddle board carts come in. They enable you to wheel rather than carry your board and come in various designs to suit your needs.
There are sturdy constructions built to carry multiple boards, boats and kayaks or small, lightweight devices that are essentially just wheels tucked under the tail of your board. Whichever style you choose, look for one with plenty of cushioning so that your board rests safely against soft foam rather than metal. Also, look for airless wheels that can handle rough terrain, especially if you regularly transport your board across sand.
There you have, my top five paddleboard accessories to get you started on a safe, frustration-free SUP journey. But what do you think? Did I miss your favourite gadget? Let me know in the comments, or send a picture of you out paddling with the piece of SUP gear that you just can’t live without!