Once you get yourself a new stand up paddle board, you might have a few questions on things like caring for it or taking it along with you on vacation. Since I have been asked a few of these questions over and over, I thought it was a good idea to write up my stand up paddle boarding tips here for everyone to use as a reference.
Tips On Caring For Your Stand Up Paddle Board
Like many other ocean and fresh water watercraft stand up paddle boards can be very susceptible to damage from any number of sources- seawater, the sun, general wear and tear and issues that may come with transportation or age. However if you are able to follow some rules you can greatly diminish the possible damage that may come with stand up paddle board related issues. In the following quick guide, I will outline some of the major risks that stand up paddle boards face and some great tips on caring for your stand up paddle board.
Buy a Protective Carrier or Bag For Your Stand Up Paddle Board
Much like surfboards, kayaks and other large watercraft stand up paddle boards often suffer destruction when going from place to place. You can help to avoid damage from dropping or banging your stand up paddle board during transport by purchasing a quality protective case. A properly made bag or case will also help to fit your board in whatever transportation you use to get to and from the water in a safe manner. This goes especially for those people who are storing racks on the top of their cars or trucks. Also when booking a flight or boat ride it helps whoever is handling your luggage to easily avoid damaging your board.
Make Sure To Properly Store Your Board When Not in Use
When you are not using or transporting your board you want to make sure you are storing it in optimal conditions. This means that you put the board out of the sun when being stored since the sun can greatly damage a board with overexposure. While most stand up paddle boards are built to stand up to the sun nothing can do so forever. Basically keep your board in a cool dry place and it will last much longer and look much nicer over the long term.
Use Your Board in Proper Areas
There are many hazards in the ocean or whatever water you use your board in. This includes rocks and shallow areas that can do tremendous damage to even the sturdiest of boards. If you use your board in areas like this make sure to mind your surroundings and avoid any hazards. This is also a fantastic safety tip to make sure that your operation of your board is as safe and fun as possible. Most hazards come when you start paddling out- once you get on the open water there are usually not any hazards other than people also swimming or using watercraft so stay aware and it will go a long way.
Look For Any Body Damage and Repair Immediately
One of the biggest causes for stand up paddle board issues are small cuts and breaks in the board. These will happen as a result of wear and tear and natural hazards but can become very problematic very quickly if not dealt with immediately. If this happens to you go out of your way to make sure that any scratches, bumps or dents etc are repaired immediately in the correct way. Repairing the board incorrectly can actually make things worse so if you are not sure take it to someone who knows what they are doing. Typically surf and beach shops have helpful and knowledgeable staff on hand so check there first.
Taking care of your stand up paddle board is mostly common sense. If you follow the tips and rules that we went over you should not have any issues aside from freak accidents that can always happen in life- so take care of your board so it can take care of you.
How To Hold Your SUP Paddle Correctly
There’s nothing better about summer than spending a long day out on the water. There’s just something primitive about it that takes away the stresses of everyday life. And I cannot think of a better way to hit the water than by stand up paddle boarding. It’s a calming activity in that there are no motors; it’s just you, the board, the paddle, and water.
But the tranquility of stand up paddle boarding can be destroyed if you don’t know what you’re doing. So save yourself the waste of energy and potential embarrassment from paddling the wrong way by following the tips below.
Know Which Direction the Blade Should Slope When Holding the Paddle
Forget about the embarrassment factor here because it is natural to want to hold the paddle the wrong way. The correct way to hold the paddle is by making sure that the paddle blade slopes away from you, not toward you. Holding the paddle with the blade facing away from you allows you to push the water down and ultimately lets you glide across the water almost effortlessly. Holding the paddle the incorrect way with the clade facing toward you will only create drag by causing you to pull up on the water and slow you down.
Know How to Grip the Paddle
Another basic set-up that one needs to know when stand up paddle boarding is how to grip the paddle. There are two elements to gripping the paddle the correct way: hand position and the actual grip.
Positioning your hands the correct way on a paddle is pretty easy to pick up for beginners because it feels unnatural to hold the paddle the wrong way. The easiest way to understand the position of your hands on the paddle is to remember whichever side of the water the paddle is in, you want to put the opposite hand at the top of the paddle. So if the paddle is on your left side, use your right hand to grip the top of the paddle and vice-versa. Your other hand is placed on the shaft of the paddle approximately at waist level for a comfortable feel.
The actual grip of the paddle can be a little more difficult for beginners but is easy to get the hang of. When positioning your hand at the top of the paddle, grab the top of the grip with your four fingers and your palm. Next wrap your thumb around the base of the grip to secure the paddle in your hand. Paddles are created so that either hand can be placed on top with the same exact grip. When positioning your hand on the shaft of the paddle, grip the shaft with mostly your fingers. You don’t want the hand on the shaft of the paddle to be too tight of a grip.
Know Your Posture
Now that you’re on the paddle board, you need to know how to hold the paddle in relation to your body. First, when standing on a paddle board, your legs should be shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent. Basically, the standard athletic stance. You’ll want to make sure you’re not standing with your back or shoulders hunched over. Keep yourself standing straight up over the balls of your feet.
Next, you’ll want to hold the paddle in front of you with both your elbows bent at 90 degree angles. While keeping the paddle in front of you, make sure that the paddle does not stray too far from your side creating a wide angle. You want to dig the paddle into the water, not skim it across the top when paddling.
Tips For Transporting Your Inflatable SUP
An inflatable stand up paddle board seems like it would make for easier transportation than a standard stiff plastic SUP. The good news is that it does! However, you still have to be careful with the board to keep it in tip-top shape. In fact, the care you need to show to an inflatable SUP is important to give it a long life. With an iSUP you have two options for transporting it and can choose the best option for your situation at a given time. It may be wise to practice the different options in advance so you are able to safely secure your SUP in any situation you may find yourself in.
Most people transport their standard hard board SUP on top of their vehicle. This can be a functional way to transport your inflatable SUP as well and may make more sense than deflating it and having to inflate it again repeatedly. If you know you’ll be using your SUP frequently this may be the best option for the lazy paddle boarder. However, it is important to consult your user guide as damage to your SUP may not be covered by your warranty if you transport it this way.
Place the SUP on your vehicle roof with the fin pointing up.
Use 8 ft or longer load straps or a SUP transport system designed specifically for this need to secure the board to the top of your vehicle.
You can use some sort of foam for cushioning between the board and your car.
Be careful to secure your inflatable SUP just as you would a standard SUP. The shape and lightweight of the board makes it easy for the wind to shift it dangerously while you are driving.
Note: I definitely do not recommend this method for inflatable SUPs, but if you’re determined to do it this way, then please follow my tips above to reduce your chances of damaging the board.
One of the distinct advantages of an inflatable SUP is the ease of traveling with it pretty much anywhere – whether by plane, bus or on foot. Deflating your SUP is the safest way to transport it as it was designed for regular deflating. If you will be carrying your SUP with you while hiking you will need an appropriate water-resistant bag to carry it in.
Once deflated a SUP can be folded into a bag. For traveling purposes you will need to also carry along a paddle that breaks down to fit the bag and a pump to inflate your board. If you’re traveling by car it is easy enough to carry along a paddle and pump, but if traveling another way you will need to plan in advance for this. You may also consider investing in a higher quality fin that can survive being packed up repeatedly. Newer options provide snap-in styles that don’t require you to also carry tools.
To transport your SUP safely and without damage:
- Make sure your SUP is completely dry and clean before folding it up to prevent mildew and abrasions.
- Use an appropriately designed bag to pack your SUP into.
- Pack your SUP and accessories correctly to ensure your SUP will not be damaged by items that should not touch it.
- If carrying your SUP during hiking or otherwise do not overload the bag with other items to ensure you are not carrying more than you can handle. Be aware that your SUP and accessories may be heavy.
- Be sure to keep your SUP away from excessive heat or fire and from objects that could puncture it.
- An inflatable SUP is designed for travel and should last you well if you give it proper care and are thoughtful in how you transport it.