Paddle Boarding Gear
Stand up paddle boarding or SUP has exploded in popularity the past couple of years. And for good reason! It’s a fun and easy way to enjoy beautiful scenery, soak in some vitamin D and experience that peaceful bliss of being on water. It offers a great full body workout and skiers and snowboarders enjoy cross training on paddle boards during the summer months. Choosing the best SUP gear for your needs and budget will depend on your level of experience and what you hope to get out of paddle boarding. Regardless of whether you’re an expert or just starting out, there are a few things everyone must have.
First things first – the board! Stand-up paddle boards come in an array of shapes and styles, each best suited for a different style of paddling – surfing, cruising, or racing. Sizes are based on the paddler’s weight and experience. The general rule is that once you’re up to paddling speed you don’t want the tail to drag. The flotation is a combination of the length, width and thickness of the board. More experienced and lighter paddlers can choose narrower boards. They are tricky to navigate for beginners, so we don’t recommend narrow boards for beginners. Novice paddlers should choose wider, flatter boards, which offer more stability.
Next, you’ll want to choose a paddle. It should be between 8″ and 12″ longer than your height when standing barefoot. If you’re on the fence, remember that a slightly longer paddle is better for flat water where longer strokes are used, while a shorter paddle is better for more challenging water where shorter, high cadence strokes are necessary.
Paddles come in a few different materials which impact their weight and performance. The least expensive paddles have an aluminum shaft with a plastic blade and handle. They are most often considered a beginner’s paddle because of it’s relatively inexpensive cost and high durability. More experienced paddlers should steer toward higher end paddles with fiberglass shafts and carbon fiber paddles. Such paddles are much lighter weight than plastic and allow for more efficient strokes with less shoulder and arm fatigue. Distance paddlers will be far happier with a more expensive, performance paddle. Check out The House’s diverse selection of paddles for every budget and experience level.
Paddle Boarding Regulations
Depending on where you plan to paddle, you might need to invest in a few more pieces of gear. Stand up paddle boards are nowclassified as vessels by the US coast guard, which means that paddle boards must comply with the same rules as kayaks and canoes when outside the surf zone. So, a personal floatation device (life jacket) must be worn or attached to the boat. Since there really isn’t a great place to put your PDF on a paddle board, most people prefer to wear their life jacket at all times. Many life jackets are now constructed in a way that they can be worn without limiting your movement. When paddling in the ocean beyond the surf zone, the Coast Guard also requires a sound producing device (whistle) and a light (headlamp or flashlight) if you’re paddling before sunrise or after dusk.
Yup, you should probably wear clothing when paddle boarding. Depending on the temperature and time of day, a bikini for the gals and board shorts for guys is perfect. Many girls will wear board shorts over their suit. For chillier days, a rash guard will provide a little extra warmth. Even in warmer climates, it can be chilly on the ocean certain times of the year, so a wet suit will make for a more comfortable (and longer!) experience on the water. Sunglasses are a must, even on overcast days. The sun’s rays will be stronger on the water due to the reflection. A hat is also a good idea to shield the sun from your face. Sure, you might fall in the water or might want to take a dip mid paddle, so wear a strap with your sunglasses and leave your favorite baseball hat on shore if you’re worried about it getting wet!
While not absolutely essential for paddle boarding, a few accessories will make life a little easier, especially if you plan to hit the water on the regular or travel with your board. For choppy waters or peace of mind, a leash will keep your board from floating away should you fall or or take a dip. A board bag will protect your investment during the winter months when it’s stashed in your basement. It’s also nice for traveling if you have a packed SUV or truck. You don’t want that baby banging on the walls of a flat bed! Some people enjoy traction pads on their boards. Again, it’s not essential, but they’re helpful for more aggressive paddling and also serve as a sturdy place for your pooch to sit. Yup. Your dog can sit on your board while you paddle away! The House carries all of these accessories, so check them out!