Grabbing your paddle, going down to the water and getting on your board isn’t all it takes to be fully prepared when stand up paddle boarding. Getting the right SUP accessories can make your experience safer and more enjoyable. In this guide, we break down several key stand up paddle accessories you can use when you’re out on the water stand up paddle boarding.


Also known as a personal flotation devise or life jackets. These are important even for the experienced paddler. Conditions can change quickly and you always want to be prepared. In some areas they are also legally required and you can be ticketed if you do not have one. Check your local laws to find out more.

PFD’s should always be coast guard approved to be sure the meet safety standards. There are two main kinds you can use:

  • Vest: This is your standard life jacket. They are cost effective and come in many different styles and colors.
  • Belt Pack: These are essentially a life jacket deflated and stuffed into a fanny pack. They are more expensive but allow for more mobility and weigh less. If need you pull a string to inflate the life jacket.

For weaker swimmers or in more adverse conditions a vest will always be a safer option. If you do use a belt pack and deploy and it can be reused by refilling the C02 cartridge.


While not always required a leash is a good idea. This is what will keep you attached to the board if you fall off. These keep the board from floating away from you. Especially useful in choppy conditions or when catching waves on your SUP. There are two styles of leashes:

  • Coil: This leash looks just like the name. When stretched out they can reach upwards of 11 feet but are coiled up to be much more compact. This helps prevent them from dragging in the water.
  • Standard: This is a regular cord leash. These are less likely to tangle if you are moving around the board. They will drag in the water but are usually lighter than a coil leash.

Leash Length

A general rule of thumb you will often here is to have a leash as long as your board. For stand up paddle that can get pretty long. Depending on your skill level and paddle style this can vary. A leash that is within a couple feet if the length of your board will usually do the trick.

  • Longer: Allows the board to float further away reducing risk of the board hitting you. Good in choppy or surf conditions.
  • Shorter: Keeps the board closer to you if you fall off. Often preferred in flat water as there is a much lower risk of a wave pushing the board into you.


A good wetsuit can allow you to extend the paddle season well past the warm days of summer and even into the cold winter. You can add booties, gloves and a hood to still get out even in the frigid conditions.

The warmth of a wetsuit is determined by its thickness which is measure in millimeters. You will want to know the water and air temperature you will be in to help determine what is right for you.

sup-accessories-rashguardrash guards

These are not just for surfers. A rash guard are shirts made of nylon, polyester or spandex designed to be used in the water. If wearing a PFD some people prefer to have that layer between them and their skin. Quality rash guards will also provide sun protection by having an SPF built into it.

sup-accessories-sunprotectionsun protection

If you are going to be out on a sunny day paddling sun protection is important. Remember you are on water that is reflecting some of the light so you can burn even quicker. Having a quality, waterproof and high SPF sunblock is a good first step.


Also commonly known as a swim suit. Who would have thought boardshort technology would come as far as it has. You can get different lengths, 2-4way stretch built in and even water resistant board shorts. A high quality boardshort will be more comfortable, dry quicker and can make your experience on the water even more enjoyable.


These not only make you look cool but protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. There are many things to consider in picking the right pair. While polarized are more expensive they do help reduce glare when out on the water. Remember you get what you pay for and protecting your eyes is a worthy investment.