Gearing Up For Stand Up Paddling (SUP)

Stand Up Paddling Kid & DadStand up paddling (SUP) has been popular for many years now but it’s still a new and exciting concept for many paddlers. One of the greatest things about SUP is that it requires minimal gear and can take on just about any body of water (though having the right board for the job certainly helps).

Another reason for the rise in popularity of SUP is that it delivers a full body workout and in a very unique environment. Wouldn’t your prefer to fill your next cross-training activity with waterway wildlife and unique coastal views?

Keep reading for an overview of basic SUP gear and some other common accessories to get you started.

SUP Gear – The Basics

One of the highlights of SUP is the simplicity. A few pieces of basic gear and you’re all set to enjoy some time on the water.

Stand Up Paddle (SUP) GearStand Up Paddleboard: From inflatables to fiberglass racing boards, SUPs come in all shapes in sizes these days. As you might expect, your board will be the most important (and expensive) investment towards getting started paddle-boarding. At ACK we offer a wide range of boards to choose from and encourage you to begin your selection by reading our Choosing a SUP article.

Personal Flotation Device: In 2012, a survey by the American Canoe Association cited that 35% of stand up paddlers never wear a life jacket on the water. We get it, SUP seems like a harmless activity and sometimes the whole idea of it is to keep things simple. Nevertheless, the best way to be safe is just to wear it. If you want to avoid something bulky, try using an inflatable PFD or a low profile one like the NRS Ninja.

Paddle: SUP paddles are made up of a shaft and blade with an angle to maximize efficiency. When picking out your paddle, go for one that’s rougly 6″ to 8″ taller than you are. To learn more about picking out the best paddle, refer to our How To Choose article.

SUP Gear – Other Accessories

SUP Accessories
Using a SupStow Hip Pack with leash

A wide range of SUP accessories exist to help you make the most of your time on the water. Depending on your intended use of your board, some of these items should be considered a necessity.

SUP Specific Apparel: No, In the recent years, manufacturers like Level Six have begun to develop SUP specific apparel to help you maximize your comfort on the water.  Like all paddling apparel, you’ll want synthetic clothing (avoid cotton!) that handles water well.

Ankle Leash: Wearing an ankle leash is a good idea in any water conditions as it will keep you connected to your SUP no matter what happens. If you plan on playing in the surf or taking your board onto rough water, a leash should be considered a requirement. If you fall off in rough water without a leash, getting separated from your board is a real possibility.

Protective Bags: These exist to protect your investment from damage minor dings and heat damage. Find a bag sized to fit your board or your paddle and make a long lasting product even longer lasting.

Storage Systems: Whether you have one board or three, storage racks and slings exist to help you store your SUP safely.

Transportation Accessories: One of the best things about SUPs is that they’re lightweight and easy to transport. The best way to do it is by using pads or a specialized SUP carrier.

A wide range of accessories exist for stand up paddling, remember to check out your options and see if there are any that can improve your experience on the water. You can find all of our SUP Accessories here.




Gear Up Fall Kayak Fishing Season

Fall Kayak Fishing in a Native Ultimate.
Taking advantage of the Fall Kayak Fishing Season.

If you can believe it, September is here, and bringing along with it the start to the fall kayak fishing season. It’s a favorite time of the year for many anglers, with comfortably cool temperatures, quieter waterways and in many places great fishing. It’s also a last opportunity to enjoy the sport for many who plan to put their kayak into winter hibernation. In preparation, it’s important to gear up right and I’ve got three tips to help you do just that.

An Early Sunset Can Cut Fall Kayak Fishing Short, Unless You Have Lights

I try to go paddling at least once a week after work with my coworker Jeremy and we’ve been noticing lately that we are lucky to be on the water for an hour and a half before the sun goes down. As the days get shorter, those of us who like to to squeeze in paddling time throughout the week are going to need extra light to extend our stay on the water. Do do this,  a kayak fishing light is definitely the way to go.

Fall Kayak Fishing Lights
A good set of fishing lights can extend your time on the water.

Give our kayak lighting section a check and be sure to take a look at the new kayak fishing light options from Wildcat Lighting that we’ve added recently. Anyone night fishing should review the laws in their area regarding watercraft lighting after dark, as many will require that you have a 360 degree white light like the Visicarbon Light from YakAttack.

Layer To Protect Yourself From Cooler Fall Temperatures

Fall isn’t going to mean immediate cold weather by any means but most paddlers will start to notice a steady drop in temperature. The best way to face this is with layers. Start by slipping a base layer under your summer fishing shirt and invest in something to cover your legs like Columbia’s Midweight Tights. For my fall base layer, I’m eyeing Bomber Gear’s Halo long sleeve shirt to replace my Columbia PFG Freezer Zero shirt.

When things start to cool down even more, you’re going to want to look into splash and dry wear that you can add over these base layers. Take a look at our Cold Weather Paddling Layering Guide for tips on how to best do this.

The Buff Hoodie Thermal Pro
The Buff Hoodie Thermal Pro

Just Because It’s Cold Doesn’t Mean The Sun Don’t Shine

Ok, so this one kind of goes against my first tip but it’s not as if everyone’s schedule is going to restrict them to fishing in the evenings. Weekend warriors who hit the water on a Saturday for a full day of fishing  need to remember that just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean sun protection isn’t important. Luckily, covering up for the sun and colder weather go hand in hand.

Look for apparel with UPF ratings on them like the Hot Fuzz Fleece Top (another good base layer option) and stuff that will cover your hands and face. Buff is the standard when it comes to head protection, and their new Buff Thermal Pro Hoodie just landed at ACK, great for keeping you warm, comfortable and protected from the sun while you fish. Definitely check it out!

Now Get To Fishing!

So there you have it, three ways to make sure you take advantage of fall kayak fishing season. Of course, the best thing you can do to learn what you need by going out and doing it. Note how you feel before, during and after your next paddle. Did you catch yourself shivering? Was it cut short by an early sunset? Maybe it went perfect. Whatever the case, is here to help you make sure that you don’t miss out on this last opportunity to fish before winter!

Love, Hugs & Outdoor Gear

I logged onto Facebook this past Sunday in anticipation of reading post-Super Bowl game comments and was surprised to see how many people posted they were glad that football season was over. Why? Well, not necessarily because they didn’t like football but because and I quote, they were “happy to have their husbands” back. Sad but so true and the good news for those who “lose” their loved ones for a few months is that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner  — time for redemption?

While Valentine’s day is synonymous with love, hugs, flowers and chocolate, I like to look at it as more of an opportunity to bring the romance of the great outdoors to the one I love. For example there was one year we experienced such mild weather that I surprised her with a late night float along the banks of the Colorado river (Lady Bird Lake) here in downtown Austin, Texas. I brought all the goodies one would expect on Valentine’s date such as a couple of glasses of wine, cheese, crackers and chocolate. I even brought her a blanket to stay warm while we enjoyed the sweet sounds of our favorite music.

I do realize that weather can be a problem this time of the year but with a bit of creativity and gear made to keep you warm or dry, there is no reason not to give it a try. Can’t paddle? Go camping. Too cold? Make a fire and warm up some tea or coffee! Or, you can always keep it indoors and make a feast with our complete line of Lodge cookware…nice plug huh?

Sure, this article in fact is about gear but more importantly, they are gifts they’ll cherish through the experience and memories you both make using them.

Think outside of the box this year!

Roland @ACK