Stand 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 paddle boarding 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 paddle board 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 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
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.