It’s a pretty big financial hit when you finally decide to pull the trigger and buy your first stand-up paddleboard. And, unless you get a package, you then find out that you have to buy a paddle too. It all adds up very quickly, and all you’re trying to do is get out of the shop while you still have the shirt on your back, let alone look at more things to buy like “accessories.” Well, now that you have your board, and you’ve been getting out on the water, I want to make you aware of some of the SUP accessories that will either protect your investment, make your life easier, and/or might just be nice to have.
Let me start with the most important accessories, the ones that will protect your investment:
Ocean Lineage Rail Saver, $50. If this stuff was $100, it would be worth it, believe me. Rail tape has come a long way since the original thick, textured tape used for years. You can hardly tell it is even on your board. It’s a clear, flexible “military grade” membrane used to protect the rails of your board. Not only does it protect your board from the paddle hits you give it while in the water, but also from the potential dings and cracks you can get while transporting your SUP. We put this stuff on every demo board we have, and I personally put it on every board I own. I was carrying my Paddle Surf Hawaii Hull Ripper back from the beach not too long ago, and I had my hand ripped out of the board handle because the leash that I was also holding in my hand had caught on a bush I was passing. The board dropped at least 2′ right on to the sidewalk, directly on the rail. It made a sound that caused me to immediately begin shouting profanities. After I calmed down and checked the board, I discovered that the board was fine, due to the rail saver. I couldn’t believe it.
Dakine Board Bags, $230. No better way to protect your board when it’s out of the water. Also, great for transporting your SUP when it’s on top of your car. Keeps the direct sunlight off of the board, and the reflective material on the bag helps keep the heat down inside the bag.
Ocean Lineage Paddle Saver, $24. This is basically the same material as the Rail Saver, but you put it around the edge of your paddle blade. Again, this stuff is a world of difference from the old, thicker guard attached using crazy glue. Not completely necessary on all paddles, depending on the material your blade is made of, some “composite” blades are very durable on their own. Most fiber glass and carbon fiber paddles are not that durable on their edges though, and this paddle saver can really prolong the life of your expensive paddle. Again, it’s not just the in-water activity that can damage your paddle, but more often than not, it seems the transporting of the paddle is where most damage comes from, especially on higher end paddles. The reason that I love Quick Blade paddles is also the same reason that I hate them. They are high-performance paddles with a sharp edge on the blade, and this allows for a beautiful entry of the blade into the water at the beginning of your stroke, like a hot knife through butter. But that sharp edge also makes it extremely susceptible to possible damage. Now, do I put Paddle Saver on my $400 Quick Blade race paddle? No, because I enjoy racing at a competitive level. Even though the paddle saver is a low-profile material, it does affect the “catch” phase of the stroke by increasing water disturbance when the blade is entering the water, but only slightly. If you are very “tuned-in” to fine details you will notice, if not, you would never even know the difference. I use paddle saver on my cruising and wave paddles. You’ll know why after the first time you drop your paddle on the pavement and take a chunk out of the edge.
These next two accessories are the best way to protect your paddle when it’s out of the water, whether you use Paddle Saver, or not.
Dakine Paddle Sock, $30 and Dakine Paddle Cover, $16. Paddles tend to get thrown around in cars and garages, and just like the SUP, the paddle has a higher probability of getting damaged out of the water than in. Again, just another way to protect your investment.
Whether you take precaution, or not, your SUP will most likely get damaged at some point. You can take care of most minor dings and cracks yourself with these next two products. The important thing to keep in mind is that you want to make sure your board is sealed at all times, and not taking on water into the foam core. If you have a ding you are unsure of, take it to a professional. Don’t risk ruining your board.
Puka patch Ding Repair, $7 for 5 patches. These patches are very similar to rail, and paddle, saver material. If you have a ding that causes a crack, throw a patch on it, and be on your way. If you see foam then you will want to have the ding filled, but in the mean time, if you can seal it off with a patch, you can carry on with your session. Good stuff to keep in the board bag!
Phix Doctor repair kits, $2-$20. If you do damage your board where it needs more than a patch, you can learn to fix it yourself with one of Tony’s Phix Doctor repair kits. These things are great, and pretty self-explanatory. All kinds of different kits also, depending on your needs. Now, will your fix look like it was done by a professional? of course not, at least not for a while. Good ding repair is a craft. But, if you are like me, and you just want your board to be functional, then Phix Doctor will save you some money.
Now on to a few accessories that will definitely make your life easier….
Quick Fin Release, $15. This is one of my favorites. With this fin release pin, you can take your fin in and out in a matter of seconds, no screwdrivers or allen keys necessary, just a simple spring-loaded pin. I have even used it in nasty conditions during races, and it is solid. With that being said, you are going to want to make sure you are using a fin that fits tightly in the fin box. These make it so easy for either transporting your board in the car, stacking boards on the roof rack, storing boards in the garage/house, etc. Also, they really come in handy if you like to explore the shallows in the river. As long as you have smaller sidebites also on your board, just pop out the big fin, and now you can explore shallower areas.
Big Board Schlepper, $35. These straps are convenient to help you carry your board as long as the distance you need to go is not too far. Strap systems really begin to wear down your shoulders after anything more than a block, or so, but it may be just the thing you need to help support that weight, and take the pressure off your fingers and arm.
SUP Wheels, $120. This board carrying device is great when straps are not enough, and that distance you need to carry your board is a little longer than you like. This system is very simple, no nose covers with straps and buckles involved. Simply slide the tail into the slot, secure 1 small tie-down across the board, grab the nose, and go. I recommend getting a small cable lock so you can lock it to a post, etc. so it’s there when you return from your paddle. Nice, easy system, just don’t let the nose of your board drop out of your hand while you’re walking
SUP Taxi, $250. I really like the SUP Taxi. We all personally have them on our cars here at the shop. This is a board carrying system that attaches to your car’s roof rack. You do need to have cross bars on top of your car first, but it doesn’t matter if they are circular, elliptical, rectangular, etc., the SUP Taxi will easily attach to most bars. I like this system because it makes the process of transporting your SUP quick and easy. Simply open the strap system, throw your board on top of the cushioned rack, throw the straps back over the board(s), cinch down on straps with the spring-loaded cleat, lock rack, and go. The straps even have a cable running through them, so cutting the straps and stealing your board is not so simple. The system locks your boards to the rack, and locks the rack to your crossbars. I have even fit 2 displacement style race boards stacked on the SUP Taxi. Very cool, convenient system, but let me add a disclaimer. When traveling on the highway at greater speeds I notice, as do most who own the Taxi, that the straps will loosen a bit causing you to stress while looking at your boards through the sunroof. This is just due to that nice, convenient spring-loaded cleat system slipping a little under wind pressure, and/or the straps wearing down over time. Regardless, I believe the system is still secure, it’s just that I personally like my boards tight when traveling distances, so if I do have to drive greater distances, I just add an additional cinch strap around the boards and the rack for a little extra security. We all know, or have heard about, someone’s horror story of losing their boards and/or rack while driving down the road. Additional security is not a bad thing, no matter what rack system you use.
And finally, the accessories that are just nice to have.
EZ-Plugs, $7. These create tie-down points. They come in different colors, and use a 3M adhesive to attach to your board. Typically, touring boards are the only ones that come with factory installed tie-down points. Now you can create your own. Put them were ever you want. I like putting a couple near the tail to hold a PFD, and then 2-4 in front of the deck pad to have a place for a dry bag. You can either buy thinner bungie cord from the hardware store and weave it through the EZ-Plug, or just use the standard bungie cords with the metal hooks on the ends.
Suction SUP, $34. While we’re on the subject of suction cups, why not easily attach a water bottle holder to your SUP for that workout? I use this all the time for workouts in the river , and in the ocean. This thing stays on even with decent waves crashing over it. You can also get an insulated bottle from a bike shop, and your drink won’t get too hot.
Dakine Sweeper Hydration Pack, $80 and Dakine Waterman Hydration Pack, $55. If you need to carry more liquid than just a water bottle, or, you don’t like tie-down plugs or suction cups, then Dakine’s hydration packs might be for you. You chose, waist, or back. I personally use the waist pack for races because I don’t like things on my back when I’m paddling like a bat out of hell for 2 or so hours, chafing is an issue, but there are plenty of people who prefer the back pack.
Monster Paint, $24. Love this stuff! This is a traction “textured” spray paint. It basically puts a “clear” gritty surface down wherever you want it. It will slightly discolor a white board, but if your SUP is colored, you hardly notice it. It can be used in many ways, 3 of my favorites are: spraying the deck of your board in front of the deck pad so you can now walk to the nose while surfing without having to use wax; spraying the tail of my race board so I don’t slip off when doing pivot turns, or while surfing it in after an ocean workout; spraying my paddle shaft so my bottom hand does not slip mid-stroke. You spray it on in layers, or coats, so you can adjust the degree of grittiness you want.
Dry Case, $40 and Dry Case Waterproof Ear Buds, $30. Great product that not only allows you to listen to your music while paddling, but for safety reasons, allows you to now have a phone with you in case of an emergency, or, in case you get lost. Don’t laugh, it could happen, did you ever get in the middle of the 1000 islands , or the Ulumay Sanctuary, and not know which way was which? Now you can use your smart phone, go to Maps, pinpoint your position with the GPS, and see how to get out. Because the air gets suctioned out of the case, you can even use the camera and operate your touch screen phone while it is still sealed in the case. I have even taken a call with the phone still in the case, and was able to hear just enough.
Lifeproof, $80. And, for all you iphone users, there’s Lifeproof dirt, snow, water, and shock proof case. You would pretty much just keep this case on at all times. It is pretty sleek. The depth for waterproofing is only about 7′ though, which would probably be fine in most cases, but I guess you can’t drop your phone while using it on your SUP, or just use a lanyard.
MTI Fluid Inflatable Belt Pack PFD, $120. Coast Guard approved, type 3, personal flotation device. Just in case you were not already aware, we are required to have a PFD, with a whistle, on our SUP/vessel at all times, even in the ocean, unless you are in the surf zone. The fines are steep, so get your PFD. This one is nice because it is so small and compact. You can either wear it, or attach it to your board. Also, if you are thinking about getting into SUP racing, the inflatables are the ones most widely used.
PFD in a Bag, $40.00 Coast Guard type 2 PFD, safety whistle, and hardware to attach to a board in a beach friendly backpack
So, there you have it. All those cool little extras that you weren’t aware of, and now, can’t live without And, of course, you know where to get all of these, EPIC BOARDSPORTS in Cocoa Beach!