Besides your paddleboard and paddle, here are the things to pack for every SUP session…
1. Pump (for iSUPs)
For folks with iSUPs, the pump is the single most important thing to bring besides your inflatable paddleboard and paddle. Because without it, well, going SUP-ing is just not going to happen. A good tip is to always have the pump ready in your iSUP backpack.
There are two types of pumps: manual and electric. Most iSUPs already come with a free manual pump. But if you do not think manual inflation is a good warm-up for a SUP session or you just find it too difficult and time-consuming, you may want to get an electric pump instead.
Fins can either come as detachable add-ons or permanently fixed to the paddleboard. The fins are what add stability and help with straight-line tracking. Without them, expect for a less stable board as well as a harder time to paddle straight in the water. So if your SUP has detachable fins, make sure to have them packed and ready for whenever you go SUP-ing.
3. Paddleboard Leash
The leash attaches your leg to the paddleboard so that you won’t have to worry about losing your board for when you fall off. With a leash, your board is always within reach. Be sure to have it with you every time you head out to paddle. It’s for your and your board’s safety. You wouldn’t want yourself or your board to be drifting off too far from each other.
There are different types of leashes for different water environments: coiled leashes for flatwater paddling, straight leashes for surfing, and quick-release or breakaway leashes for turbulent rivers. The breakaway leashes can be quickly released if your board is pulling you to dangerous situations or getting you tangled around rocks or branches.
4. Personal Floatation Device (PFD)
…or commonly known as lifejackets. Depending on where you are going, a PFD is not always essential. But if you are heading out into open water and plan to be more than 200 meters from shore, it is law to have one on.
And for anyone not confident in the water, it’s always a good option to bring a PFD with you. You don’t necessarily have to put it on—we get you, it can feel really bulky and uncomfortable—but at least have it ready on your board. You can inflate it before you head out to the water or you can bring a pump with you and inflate for when the time calls for it.
5. First-Aid Kit
Chances are, you won’t be needing a first-aid kit while spending the day paddling. But maybe while at the beach, you accidentally step on glass, and there are no life guards around. Or maybe while walking into a remote mountain lake, you accidentally cut yourself on sharp rock. So just in case, bring a basic first-aid kit with you.
6. Light Source
If you’re heading out for a sunset paddle or if you’re going to be paddling for the whole day until dark, it’s important to bring a light source with you. This can be a headlamp or a flashlight. This is to alert others of your location; there may be other paddlers or boats around. Having a light source is also what will help guide you to wherever you want to go and keep you safe from things that aren’t visible in the dark, like protruding rocks.
7. Sunscreen and SPF Lip Balms
Let’s not forget about the sunscreen and SPF lip balms. When heading out to paddleboard, you’re going to be 100% exposed to the sun. So it’s important to protect your skin and lips from the sun’s harmful UV rays and its effects… read: sunburn and skin damage. Just be sure to choose sunscreen that is ocean- or coral reef-safe.
8. Sun-shielding Hats and/or Sunglasses
You may be thinking, why put on a sun-shielding hat when I’m already going to be applying sunscreen? Well, hats are great at protecting your eyes and facial skin. Also, with a hat casting shadow over your eyes, you can more easily look at the reflective water surface without squinting too much. Wear sunglasses too, if you want maximum eye protection.
9. Water Bottle and Snacks
Last but definitely not the least, fill your water bottle up with your drink of choice and take some snacks with you. You’re going to need that extra hydration and energy as you paddle your way through the waters. Plus we think it’s always a good idea to find a secret spot, take a break, and just enjoy a simple picnic by the water (or on your board). Nuts, fruits, granola bars are easy, healthy snack choices!
With these 9 essentials, you’re ready to head out for a fun, safe day of SUP-ing! :)