One of my favorite hobbies that I’ve picked up in the past 18 months is paddle boarding (aka SUP-Stand Up Paddleboard). I don’t know why I love it so much except that it’s fun and freeing and it gets me on the water, which is easily my favorite place in all the world. I guess I know why I love it after all.
It’s no secret that I share a lot of my life on Instagram, and with that sharing has slowly come questions on things that I do. I’m by no means an influencer, I’m just a person that loves to travel, lives for adventures, pretends she knows what she’s doing with her camera, and occasionally I go to work as a nurse so that I can continue my adventures and support my Lululemon addiction. It’s a pretty rad life in my opinion and I”m happy to share parts of it with anyone that takes the time to look at my Instagram or reads this blog, but I’ve no real aspirations of becoming any sort of influencer. That just seems like a lot of work and I don’t want to turn my fun into a job, I just want it to be fun. However, I would LOVE for others to jump on the paddle board train, so here are some tips, tricks, and links to all of the paddle board things that I’ve used in the past 18 months.
First, you need a board to go paddle boarding. Duh. There are a TON of different boards out there and they’re split up kind of like surf boards, There’s different lengths and widths for boards and then there’s different attachments that can come on them and then there’s also inflatable versus…solid not inflatable boards. I personally have only ever used and owned inflatable SUP’s, but I know people that have the solid ,not inflatable ones and they’re rad. It all just comes down to preference in my opinion!
My first board was a narrow inflatable SUP and I LOVED it. I didn’t know that I was buying a narrow board when I bought it, but I’m honestly glad that I made that mistake because it made me a better paddle boarder (is that a word?). By having a narrow board as my first board I was challenged and forced to learn better balance before I could stand on my board. This was incredibly infuriating at times, but after I took a SUP sunrise yoga class I found my center of gravity on my board and I felt like a BOSS on my board from then on. Something about learning to do a headstand on your board really makes you feel like a BAMF, especially when you’re the only one in class to get it. (had to brag, sorry.)
My new board, which I haven’t taken out and test drove yet but I’m going to try to this week, is a little wider and GORGEOUS. My favorite part of my new board, besides the bright colors and pretty flowers, is the bag that it came in for storage and traveling. It’s the BEST. It’s super sturdy and durable feeling, it has padding for comfort, and it has an outside pocket to stash your paddle, or maybe your pump if it fits, which is totally rad! But, the absolute best part in my opinion, is the flap that comes out of a zippered storage compartment and covers your back pack straps and then Velcro's down to seal them in so that they don’t get caught on anything while it’s stored OR when you check your board for a flight! So, so amazing.
Before you pick your board, I definitely suggest renting a board or going with a friend that has a board or two and testing it out to see what you like and prefer. I say this, but I didn’t do this and that’s how I ended up with a narrow board. Like I said, it wasn’t the end of the world and I LOVED my board, but it could have been avoided if I’d been more patient, done more research, and gone to a rental place or store and checked them out in person first. All this would be a GREAT idea for you! I’m a regular at REI these days and let me tell you, some of the not inflatable, solid boards are HUGE. It’s insane. I originally wanted a solid board this time, but when I saw how big they are and I thought about having to strap that sucker on to my car all the time and also getting it into my apartment when not using it I was immediately like, “nah, inflatable it is!”.
Now on to accessories! I’m very much a practical person when it comes to outdoor activities. I don’t like to have a bunch of unnecessary stuff with/on me and it’s no different on my SUP. I want to be practical and efficient so that I can enjoy my time on the water and not waste time or energy on silly things. However, if you are an “everything but the kitchen sink” packer, that’s totally okay too and I think that most of my suggestions will help you still! Best of both worlds my friends.
Your most important accessory, minus your paddle of course, is your pump. All inflatable boards come with a manual pump, but let me just tell you from experience, you don’t wanna use that sucker if you don’t have too. It’s a legit workout and then you’re tired before you even get on the water with your board. Not cool. Instead, I STRONGLY suggest you invest in an automatic pump. I bought mine on the Zon and it’s a lifesaver. Not only does mine automatically inflate my board to the PSI that I set it for (I set mine to the max for my board and suggest you do as well), but it also deflates my board when I’m done which makes storing it a million times easier! Trust me, you NEED an automatic pump friends.
A few other accessories that I highly recommend but aren’t required by any means are a carrying strap for your board, a convertible paddle that goes from single to double end kayak style, especially if paddling with little ones, and some sort of bag that clips onto the front of your board to hold your shoes, water bottle, snacks, what have you. I’m also a fan of an anchor if you’re like me and enjoying just floating and catching some sun in the middle of the water away from people and some sort of strap to clip yourself to friends if wanted while just chilling on the water, but the most important part of paddle boarding is to just HAVE FUN! Oh, and to be SAFE! If you take your pup or little one with you make sure they have on life jackets or can swim well in case you flip or they fall/jump off the board. Also, make sure you wear sunscreen and/or a rash guard! I know safety isn't sexy and fun, but I promise it's necessary. I hope this helps and that everyone gives paddle boarding a try!