Proper care and maintenance is a must especially for sports requiring equipment. Good quality equipment like boards and paddles don’t come cheap. To get the most bang for your buck, you must keep them in great condition for as long as possible. So whether you are a beginner or a veteran of the sport, you must know how to take care of your equipment. In this article, we list down key things to remember in SUP care. This is by no means an exhaustive list bust that should get you a great headstart in your SUP journey. If you are ready, read on.
These are things you should do every time you take your board out for a spin. These are small yet good habits to have and will greatly benefit your paddleboards in the long run.
Do safety checks before and after sessions
Doing a quick check on your board and equipment immediately before and after every session is an important part of the hobby. This lets you catch potential problems long before they could lead to bigger damage down the road.
Before heading out, start by inspecting your epoxy board for any nicks and scratches. These tiny cracks can lead to catastrophic failures if left alone. For inflatables, do a quick check for any seam rip or tears on the material. Then you can check for leaks by inflating the board to the recommended pressure and check if the pressure holds. Finally check your other equipment like the paddle, fins, and leashes for any signs of corrosion or damage. Repeat this test right after you get out of the water.
Avoid shallow waters
Whether epoxy boards or inflatables, your number one enemy are sharp pointy objects. They can cause serious damage to your equipment if you are not careful with them. That is why for beginners, it is recommended to find deep waters where there is relatively less debris or rocks around. Another thing to look out for is current.
Strong currents can make it harder to control the board, especially for beginners. This can make avoiding obstacles like fallen trees or huge river rocks quite difficult, increasing your chance of collision.
You can check out online forums and social media groups to find recommendations. They are great resources for finding spots suitable for safe and enjoyable stand up paddleboarding.
Rinse every after use
Finally, when you are done for the day and about to head out. After you do your safety check, always do a thorough rinse of your board and equipment. This washes away small first and debris that may have stuck to them throughout your sessions. These small hitchhikers can do real damage when you store your board (as is the case with sand, small rocks, or twigs). Washing also removes nasty things like algae, bacteria, and microorganisms that cause a foul smell. You definitely don’t want that.
Most often than not, SUPs spend most of their time on storage waiting for the next adventure. That is why keeping them safe and secure until then is a must. Here are the things to keep in mind when you are storing your board long term or in between sessions.
Store away from sunlight
As simple as this may sound, a lot of people often forget how damaging exposure to direct sunlight is. Both rubber inflatable boards or rigid epoxy boards should never be exposed to the sun for long periods when not in use.
As the inflatable board gets direct exposure, the air inside heats up causing it to expand. This puts strain on your board, especially on the seams. This can cause the seam to weaken over time causing rips or leaks.
Epoxy boards aren’t safe from the sun too. As the materials heat up, the epoxy outer shell expands. This causes it to detach from the foam core and tiny air pockets from between the two layers. If left alone, this can worsen resulting in catastrophic failure.
Keep them clean before storage
Keeping your equipment clean goes hand in hand with maintenance. Paddleboards are investments and good quality paddleboards don’t come cheap. That is why keeping them in good condition ensures that they stay in tip-top shape for as long as possible.
Start by doing a thorough rinse using freshwater. This removes any superficial dirt and debris that may have stuck onto your board. This also removes any salt residue on your board and equipment that may cause corrosion. Then use a SUP cleaner to further remove stubborn first and other unwanted stuff on the board. Rinse thoroughly after and let it completely dry before storing.
Keep away from moisture
We’ve mentioned this above and it bears repeating: dry the board completely before storing. As ironic as it seems, moisture can do a lot of damage to your board and equipment. Water can seep into seams and cracks and can weaken the board over time. It also breeds bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause nasty odor. Trust us when we say you absolutely would not want that.
Water can also cause damage to your other equipment. It can corrode any metal especially the paddle shaft. Corrosion happens when any trace minerals in the water or the water itself reacts with the metal shaft. This leads to weakening of the material causing them to break when force is applied like paddling.
Though designed to be tough and durable, your paddleboards are not invincible. Improper handling during transport can cause damage. Here are a few things you can do to transport your gear safely.
Use padding and secure straps
Epoxy boards are notoriously bulky items to transport. Their size and shape is the reason why they are often tied onto roof racks when transporting. This can be a problem if they aren’t secured enough as they can jiggle around resulting in scratches and dings. One way to avoid this is to use adequate padding where the board touches the straps and the railings. This protects the board from damage as well as prevents it from moving around too much. Also, make sure to strap the board with the curve pointing down to avoid it flying off.
Make use of the transport bag
More often than not, paddleboards come with their own transport bags designed to carry the board. These bags are usually made with built-in padding that protects the board when stowed. They also make handling and transport easy as they have multiple straps and slings stitched on.
Take Care of Yourself
When paddle boarding, make sure you take care of yourself: where sunscreen, wear protective layers from the sun and always bring a PFD. Oh, don’t forget, if you’re bringing your dog don’t forget he needs a life jacket too!