How to Transport Your Stand Up Paddle Board

Transporting a paddle board seems like a simple task when you think about it. But when you attempt to do it, it’s pretty difficult. The thing is, paddle boards are large – it’s not so easy to carry something twice the size of yourself. Paddle boards are also pricey, so knowing the best way to transport one helps avoid causing any damage to it.

There are a handful of options out there to safely transport your SUP. The best ways to transport a stand up paddle board are a SUP-now carrier strap, a paddle board cart, a paddle board roof rack, or a pickup truck.

Transporting Your Paddle Board with Your Vehicle

The first step to transporting a paddle board to your paddleboarding destination is to use your vehicle. Here are some ways to do that:

SUP Roof Rack

One of the best ways to get your paddle board from your home to your paddle board destination is a SUP roof rack for your vehicle.

What you’ll need when using a paddle board roof rack:

  • Crossbars: you’ll need crossbars on your roof. Without these, the roof rack won’t have anything to hook onto. If you don’t have crossbars, continue onto the next section where we explain strapping your paddle board directly to your vehicle’s roof.
  • Roof rack: lots of companies sell rack systems that are easy to install and hold your paddle board secure. Most are compatible with all vehicles, but double check the manufacturers notes before you purchase to make sure the rack will fit your model.
  • Extra ropes: there are roof rack systems that don’t require extra ropes or tie downs, like this one, but others do. You want to make sure the ropes are long enough to go around your paddle board(s) while leaving enough loose rope to tighten the system. Ropes longer than 12 ft are our recommendation.
Paddle board roof rack kit with extra ropes to tie down your SUP
Paddle board roof rack kit (crossbars needed)

Another tip is to purchase a side loading extension kit. It helps you lift your paddle board onto the roof rack when you’re by yourself. You can find one here. It has a lever that juts out from the roof crossbar over the side of the car. You lean your SUP on it then lift the other side to get your board on your roof rack much easier.

SUP Roof Tie Down

If you don’t have cross bars on the top of your car, you can order kits for strapping your board directly to your roof. These kits will include:

  • Padding: you’ll need some padding or cushioning to go between your board and your car roof. This helps avoid damage to both your board and your car’s roof.
  • Straps: straps with locks will be included to help tighten the ropes and keep your board secure as you drive.
  • Ropes: these will be used to strap the board onto the vehicle’s roof.

The SUP roof tie down kits will have you apply the padding to your board then strap your board onto your car roof. The straps will go through your car windows, which is super easy.

If you already have straps with locks that work well, you don’t have to go out and buy a whole kit. Instead, you can go to the store and purchase a pool noodle for as little as $0.85. Cut it in 2-3 pieces and lay it under your paddle board before strapping it down.

Pickup Truck

If you have a pickup truck, your paddle board can go right in the bed of your truck. In order to not to scratch or damage your SUP, you’ll want to get a paddle board tailgate pad. Here’s one we recommend. This provides padding to the top of your tailgate, so you don’t damage your paddle board as it rests on it. Tailgate pads also have straps to secure your paddle board to your tailgate as you drive.

If you don’t want to purchase a tailgate pad or if you already have your own straps, you can use a towel as cushioning on your tailgate to avoid damaging your SUP. Then, use your straps to secure your paddle board to the tailgate.

Before you start to drive, make sure to tie a red cloth or flag to the end of your SUP that’s hanging off your tailgate. This is a “warning flag” and is required by law any time something extends over the rear of a vehicle.

Your Bike

If you live in a town that’s bike friendly, you can easily transport your paddle board using your bike.

Some people are able to hold their SUP while they ride, which is one option. If you’re not able to do that, they do have attachments you can use for your bike.

There are paddle board carts that will hook to the back of your bike, so you can tow your board. Or there are attachments where your paddle board can sit along the bike.

Transporting Your Paddle Board from Your Vehicle to the Water

SUP-Now Paddle Board Strap

You may have heard us mention this before, but we’ll say it again – we started SUP-Now with this paddle board strap. We weren’t happy with the carrier straps out there, so we made our own.

The SUP-Now paddle board strap is great because it adjusts to any size board and to the height of any person. There’s padding on the strap, so it’s not digging into your shoulder as you carry your paddle board. There’s a place for your paddle as well, which also doubles as a handle, making it easier to carry your SUP.

Paddleboard Cart

A great option for getting your paddle board from your car to the water is a paddle board cart. These are super helpful because you don’t have to do a lot of the work (aka you don’t actually have to carry the board). You strap your SUP on the cart then let the wheels do the work. Of course, you have to pull/control the cart, but you won’t be feeling the full brunt of your paddle board’s weight as you walk.

There are a lot of options out there for a SUP cart. Some hold one paddle board and some hold two. All have wheels that assist with transporting your board.

As mentioned above, you can hook these carts onto your bicycle as well, making it even easier to transport your paddle board anywhere you want it to go.

Just Carry It

Of course, you can always do it the old-fashioned way, how they did it before all the fancy gadgets – carry your board by hand. There are indents or small ropes in the middle of the board meant to be used as a handle. Just put the board up under your armpit and hitch your fingers in that handle hole, then be on your way.

Have any other questions about transporting your paddle board? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to answer them.


Some of our posts may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small amount from orders you place (thanks for the beer!) with no extra cost to you. 

Your Complete SUP Safety Guide

Fact: the number of fatalities from stand up paddleboarding has increased since 2016. There have been more deaths because the sport has become more popular. Unfortunately, people don’t realize how dangerous it can be. You may not be moving as fast as a speed boat while on the water, but you’re in an environment you can’t control, which can be risky.  This isn’t to scare you, but it’s a way to make you aware. Being safe on the water should be the #1 priority.

What are the most important tips to follow to be safe while paddleboarding? Here are three quick tips: wear a life jacket, use a leash, and have a float plan. Continue reading to access our complete SUP safety guide.

The 10 essential safety tips to follow when paddleboarding

1. Wear a Life Jacket

A few life jackets on a dock. One necessary item to have on while on your paddle board.

Imagine falling into the water and your paddle board gets swept away from you. The water is freezing, you start to go into shock, and soon lose consciousness. If you aren’t wearing a life vest, you’d drown in this situation.

“The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that life jackets could have saved the lives of over 80 percent of boating fatality victims.”

U.S. Coast Guard – Recreational Boaters Safety

Life jackets are not only a necessity, but they’re also required by law. In 2008, the US Coast Guard categorized a paddle board as a vessel. Due to that change, each person on a paddle board requires a life jacket.

Moral of the story, wear a life jacket. As mentioned in our previous post (read it here), a life jacket is the difference between life and death. Even the best swimmers run into problems in open water, you never know what can happen out there.  It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. 

What’s stopping you? Is it the fact that life jackets are large, bright orange, and inhibit your ability to paddle? We’ve got good news for you! Life jackets have changed since the old days. Now, there are life jackets that are slim, come in attractive colors, and don’t get in the way of paddling. There are even life jackets that only inflate once you hit the water. So, there’s really no excuse, get out there and get yourself a life jacket!

Here’s our top choice for a life vest that’s comfortable and allows you to paddle board with no interference.

2. Use a Leash

The next safety tip is to have a leash for your paddle board, even if you’re going to paddle on a calm lake. You never know if the current or the wind will pick up, causing you to fall and sweeping your board away from you. With a leash, you can attach your board to you and it won’t drift far away if you happen to fall off of it. Leashes are a simple way to be safe that won’t impede your paddle board experience.

People paddleboarding and using paddle board leashes. A paddle board leash helps you stay safe out on the water.

Our favorite paddle board leash is this one. It’s 11′ long and really comfortable.

3. Paddle Board with a Friend

Going on a paddle board is best done with friends, for many reasons. First, it’s way more fun. Second, you have someone with you to capture moments for your Instagram story. The last reason is that there’s someone there with you if anything happens to go wrong. It’s like the buddy system we all used in middle school when on school field trips – it’s much safer than traveling alone.

If you don’t have someone going with you, for example, if you’re going to paddle board to zen out, then make sure to have a “Float Plan”. Tell a friend or family member what your plans are: where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, when they should start to worry, etc. The US Coast Guard even has a form you can fill out for your float plan. You can fill it in and leave it with a reliable person in case anything happens while you’re out paddleboarding.

4. Don’t Drink and SUP

We know, we know – this tip makes us seem like serious party poopers! There are a handful of reasons why drinking alcohol while out on the water is a bad idea though. First off, it’s illegal to drink and operate a vessel, which paddle boards are. If you’re caught and your blood alcohol content is over the legal limit, you’ll get a BUI (boating under the influence). Another reason to not drink while on your SUP is that alcohol impairs your judgement, decreases your balance, and slows your reaction times. It’s not a great situation when you add all that together with steering a paddle board, avoiding boats in the area, and trying to swim if you fall in the water. 

We know it’s summer and you want to have a few cold ones while relaxing on the water, but it’s not a good idea. The best thing to do, is to paddle board until you don’t want to anymore, then enjoy your beverages when you’re on dry land. 

5. Pay Attention to the Weather

An iPad showing the weather report for the week. Check the weather before going out to paddle board, it'll keep you safe.

The weather report is your best friend. Before heading out on the water to paddle board, make sure you check the weather report for a few things.

First, check the wind speed. Is it going to be a super windy day or is it going to be reasonable? If it’s going to be very windy, we’d say it’s not a great day to go out on the water. Not only will it be frustrating, but you could find yourself battling the wind and getting pushed away from your starting point. 

The next thing you want to check is if storms are on the horizon. Thunderstorms have a funny way of changing paths and rolling in hours before the weatherman predicted. When you’re out on the water, keep an eye on the clouds and the wind; if the wind picks up and the clouds start to darken, it’s best to head back to shore ASAP. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic! Drop to your knees, making yourself more aerodynamic, and paddle to shore to get off the water.

6. Have a Light or a Flag

You won’t be the only vessel out on the water, so you want to make sure you have a way to warn others that you’re there. We assume you won’t be paddle boarding on water with huge steamers, like Matt Crofton in the book Mighty did, but we predict you’ll be around speed boats. A bright orange flag on a pole or a flashing light can help other vessels see you, especially when there’s less visibility.

7. Carry a Whistle

This may seem odd, but whistles have saved lives, ask Rose from Titanic. If you get knocked off your paddle board then need help, but no one can hear you, a whistle will help people find you.

This is our #1 choice for a safety whistle. It’s a 2-pack, clips on easily, and works really well.

8. ID your Paddle Board

Stickers are available that go right on your board to ID it. All you have to do is write your name and phone number on the sticker. Let’s say you get separated from your board and someone finds it, they can look at the sticker, see your name, and have a place to start their search.

9. Stay with your SUP

Imagine you’re in trouble, a search party is out looking for you, including helicopters to get an aerial view. Someone in a helicopter will be able to see an 11’ paddle board a lot easier than a tiny head bobbing in the water. So, stay with your paddle board if you can.

10. Pack a lot of Water and Snacks

Make sure you have enough water and snacks, like when you prepare to go for a hike. Yes, you’ll be surrounded by water, but our guess is it’s not drinkable. You want to make sure you have enough water to stay hydrated and keep your energy up. You also want to make sure you have enough snacks to fuel you as you paddle.

Before you head out on the water, double check our SUP safety guide to make sure you’ve got all the essentials to be safe.

11 Things They Never Tell You About Paddleboarding

A man paddleboarding at sunset holding the paddle correctly

Paddleboarding has been around since the 1940s. Its popularity has grown a lot over the last few years. It seems like everywhere you look there’s a place to rent paddle boards or a SUP-yoga class to attend or a new paddle board accessory to buy. The thing is, people never tell you the important things. Let us explain.

You go on Instagram and see people smiling, paddle boarding on a beautiful lake or out in the crystal clear ocean, making it all look so easy. But what happens when the cameras aren’t rolling? How do those people make it look so simple?

We’re here to let you in on a few secrets, give you a few tips and tricks that people never tell you about paddleboarding.

How to hold a SUP paddle correctly

This might seem funny, but there is a correct way to hold a paddle board paddle! It helps you keep your balance, gives you a more efficient stroke, and helps conserve energy. 

Start by holding the paddle, is it sloping towards you or away from you? If it’s sloping away, you’re holding it correctly. A lot of SUP beginners have the instinct to have the paddle slope towards them, but that actually creates drag by scooping water up while you paddle. It will slow you down and drain your energy reserves. Instead, hold the paddle board paddle so it slopes away from you, which pushes water down, allowing you to glide smoothly across the water.

A diagram showing you how to hold a sup paddle correctly.
Correct way to hold a SUP paddle
Picture courtesy of iRocker SUP

Next, you’ll want to position your hands in the correct spots. Both hands shouldn’t be on the shaft of the paddle at the same time. If you’re paddling on your left side, your left hand will be on the shaft and if you’re paddling on the right, your right hand will be on the shaft. Your other hand should sit on top of the paddle, where the T-like shape is. This hand positioning allows you to get a longer stroke, easily guide your paddle, and evenly distribute the stress of the stroke on your body.

How to paddle on a paddleboard correctly

Now that you know how to hold the paddle, what’s the best way to actually use it? There is a certain technique to paddling a SUP that is efficient, helps you glide seamlessly across the water, and makes it look like you put in zero effort. 

The best technique is called the “J-stroke”. If you are familiar with canoeing, you may already know how to perform this stroke. Hold the paddle like mentioned in the previous section, reach your arms forward, towards the side you’re paddling on first. Place the paddle in the water and guide it through the water, parallel to your paddle board. Here is where the “J” part comes in. Instead of just taking the paddle out of the water, which guides the water into your board and causes a slight turn, twist the paddle slightly away from you as it exits the water, creating a “J” shape with your stroke. 

Depending on the current, you might take your next stroke on the same side or switch the positioning of your hands so you can paddle on the other side of the board.

Over time, you’ll get the hang of it, especially learning to paddle with the current so your paddle board goes straight.

Carrying a paddle board can be really awkward

A woman holding a paddle board using the SUP-now paddle board carrier strap. The strap has a place to hold the paddle board paddle too.
SUP-now paddle board strap

You never really know how large a paddleboard is until you have to carry it, especially when it’s windy. No one ever talks about the trek from the house to the car or the car to the water. The average paddle board is between 11′ and 12’, which is almost twice as long as the average human. Carrying something a lot larger than you can be tough, and it seems like no one tells you this when you go to transport a paddle board.

The reason SUP-now started was to make a strap that really helps with carrying a board twice your size, no matter how tall you are. It also allows you to attach the paddle to the strap, which is one less thing to carry and maneuver from point A to point B.

You don’t need to stand up

A woman paddleboarding on her knees in the ocean. It's okay to stay on your knees while paddleboarding instead of standing up.
Kneeling is okay

Yes, it’s called a STAND up paddle board, but guess what? You don’t have to stand up. If you’re just beginning, you can stay on your knees. This allows you to get the hang of it all – the way to hold the paddle, the technique of the most efficient stroke, and just the overall feel of being on a paddle board – before attempting to stand up and apply all of that new knowledge.

On windy days, it is especially hard to make any progress while paddling standing up. Don’t feel like you have to stand up, even if everyone around you is doing it.

A leash can be for your paddle board too

A leash can be your best friend out on the water, they’re not just for when you’re walking your four-legged buddy. Similar to surfing, you may fall off your board and you don’t want it to get away from you, especially on water with a current. Boards can easily be swept away from you, which can be dangerous. If you have a leash, the board will stay connected to you, making it easy for you to get back to the board and right back on it.

Check the weather report

Always check the weather report before heading out, especially how fast the wind is blowing. Windy days are not good for paddleboarding. The water will be choppier, paddling will be much harder, and the whole experience will not be enjoyable. Make sure to check if any severe weather, like a thunderstorm, is in the forecast as well. The last thing you want is to be a mile off shore, racing to get back before a storm rolls in on you.

Start paddling upstream or upwind

If there’s a current or wind, you’ll want to start going against them. It’ll be more work, but it’s better to do the work when you first get on the water, you’ll have a lot of energy, be more excited, and will mentally be ready to take on a challenge. When you’re ready to head back to where you started, you won’t have to do as much paddling, you may even be able to relax and ride the current back.

There is an art to falling off a paddle board

A young person falling off a paddle board into a lake. He's falling away from the board, which is safer than trying to fall on the paddle board.
The art of falling

There is an art to falling off your paddle board, even if you don’t want to. You might not fall off your board when you’re out on the water, but most beginner’s fall at least once. In order to not hurt yourself, you want to fall away from your board. The instinct may be to try and catch your board or fall onto it, but try your best not to. It’ll be a lot less painful falling into the water versus landing partially on your paddle board.

Don’t forget to sunscreen your feet!

Before going out on the water, you’ll probably put sunscreen on (read more from our previous post on why you should), but don’t forget your feet! They’ll get the most sun exposure, besides your shoulders, and no one really thinks about them when putting sunscreen on, but they’ll thank you after a long day of paddleboarding.

A life jacket will, literally, save your life

Life jackets aren’t the most stylish summer accessory to wear, but they’ll save your life. According to the federal Navigation Rules, you are required to have a USCG-approved life jacket on board for each person since paddle boards are classified as “vessels”. So make sure you bring one out on the water, for legal reasons, but also, for life saving reasons.

Don’t forget a pouch for your personal belongings

When you’re heading out on the water, you never really think about what you’re going to do with your clothes or phone while you’re out there, you just head to the water dressed, then you get there and realize you can leave your items on the beach, risking them getting stolen, or bring them with you somehow. The best option: a pouch that suction cups to your board.

You’ll be able to have all your items with you without worrying about them getting stolen if left on dry land, plus, you can use a waterproof carrying case for your phone (don’t want to miss out on those key moments for your Instagram, right?). Here’s a SUP-now product we created for this exact situation:

A woman on a paddle board pulling her phone out of the SUP-now paddle board pouch with waterproof insert.
SUP-now pouch with waterproof insert

You may have already known some of these secrets, but hopefully we were able to give you insight into something you didn’t know before. Try some of these things next time you’re out on the water. If you’ve never paddle boarded before, now’s a great time to take the leap and get out on the water today!

The Must-Have Beach Accessories You Didn’t Know You Needed this Summer

Today marks the official first day of summer. Summer means lots of time spent outside and lots of beach trips. Have you ever wondered what to bring to the beach when you want to spend the whole day there? Or what to pack when you’re going on a beach vacation? Or maybe, you think you’re a beach expert and have no need for this list. But, we guarantee there’s at least one beach accessory on this list you’ll want.

We did some digging and found a handful of must-have beach accessories you never knew you needed.

For the whole family

Portable charger: this one isn’t too surprising, but a definite beach day necessity. A portable charger saves you a lot of headaches, whether it’s for that Bluetooth speaker you’ve brought for the beach party or for your Kindle while on a beach vacation, your portable charger has got you and your electronics’ back. It’s always hard to remember to fully charge all your electronics the night before. But with a portable charger, you don’t need to. Just make sure your portable charger is fully charged.

A couple enjoying the beach on their sand free mat, a must-have summer beach accessory.
Sand free mat to keep your towel sand free

Sand free mat: no matter how much you try, do you find it’s really hard to keep sand off your towel? If you spend all day at the beach until sunset, you’re bound to have a towel covered in sand by the end of the day. These sand free towels are a definite game changers. They’re made from a mesh cover attached to a tarp-like piece to sit on the bottom, which protects from sand coming up onto the towel. Water and sand fall right through the mesh top, away from your towel. They’re large, which takes up space on a crowded beach, but they’re definitely worth it for a happy beach day.

An awning that attaches to your Jeep to create a shaded area. It's a must have beach accessory for the summer.
Jeep awning for a shaded beach site

Jeep Awning: in some places you can drive your car right onto the beach, which is why a lot of people in those areas own Jeeps, one of the best cars designed for a beach day. Now, there’s an awning designed to attach right to your Jeep, creating a shaded area right at your beach site. No umbrella needed! Plus, the awnings don’t need to be screwed into the ground, like umbrellas, to only fly away when a 5 mph gust of wind occurs. You can easily pack it up and store it in the back of your Jeep for the next beach day.

For the Adults

Spikeball and KanJam: you can decide to bring one of these beach games or both, but you definitely need to bring one along for a day at the beach. Both games are easily transported to the beach of your choosing, they’re simple to setup, and provide hours of beach fun. Spikeball is sometimes better on sand as well since a lot of diving can occur during games. Kan jam takes up a little bit more space, but you can usually find a good spot to play at the beach. You need 4 people for each game, but you can play for fun with just 2 people.

A baseball cap with a hole above the typical baseball cap hole, used for high ponytails and buns. It's a must have beach accessory
For those who want to rock a messy bun or high ponytail at the beach

Ponycap (also called a high ponytail hat): this one is for all the long haired people out there, especially the ladies who love rocking a high ponytail or messy bun during their beach day. It’s a bit of a quirky beach accessory, but definitely a useful one. These trucker hats have the regular snapback hole, but they also have a oval-like shape above that for higher ponytails. Now you can keep that messy bun for your beach hair while also blocking your face from the sun. These are also great for those really sunny days on the water when you paddle board.

A cup holder that digs right into the sand to keep your drinks sand-free. It's a must have beach accessory for the summer.
Convenient holder that sits right in the sand

Sand cup holders: this is a beach party must-have. The worst thing about drinking any beverage at the beach is that the bottom of the cup, can or bottle gets all sandy when you put it down. You start getting sand everywhere and, somehow, it travels up the side of the drink into the actual liquid. The bottom of these cup holders dig into the sand for stability. Once it’s dug in, you have a little holder on top that sits above the sand. Some are even equipped with a place for your drink AND a place for your phone. No more sand infested drinks here!

For the Infants & Toddlers

An infant pop-up pool for the beach with detachable shade. It's a must-have beach accessory for infants and toddlers.
Make your own shaded pool at the beach for the kids

Pop-up pool: these are for families with infants or toddlers who want to play with or in the water, but have no one to supervise them near the ocean shore. You dig a hole, line the hole with the pop-up pool, then pour in a bucket of water. Now the kids have a little water hole to play in without having to be too far from adult supervision. It also comes with a detachable tent piece depending on whether you need shade or not. This accessory is going to make it a lot easier to build sand castles, no need to truck water back and forth in tiny buckets (…though that may help tire the toddlers out quicker).

For the Dogs

Dog Tote: Dog owners love being able to bring their furry friends to the beach, especially when the dog really enjoys it. This Dog Tote is the all-in-one accessory to keep Fido happy for a full day at the beach. It includes the bag, a blanket, a dog food carrier, two collapsible bowls, and a frisbee. There are a lot of pockets and places to carry everything you need. You can bring food, treats, water, toys, etc for your beach buddy. It’s easily cleaned inside so you can bring ice packs to keep anything for your dog cold, like frozen watermelons for a treat.

A dog tote that comes with multiple dog accessories. A must have beach accessory for your dog.
All-in-one dog tote to satisfy all your dog’s needs during an all day beach trip

With this list, you’ll be able to go to the beach all day, sunrise to sunset, with all your needs met. The only thing you’ll need to remember is to pack lots sunscreen to make up for all the extra time in the sun. Beach days are what summer is all about and these beach accessories will help you enjoy those days all summer long.

Some of our posts may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small amount from orders you place (thanks for the beer!) with no extra cost to you.

Inflatable vs Hard Paddle Boards: Which is better?

A woman on an inflatable paddle board. A man on an epoxy paddle board.
Image courtesy of Isle

This seems to be the great debate these days in the paddleboarding world. Do you go for the hard paddle board that’s been around a lot longer? Or do you purchase its newer cousin, the inflatable paddle board?

There’s pros and cons to each, as with any choice, so we’ll try to break it down for you the best we can. In the end, it’s up to you based on your desired body of water to paddle on, how much storage space you have, your cash flow, etc.

Hard Paddle Boards

Let’s start with hard paddle boards. These boards are often called original, traditional or fiberglass paddle boards.

What are hard paddle boards made of?

Hard paddle boards are usually made from a hard, but lightweight material, like an EPS foam core wrapped with fiberglass and epoxy. They come in a variety of shapes, lengths, and thicknesses. They can support a wider range of heights and weights compared to inflatable paddle boards.

When is a hard paddle board better to use?

The first thing to think about is where you’re trying to paddle and how long/far. If your paddleboarding destination is a calm, serene lake – you could go with either option. If you’re going to paddle out in the ocean, you probably want a hard paddle board to stand up to the waves.

Even on the calmest lake, a hard paddle board will perform slightly better. When it comes to water that is choppy, like in the ocean, the hard paddle board will perform noticeably better. But surfing is really the only time a hard board is far more superior than an inflatable one.

If you plan to do any surfing, you should rule out an inflatable off the bat. It is possible to surf with an inflatable board, but the performance will be far inferior.

Hard paddle boards sit lower in the water and are usually thinner, so they tend to have a smoother ride, go faster, and go farther easier. If you’re looking to stay out on the water almost all day and go long distances, you’ll want to choose a hard paddle board over an inflatable one. If you are just looking to go out and paddle for a few hours for fun on a lake, the inflatable is totally fine.

Another good thing about hard paddle boards is they feel more stable than inflatable paddle boards. Since they are firmer and ride lower in the water, there’s more support from under the board and the board itself. This can help with people who don’t have the best balance.

Hard paddle boards have been around longer so companies have had a lot of time to work on shapes, weights, thicknesses, etc. This means that there’s a lot more variety when it comes to hard paddle boards. So you’re able to customize the board, in a way, based on your height, weight, skill-level, etc.

If you’re a person who’s on the heavier side, a hard paddle board might be better for you. The material they’re made of makes them more stable and less prone to bending inwards under heavier weights.

Another good thing about hard paddle boards is that they’re ready to go when you are. You don’t have to spend 10-15 minutes inflating them. You can save your energy for staying out on the water and paddleboarding longer.

Issues of an epoxy paddle board

The negatives of hard paddleboards are as follows:

  • Need a lot of storage space: if you don’t have a large balcony or extra garage space, it can be hard to find a place to store your paddle board. They don’t fold up, so you need a rack or space in your apartment, say behind the couch, to store them when not in use.

  • Harder to transport: if you live far from the ocean or a lake, you’ll need a truck or a car that can handle a paddle board strapped to the top. It can also be tough if you live on an upper floor of an apartment building. Carrying a large board in elevators or in tight corridors can be difficult and frustrating. Once you park, it can even be difficult to carry your board to the water as well. Of course, our SUP-Now Strap makes it all easier.
SUP-now's enhanced paddle board strap that helps you carry your paddle board and your paddle.

Inflatable paddle boards

Inflatable paddle boards are newer to the SUP game, but they’re a great alternative to a fiberglass board and they have come a long way in the past few years. They’re made from a mix of hardened rubber, PVC and polymer. They usually come with a manual pump, paddle, and carrying case (which also doubles as a storage bag).

What situations are better for inflatable paddle boards?

Inflatable paddle boards are great for people who don’t have the space for hard paddle boards. They fold up into their bag, which can then be stored on balconies, in closets, or kept in the trunk of your car.

They’re easily transportable as well. You don’t need to pump them up before you get in the car to drive to the ocean or lake you’re going to paddle on. Any car can handle an inflatable paddle board. Deflating and folding them up also makes it a lot easier to carry them from upper floors in apartment buildings. Just strap the bag on your back and make your way down.

Inflatable paddle boards tend to be lighter, so carrying them can be a lot easier than hard paddle boards.

The negatives of inflatable paddle boards

The cons of inflatable paddle boards are below:

  • Some assembly required: inflatable paddleboards need to be blown up every time you want to get out on the water (unless you have storage space to keep them inflated). Sometimes blowing them up can take 10+ minutes, which means that an impromptu paddle can be sort of annoying.

  • Less variety and fewer options: since inflatable paddle boards are newer and require different engineering, there’s not as many choices out there. You can’t easily customize it to your height and weight like solid paddle boards.

  • Less stable: inflatable paddle boards sit higher on the surface of the water, so they can feel less stable since they don’t have as much support from the water. A lot more falls into the water can happen because of this.

  • Lower weight capacity: inflatable paddle boards have definitely evolved since they were first introduced, but they still have lower max weight capacities than hard paddle boards. It’s possible that when a heavier person is on an inflatable board, it can start to “taco”, which means the sides start to turn up and engulf the paddler (that’s not a taco Tuesday we want to be part of). However, with recent technology this does happen less often.

Inflatable paddle boards can be slightly cheaper than hard paddle boards, but there are options in both categories that are inexpensive and budget-friendly.

To wrap things up…

If you are an average paddle boarder, who won’t be paddleboarding in the ocean often (or at least not surfing), and you don’t mind blowing up a paddle board each time, an inflatable board is perfectly suitable for you. If you are are a hard core paddleboarder or plan to mostly use your board on the ocean, a traditional board might be the better way to go.

Three people, each on a paddle board, on a lake at sunset. Two are on an inflatable paddle board, the other is on an epoxy paddle board.

Keep an eye out for another post we’ll do on the best inflatable and hard paddle boards out there. If you’re looking to make a purchase before we get to that post though, you can’t go wrong with Tower Paddleboards. They were one of the first to enter the space, have quality products and good customer service.

So before you make a decision on what paddle board to buy, use this list as a guide to figuring out what you want from your paddle board and which option checks off the most boxes.

Happy shopping, see you out on the water!

The Best Ways to Protect Against UV Rays

…and tips for relief in case sunburn strikes

How many times have you been out on your paddle board only to realize it’s time to reapply sunscreen?  It’s not a job you look forward to doing. It very well may be the least enjoyable part about going out on the water.  

Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil.  

If you’re paddling in the morning when the sun isn’t strong or you’re out on the water during twilight, you don’t need to put on sunscreen, but all other times on the water you do.  

Don’t forget the sunscreen

It’s recommended that you reapply sunscreen at least every 90 minutes. The risk of skin cancer is too great nowadays to take any chances. Plus, who wants to deal with sunburn?  It’s ugly, uncomfortable, and peeling skin is gross.

Here are our top 3 picks for sunscreens:

  1. Neutrogena Beach Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 70 – the best thing about Neutrogena is how lightweight and fast absorbing it is.  You don’t feel sticky after applying like you may after using some other sunscreens.

    It’s broad spectrum, so it protects against both UVA and UVB rays (the harmful UV rays from the sun).  The beach defense line is great because it stays put better than other brands after you go in the water. Both lotion and spray work well – so that decision is up to you.
  2. BullFrog Water Sport SPF 50 or more – BullFrog was made for surfers, so naturally, it’s a great choice for water sports. It’s the first brand to have offered water resistant sunscreens, making it the OG.

    BullFrog is also great because it contains soothing gels from plants, so if you’re feeling sunburned already, it eases that discomfort.
  3. MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 50 – this is a natural sunscreen that’s great for people with sensitive skin. It’s third on our list because it’s more expensive than most other brands. It doesn’t leave a residue, is broad spectrum, and natural..so it checks all of our boxes.

Sometimes dealing with sunscreen, whether it be lotion or spray, can get way too annoying.  

Instead of bothering with sunscreen every 90 minutes, there’s now UV protection clothing.

Sun Protective Clothing

Plenty of outdoor brands, like REI, have begun selling clothing that is equipped with UV protection.  This clothing helps protect you all day as you paddleboard without having to reapply sunscreen (though it is recommended that you use sunscreen as well, but it’s not as important when wearing UV protection clothing).

You’re probably skeptical of UV protection clothing, we know we were the first time we heard about it.

How does it work? Does it really work? Or is it just another buzzword used to sell the same old clothing?

It turns out that it is different from regular clothing… but not all that much. This special clothing is manufactured in a way that allows it to carry a UPF rating.  

What the heck is a UPF rating, you ask?  It stands for UV Protection Factor. The higher the UPF, the better the protection. This rating is granted by ASTM International, which is a legit society that tests all types of materials.

When a piece of clothing has the ASTM rating, you can trust that it is lab tested to guarantee that UPF rating.

UV protection clothing is woven tighter and uses denser fabrics that are proven to protect against UV rays.  Some items are also treated with an ingredient that is said to protect against harmful rays. This will be noted on the label if it is.

The problem is that no company states what this ingredient is. So who knows how it works, how long it stays on the clothing, or if it really does work.

But the good news is that UV protection clothing carrying a UPF rating is actually sewn different from regular clothing, so it’s worth the purchase and does provide protection.

If you don’t want to go out and buy more clothing though, you can look at what you own already and see if it can provide some defense against the sun.  Denim and corduroy are great against UV rays, the problem is they’re not exactly material you want to be wearing while you paddleboard.

The fabrics that help most against UV rays (but work for being on the water) are:

  • Polyester
  • Rayon
  • Unbleached cotton

Turns out bathing suits are made from these materials already. Doesn’t it all makes sense now?

If you have clothing made of these materials, they’ll help protect you, but may not be as tightly woven as clothing specifically made for UV protection. Any clothing is better protection than nothing though.

Tips for when sunburn strikes

Ouch…

So, let’s say you take all the necessary precautions, but still manage to get sunburn. You’re uncomfortable. You’re skins burning. You’re turning as red as a lobster.  

It’s. the. Worst.

Instead of just sitting there and suffering, here’s a few tips on relieving the pain from sunburn:

  1. Aloe – you can use this by getting an aloe plant and breaking open the leaf.  Or you can buy the gel in a bottle. Slather it on and bask in the the glory of the cooling relief.
  2. Cold showers – cold showers help lower your body temperature and decrease inflammation.  If you want to feel like a real tough guy, try an ice bath.
  3. Light clothing – wear clothing that lightweight, isn’t tight, and allows your skin to breathe.  Any item made of a fabric that stays cool is also a plus.

All these tips are great ways to make this summer paddle board season really enjoyable.  Not only will they keep you safe in the sun, but they’ll protect you from uncomfortable sunburn. You don’t want to end up missing any time out on the water this summer, right?

Some of our posts may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small amount from orders you place (thanks for the beer!) with no extra cost to you.

Memorial Day: The Kick-Off to Summer

Winter blues have you down? Are you over the cold weather? Well, with Memorial Day right around the corner, most people are starting to dream about summer.  Summer vacations, summer nights, and the best of all: paddleboard season.

If you’re reading this right now, you’re probably part of the latter group. After being cooped up all winter long, getting out on the water on your paddleboard probably sounds like a really great idea. To prepare for the kickoff to summer, here are the top 5 destinations in the United States for paddleboarding:

Hawaii

Honestly, go paddle board anywhere in Hawaii on any island.  You can’t go wrong paddleboarding in Hawaii.  There’s so many opportunities for awesome paddleboarding off any of the islands.

You can rent a board for the morning, take a SUP-yoga class, or paddle out at twilight while your board is illuminated from below.  If you can only choose one island to paddleboard at, Oahu would be the first choice. It’s the 3rd largest of the Hawaiian islands, but it has some of the best paddleboard spots.

There’s a SUP company located on any side of the island you’re on, so you won’t be too far from renting a board and getting out on the water.  The views are amazing anywhere you find yourself.

California

Are you surprised? Probably not.  With California’s extensive coastline, there’s plenty of spots to launch your paddle board.  You can go out off the coast of Santa Barbara or head south to Santa Monica, a more popular city for tourists.  Going south from there you can go to Huntington Beach or even further south to San Diego.

No matter where you choose in California, the paddleboarding will be fun and the views will be great.

Key West, Florida

To get to Key West, you can either take a flight to the Key West International Airport or you can fly into Miami and drive.  The drive over the bridge to Key West is epic. It may be longer than taking a flight, but it’s an experience all in itself.  

The best part of paddleboarding in Key West is the white sands of the beaches and the clear blue water. You can see all the marine life under you as you paddle.  There are plenty of spots to rent paddle boards as well. You can take them out day or night, your choice.

Key West is one place where you feel like you’re actually walking on water.

Three women paddleboarding in Key West, Florida.
Paddleboarding in Key West, FL is beautiful

Lake Tahoe

Since Lake Tahoe is in both California and Nevada, it gets its own place on the list.  The lake is huge and perfect for paddleboarding. One of the great experiences of paddling on Lake Tahoe is that you get different scenery than in the previous places on this list.  It’s not sand and ocean views.

Lake Tahoe has views of evergreens and snow-capped mountains. It’s a whole other experience when paddling in the warm weather, but seeing nature that’s more suited for a winter wonderland.  

If you’re a confident paddleboarder, you can make your way out to the state line in the middle of the lake. You’ll be able to say you’re in two states at one time right on your board.

Seattle

Seattle probably makes you think, “Really? A Northwest state? Isn’t always raining there?”  

Well, it turns out all that rain has created plenty of bodies of water to SUP on. A lot of people in Seattle live in houseboats and travel the city that way. It’s a new way to explore Seattle as well, instead of just setting out on foot. Take to the waterways and paddle your way around to see the city and the scenery around it.

After dreaming about all the places on this list, summer can’t come soon enough.  It’s time to book a trip and get out on the water.

Let us know your favorite places to SUP this coming summer.  It’s gonna be a great 2019 season.