Sooooo you've a brand new SUP board, and like with all new toys, you want to make sure you have all the right gear for maximum enjoyment, safety and comfort.
We'll show you the top 5 'must haves' for any SUP board, and why they are on our list, so you can hit the water prepared.
So you may just cruise the lake, in no more than your favourite boardies or swimsuit, thinking more about your sun tan than your safety. But I can tell you, if you're keen to explore and head out into deeper waters or offshore, you'd be crazy not to take some safety gear 'just in case'. And this is where the inflatable waist belts come in.
These genius invention allows you to wear a PFD device around your waist, that hangs around your waist just like a bum bag. It only inflates when you pull the little tag attached to it, providing you an inflation device when you need it most.
We love this as it is so small and compact, and does away with a big bulky lifejacket that gets in the way of your paddle style.
2) Comfortable carry bag with padded shoulder straps
I can highly recommend that if you're transporting your iSUP, such as flying with it and taking on holidays, then a backpack that is comfortable makes all the difference. Yes the boards are light, but with all your gear packed (pump, towel, paddle etc), you'll appreciate a high quality backpack that won't hurt your back.
Remember backpacking around Europe in your late teens with a big great hefty pack? If you opted for the cheap one like I did, you'll likely remember the feeling when you watched your friends who had the deluxe bag thinking, darn I wish I got that one. So in a nutshell, look for a backpack with nice thick padded shoulder straps, that will provide welcomed cushioning on your shoulders and collar bone.
You have a regular dry bag already? If you've taken one out on your SUP board before, you might have struggled a little bit keeping it in position, and perhaps even lost it overboard no thanks to a wave over the deck. Because the traditional dry bag designs are round, they're not ideal for SUP's like they might be for your kayak.
So the smart team over at Ocean & Earth designed this clever 35L Dry Bag that is flat on one side, so it sits flush and snug against the deck of your SUP board. It's got enough room for a towel, bottle of water, wallet, phone keys, sunscreen and a bit of food for your journey. It comes with 4 suction mounts that affix to the deck of your board, to keep it safety attached, even if you happen to flip the board over. How cool is this!
A great alternative to using a hand pump to inflate your SUP, you can sit back and relax whilst it does all the hard work getting your board ready for its next adventure.
Whilst it takes about the same time to inflate your SUP board as it does by hand, it frees you up to finish your latte and slip slop and slap. It even comes with a battery that can inflate up to 3 boards, as well as a 12v cigarette lighter so you can power it right from your car.
We reckon this is a must have, especially if you fancy saving your energy for your paddle. Though on the flip side, pumping your SUP by hand is a great warm up. It's personal choice, but this piece of kit is ideal for the day you don't fancy working up a sweat, before you go paddling.
5) A nice big fin
If your board has an interchangeable fin box (opposed to mould-in fins), where you can change your fin, it's worth while opting for a nice big fin. But I am not surfing, why do I need a big fin?! Well this is where the stability and your balance are greatly impacted.
A big centre fin, such as the 9" FCS fin used in our iSUP boards, act as a keel. The fin depth helps with your balance when waters become wobbly. The deeper the fin, the more anchorage you have digging down into the water, so it will assist you stay standing upright on your board, and not down swimming with the fishies. Think of how image stabilisers work in digital cameras; they try and stabilise the image by keeping the lens centred.
Make the most of your time on the water with the full range of accessories, to keep you safe and make your SUP most enjoyable. You can shop Bay Sports full range of SUP boarding accessories here.