Paddleboarding is arguably one of the most rewarding water activities you can do today. In this sport, skill and equipment go hand in hand in creating the best experience for paddlers. This is why caring for your equipment is as important as learning the skills. That is why it is important to learn good practices as well as avoid bad habits in equipment care. In this article, we list down 7 things you should never do with your paddleboard.
Skipping inspections before and after each session
First up, you should NEVER skip out on before and after session equipment checks. This is something most beginners, and a few experienced paddlers sometimes gloss over. Oftentimes, you just can’t contain the excitement and just want to head out on the water as soon as you get to the lake or beach. But seasoned paddlers know that safety and your enjoyment rests in the condition of your equipment. So, you must do a thorough check of your equipment’s condition before and after every session.
For inflatables, look for tears, holes, or scratches on the surface. Check the seams for leaks or rips. For epoxy boards, look for small scratches, dings, or cracks along the surface. Also check your paddles and fins for any breaks, cracks or signs of corrosion.
Leaving it out under the sun
It sounds counterintuitive how something that’s supposed to be used outdoors needs to keep out of the sun but hear us out. Heat can do a lot of damage the longer the boards are exposed. This can cause delamination of the inflatable SUP’s rubber material and will cause it to weaken. This weakness can cause the board to tear as the exposed part is now compromised.
Air also expands when exposed to heat. This can cause additional strain to your inflatable and may cause the seams to rip over time. You do not want your fully inflated SUP to apply pressure to your board more than necessary. Paint and graphics also fade easily when exposed to UV rays. So, to keep your board in pristine shape, always store it under the shade away from the sun’s harmful rays.
Not doing a thorough clean before storage
Cleaning your equipment is another crucial step that sometimes gets left out. It is the unexciting and tedious part of the hobby but has one of the most profound impacts. Poorly maintained equipment always breaks down a lot sooner. This is a huge deal especially since good quality SUP’s do not come cheap.
Every after your sessions—after you’ve done the inspection—start by rinsing out your board thoroughly. This removes small debris that got stuck to the board which can damage it upon storage. Rinsing also removes unwanted bacteria and other organisms off your equipment which can cause odor or even corrosion.
Next, let the board and other equipment dry thoroughly before stowing it away. Make sure that the storage space is cool and away from moisture. Moisture buildup can damage your equipment in the long run.
Not storing the board and equipment properly
Long term storage is another aspect of the sport that people don’t find particularly sexy. It can be a pain, especially after every excursion. But, it is still a very crucial part of paddleboard care. Boards not stored properly can result in catastrophic damage to your board such as cracks and nicks for epoxy boards or tears and rips for inflatables.
Before storing, make sure to rinse the board thoroughly. Make sure to remove small dirt, debris, and any other contaminants that can damage the board. Dry it out thoroughly after. For inflatable SUP, make sure to squeeze out all of the air out of the board. For hard epoxy boards, make sure to cover the board in the provided paddleboard bag. This is to prevent scratches and other damage during storage. Always store somewhere cool and dry and away from direct sunlight.
Not transporting the board properly
Transporting the board is yet another important part of the hobby. This is when the board is exposed to things that may damage it more than during actual use. During transport, things can jostle about especially when offroad. This can introduce scratches and or tears to the board when they are not secured tightly.
If you are bringing inflatables, always carry them inside their protective transport bags. They not only make transport a lot easier, but they also prevent some damage to the board. For epoxy boards, when tying them on the roof rack. Always place them upside down with the curve point downwards. This prevents the board from flying off when you are driving down the road.
Paddling in shallow waters
Rivers, streams, lakes, and even the sea can be rough on your board. Rocks, fallen trees, and even coral can do a number on your board—inflatable and hardboard alike. That is why as a paddler, you always have to be mindful of your surroundings.
The best way to keep your board safe on the water happens even before you head out. Choose paddling spots that are deep and preferably free from sharp rocks and debris. You can check out online forums, and discussion boards for information about this. Also for beginners, make sure that there is no strong current. It can be hard to steer away from sharp rocks when fighting strong currents.
Using the board where it’s not designed to go
As the sport grew in popularity over the years, there have since been many board types that came out. These boards were designed to fit different use cases for paddlers all over the world. From touring boards, surfing paddleboards, to race boards. Although they have some overlap, generally, these boards should only be used for their intended purpose.
For beginners, having a good quality multi-purpose board is the best board to have. These boards are designed to be decent in a wide variety of paddling conditions and locations. They are also designed to be easy to maneuver, reach decent speed, and easy to balance on.
Touring boards are not suitable for surfing conditions. They are longer and generally difficult to handle especially in rough water. Likewise, paddleboards for surfing are narrower and has more drag which makes them unsuitable for long-distance touring.