span style="font-weight: 400;">Spring is almost here in the Northern Hemisphere. And now is a great time to dust off your SUP gear and get ready for the start of a new season of paddling. But before you hit the water, it's important to make sure your equipment is in good condition. And ready for action. For our friends in the Southern Hemisphere – check out a special section at the end explaining how to put your gear away so it’s properly packed for the end of the season!
To help you properly prepare for all the adventures ahead, we decided to create a short checklist as well as some tips for taking care of your SUP gear. And getting everything ready for your first spring paddle.
Preparing SUP Gear For Spring Paddling: Inspect Your board
Before you hit the water, give your board a thorough inspection. Check for any dings or cracks in the surface, and make sure the fin box and leash attachment are secure. This includes the string that attaches your leash to the back of your board.
If you have an inflatable board, it’s important to check out the seams to make sure there is no damage. In addition, inspect the valve where the board is inflated. Make sure that too is in good working order. A great thing to do before you head out is to inflate your board on land and keep it inflated for about an hour or so. This will give you a great idea as to whether you need to do any repairs to your board before heading out.
Of course, if you’re not sure how to repair a broken seam, a crack, or a tear, contact your Local Paddling Pro at Perfect Paddles. Most Pros know how to repair boards. Or if they do not, they can certainly point you in the right direction to do so.
If you notice any damage, make sure to get it repaired before you go paddling.
Preparing SUP Gear For Spring Paddling: Check your paddle
Your paddle is just as important as your board, so make sure it's in good condition. Inspect the blade for any cracks or chips, and check that the handle is securely attached to the shaft.
If you have an adjustable paddle, make sure the locking mechanism is in working condition. There is nothing worse than trying to paddle an adjustable when the handle doesn’t want to stay in place!
Also, in the case of adjustable paddles, sometimes the blade itself is glued to the shaft of the paddle. For these models, make sure the blade is strongly attached to the shaft before use. You might not believe it, but we’ve seen paddle blades fall right off the shaft of a paddle while on the water! This is a position you want to avoid at all cost.
For those with custom-cut paddles, inspect the handle’s glue to make sure it’s still strong. If not, you may need to melt the glue using a heat gun before reapplying a strong epoxy for use.
Once you believe your paddle is in good condition, it’s time to check out this important piece of gear…
Preparing SUP Gear For Spring Paddling: Get Your PFD ready
Most paddlers have a choice of PFDs. You either use a life vest that you wear on your body or a belt pack PFD that you wear around your waist.
If you’re using a life vest, check the snaps and straps to make sure they’re still attached and in good working order. It’s also a great idea to try on your life vest before use to make sure it still fits.
If you're using a belt pack PFD, make sure your C02 cartridge is properly installed and that the PFD is in good condition. Check the expiration date on the cartridge and replace it if necessary.
There is nothing more useless than a belt pack PFD that doesn’t have a working C02 cartridge in it! To stay safe while on the water, always remember to double-check the expiration date of the cartridge and buy an extra one you can use as a test.
If you missed out on the previous newsletter discussing the confusion about PFD usage on the water, be sure to read through this very important topic:
Once you've done that, don't forget the rest of your gear...
Not sure what type of PFD vest or wetsuit to invest in for the upcoming season?
Check out what Paddling Professional Rob Casey from Salmon Bay Paddle recommendsfor his time paddling in the wild conditions of the Pacific Northwest.
Click HERE to read his personal recommendations on Perfect Paddles!
Preparing SUP Gear For Spring Paddling: Check Your Other Gear
By other gear, we first mean your leash. Leashes are an integral part of your paddling equipment. But with repeated use, they can begin to degrade. Especially if you paddle in salt water.
Make sure it's not frayed or damaged and that it's the right length for your board. If you need to replace your leash, make sure you get one that's appropriate for the type of paddling you plan to do. For more information on leashes, check out our previous article, “How to Choose the Right SUP and Surf Leash.”
What you need to look for first is the velcro. Does it stick? Is it strong? Next, check the ends of the leash where the rubber attaches to the velcro. Is it corroded? Even if it is just a little bit, you should buy a new leash. They’re not incredibly expensive. And it’s always worth having an extra one around on those days when you might forget one (and need it!)
Also, be sure to check the leash plug on your board. Are there any cracks around it? Does it look like it needs a repair? If so, take care of that before heading out.
And of course, check your whistle and flashlight to make sure they too are still working. Other gear to consider for the new season include a first aid kit and a waterproof cell phone case for safety reasons (and for taking cool pictures while out on the water!)
Make Sure You’re In SUP Shape!
If you’ve had a long layoff it might be a good idea to do a few workouts before heading to the water. If you want to get back into SUP shape and stay in shape while the weather and water warm up, check out this effective workout led by SUP Pro Nikki Greg.
Run through it a few times before hitting the water, you’ll feel confident, you’ll be able to paddle farther, and you’ll be able to have a ton more fun!
Store Your Gear Properly
Of course, the best way to make sure your gear stays in good working order is to store it properly in between use.
Follow these simple guidelines when you’ve determined it’s time to pack in your board for the season.
It’s always best to store your board in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. And store your paddle in a padded bag or case or maybe even in a climate-controlled area like a closet in your house. Make sure your PFD and other gear are also stored in a cool, dry place also out of direct sunlight. And preferably inside away from the elements.
If you have an inflatable PFD, follow these steps to properly wash and dry your board before you roll it up and pack it away for the season.
- Clean your board thoroughly: Before storing your board, it's important to clean it thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated over the season. Use a mild soap and water, and a soft-bristled brush to scrub away any stubborn grime.
- Dry your board completely: Once you've cleaned your board, allow it to air dry completely. Avoid storing your board when it's wet or damp, as this can lead to mold and mildew growth.
- Deflate your board: Before storing your board, make sure to deflate it completely. This will help prevent any damage to the board's seams or valves.
- Roll your board tightly: Once your board is deflated, roll it tightly and secure it with the straps or bag that came with it. This will help prevent any creases or wrinkles from forming.
- Store your board in a cool, dry place: Finally, store your board in a cool, dry place that's free from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Avoid storing your board in an area where it may be exposed to sharp objects or heavy weights.
By taking care of your SUP gear, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable season on the water. Whether you're a seasoned paddler or just starting out, these tips will help you get the most out of your time on the water. So get out there and enjoy the beautiful spring weather!
How To Plan For The Change In Season
The best way to plan for the change in season is to make sure you and your gear are ready!
This means running through how to check every piece to make sure it’s in working order, replacing anything that is not, and getting your body ready to go by jumping into some simple exercise routines.
Of course, if winter is descending upon you, run through how to properly clean and store your gear for the colder months.
With that said, there is one thing that you can do no matter where you are located on the globe…
Plan an ultimate SUP experience abroad! How do you do that? We are glad you asked…
Plan Your In-Season Trip Or Your Off-Season Adventure
Are you itching to take your stand-up paddleboarding adventures to new waters abroad? Planning a trip can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to finding the perfect location and rental options. Luckily, Perfect Paddles has the perfect tool for you – the SUP Search.
Our SUP Search tool allows you to search for SUP destinations all over the world, and filter your search based on your preferred conditions, activities, and amenities. From crystal clear waters in the Caribbean to adventurous river rapids in Europe, we have got you covered.
In addition, we have an advanced calendar of events, special deals on trips around the world, and more!
For those on the East Coast of the United States - this is the perfect time to head to the nation's capital in Washington D.C. to paddle with the cherry blossoms!
To plan your trip to D.C. check out our Washington D.C. Paddling Guide with 4 great launch locations, recommendations for SUP outfitters to contact while there, and a special day trip to Williamsburg where you can hang out with Lori from Paddle On of Williamsburg!
But how can you make the most out of the SUP Search tool when planning a trip abroad? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Know what you’re looking for: Before diving into the search tool, have a clear idea of what type of experience you’re looking for. Do you want calm, flat water for yoga or a more adventurous experience with rapids? Are you looking for a rental shop that offers lessons, or do you want to bring your own gear?
- Consider the location: Take into account the time of year you’ll be traveling, the climate, and accessibility. For example, if you’re traveling in the summer, you might want to avoid locations with a high hurricane risk.
- Read reviews: Once you find a destination and rental shop that suits your needs, take the time to read reviews from previous customers. This will give you an idea of what to expect and help you make an informed decision.
- Book in advance: Don’t wait until the last minute to book your rental or lesson. Many outfitters abroad have limited availability, especially during peak travel seasons, so it’s best to secure your spot in advance.
Using our SUP Search tool can help you find the perfect destination and rental shop for your stand-up paddle boarding adventure abroad. So, start planning your next trip today and let’s get out there!
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