What do you need to start stand up paddle boarding? We take a look at the paddle board gear you absolutely do need, the ‘nice to haves’ and what is available if you decide it’s definitely for you and you become a regular paddle boarder.
A Paddle Board
First and foremost you are going to need a board! The board you choose will depend on new you are to this pastime, who will use it, where you will use it and more. See our guide to choosing a paddle board to discover more. Most come with pretty much everything you need to get started however you may choose to buy additional accessories and equipment to enhance the experience.
A Paddle Board Pump
Included with most all round paddle boards now are manual pumps. Now, they do take about ten minutes from start to finish to fully inflate the board and there are quicker ways. We still use a manual pump most of the time because it gives us a great upper body workout, especially towards the end when you are almost fully inflated, but you may prefer to buy a pump that connects to the car or an electric pump to make life easier.
Bear in mind, if you are going to charge from your car, you will be need to be able to get in the water pretty close by – it’s quite an awkward thing to carry if you have to go too far to launch.
There are various types of pumps available. you can buy electric pumps that connect to the car or rechargable battery pumps too. You can also buy manual pumps separately to the board if you need a replacement or want to try something different.
A pair of water shoes is really handy in most situations. if you don’t like the thought of your feet touching the bottom of a river for example, or you want to protect your feet from pebbles and rocks at the beach, they are an inexpensive way to protect your feet and save your winces as your feet touch the bottom.
While many paddle boards come with a waterproof bag, you might decide that you want a tow bag to keep more gear in. If you are going off adventuring and want to keep your phone, keys, a towel, a change of clothes etc. with you, these tow bags (quite often used by swimmers to be seen), are a fantastic way to keep everything clean and dry. Simply pop your stuff in, roll the top over and then inflate. Sit it on the back of your paddle board. If you fall in, the bag will float.
A Wet Suit
In the summer you will see people on their boards wearing all kinds of gear. We rarely get wet so often just choose a vest top and shorts or even a bikini/swim shorts if at the beach. As the seasons change though, you might find that you want to wear something a bit warmer. If you are likely to fall in and get wet, a wetsuit may be a good investment. Again, it depends how seriously you take the hobby and whether you will want to partake in some fresh water swimming too.
These are all suggestions and not absolute musts. There are all sorts of paddle board gear and accessories you can choose. From waterproof phone cases that hang around your neck to floating key rings, there are some you will find more useful than others.