For the vast majority of stand up paddle board riders around the country, as soon as summer hits it is time to start getting those paddle boards out. It’s the time of year when we’re able to immerse ourselves in nature and reap the benefits of a healthier, happier life while doing what we love. But in order to find your flow and allow your body and mind to unwind the natural way, you’re going to need to get your paddle gear ready to ride.
If your paddle board gear has been in storage for months, now is the time to make sure everything is still where you think you left it and in working order. You don’t want to head to your favorite beach, lake, reservoir, or river for your first paddle of the year to find a ding in your board or discover that you’re missing a tiny essential like a paddle clamp or fin screw.
1. Inspect Your Board
Paddle boards almost never suffer damage in the water. It’s transportation and storage where accidents are most likely to occur. If your rigid paddle board has been in storage for the winter, it’s a good idea to pull it out now and inspect it for any surprises. Give your board a careful visual check from top to bottom in a well-lit area. Using your hands, feel up and down the rails to make sure your board didn’t get bumped by any hard objects during the off-season.
If you have an iSUP, inflate it to its recommended 13 to 17 PSI to make sure it’s airtight and you have all your gear to get out on the water. If you’re missing any pieces or needed to fix and issues now is the time to do so.
2. Clean Your Board
There’s no easier way to get stoked on your first ride of the season than getting your board sparkling clean. Regardless of the type of board you own, you’ll want to clean it with warm water, a gentle soap or Simple Green, and a soft brush. Scrub your board well, paying special attention to your fin boxes and vent plugs to make sure there’s no sand, salt or dirt buildup. Rinse it off with fresh water and be sure to dry your board completely before placing it back in its storage bag.
3. Gather Your Paddle Boarding Essentials
Check your gear for missing parts. Small items like fin screws and adjustable paddle clamps can get lost easily in the off-season, especially if you’ve been moving them around in your garage all winter. Gather the following paddling essentials and check to make sure they’re in proper working order:
- Personal Flotation Device
- Roof Rack Pads & Straps for Rigid Boards
- Pump and Accessories for iSUPs
- Reef-Safe Sunscreen
- Paddling Attire
4. Get Your Body Ready
If it’s been a few months since you’ve hopped on a paddle board, start with some simple stretching exercises to increase your mobility and prepare your body for the water. A great pre-paddle routine will get your blood flowing to the right muscle groups and loosen your joints. Exercises like squats, standing glute squeezes, ankle rotations, lunges, planking, and wide-leg twists will all help prepare your body for paddling. Begin practicing your pre-paddle board warm-up a couple of weeks before SUP season by following our complete guide to stand up paddle board warm-ups and stretches. Your body will thank you for the effort on your first paddle of the new year.
5. Plan Your Adventure
While your local body of water might be an excellent place to paddle during SUP season, consider treating yourself to something special. The easiest way to make your first paddle board ride of the season a trip to remember is to plan an amazing SUP adventure. It’s as easy as picking an epic SUP destination, inviting a few of your closest friends, and booking a hotel, campsite, or Airbnb for the weekend. Since you already got your board clean and collected your gear as part of your Summer SUP Season Checklist, all that’s left to do is enjoy your trip and share your beautiful adventure.