The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Paddle Boarding

Take Your SUP Advice From The Experts

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but all advice does not have a happy ending. While there is a generous amount of good advice being passed on in the SUP community every day, there is an equal amount of bad SUP advice just around the river bend. It’s entirely up to you to isolate the good advice from the bad, but how? Take it from the SUP experts.

At ISLE, we’ve heard our fair share of bad paddle board tips over the last 15 years in business. Some of this bad advice should be burned to the ground, however, there’s some advice about paddle boarding that can easily be misunderstood. So I forgive you if you were holding your paddle the wrong way the entire summer or inflating your iSUP to the wrong PSI.

Below, I list the worst paddle board advice the ISLE team has ever encountered. Take this awful advice and learn a thing or two about proper technique, safety, paddle board care, and more. If you end up a victim to any of the bad advice below, feel free to blame your friends, loved ones or the old guy at your local spot who thinks he’s a SUP god.

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The 5 Worst Pieces Of Advice About Paddle Boarding

1. The Worst Advice About SUP Safety 

‘Too cool for school Steve’ may have told you that leashes and PFDs (life jackets) are lame and for beginners only. However, Steve must have forgotten that a leash and PFD will save your life in an unlikely situation and they’re required by law in many bodies of water.

The U.S Coast Guard (USCG) requires that you must always wear a leash and have a USCG-approved PFD with you while paddle boarding. In the unlikely chance you fall off your SUP, a leash and PFD can literally save you from drowning. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been paddle boarding for over 10 years, water conditions can change in a heartbeat and become dangerous for even the most elite paddlers. 

Keep in mind that children 12 years or younger always need to wear a USCG-approved PFD while paddle boarding. Although, if you’re SUP surfing, you do not need to have a PFD with you

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2. The Worst Advice About How To Hold Your Paddle 

One of the most common SUP mistakes people make while paddle boarding is using the wrong side of their paddle’s blade to generate speed. 

Your paddle’s blade should never be bent toward you when paddling. Many people think this is the correct way to face their paddle’s blade because it seems as if you’re scooping the water and enabling you to go faster. However, this is not the case. Paddling with your blade bent toward you will give you less control of your SUP and will actually hurt your paddling efficiency, making you work much harder for the same movement in the water.

Your SUP paddle’s blade needs to always be bent away from you for the best paddle stroke. This side of your paddle’s blade will provide you with optimal speed and control. An easy way to remember this on ISLE SUP paddles is to make sure that the ISLE logo is always facing toward the nose of your stand up paddle board.

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3. The Worst Advice About Inflating Your Inflatable SUP

I hear time and time again that it is not necessary to inflate your inflatable SUP to the suggested PSI in the instruction manual. Well, there’s a good reason why all ISLE Inflatable Paddle Boards have a label on the tail clearly stating that you should inflate your iSUP between 13-17 PSI. This range of PSI will offer you the best performance and rigidity out of your inflatable SUP. 

Inflating your SUP anywhere below 12 PSI will slow down your ride significantly. Keep in mind, your body weight and the gear you bring on board will also determine how much air you want to pump into your SUP.

For example: If you are taking your fishing setup or other paddle gear on your Sportsman Inflatable SUP, you should probably inflate your SUP to the max to help support the extra weight.

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4. The Worst Advice About Transporting Your SUP On Roof Racks

More often than not, I see people driving on the road with their epoxy SUP positioned incorrectly on their car’s roof racks. Believe it or not, incorrectly positioning your SUP on your car’s roof rack can be extremely dangerous to the safety of others on the road. 

Such a simple mistake increases the chances of your SUP flying off the roof of your car, damaging your board, and putting others’ lives in jeopardy. Another way to increase the chances of your SUP flying off your roof is strapping your paddle board on your roof rack the wrong way. 

best inflatable sups

Positioning your paddle board correctly on your car’s roof rack is simple. Position your paddle board deck down on your car’s roof racks with your fin(s) facing up. Make sure your paddle board’s tail is above your windshield and its nose is closest your trunk.

There are two good reasons why this is the best way to transport your paddle board on your car’s roof:

Reason 1: Placing your paddle board’s deck face down will exert pressure down on your SUP when driving and will make it much more secure to your roof racks. You will also notice that your paddle board’s rockers (curve) will naturally fit with the surface of your car’s roof.

Reason 2: Your fin(s) placed near your car’s windshield will act as a barricade to stop your SUP from slipping under the front strap.

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5. The Worst Advice About Paddle Board Care

There are many best practices for keeping your stand up paddle board looking brand new after years of ownership. However, if you leave your paddle board in the sun during those long days at the lake or in your backyard, the sun will begin to damage your epoxy or inflatable SUP. 

Prolonged sun exposure can de-laminate epoxy SUPs and can blow seams on an inflatable SUP. In addition, the sun can fade the colors on your paddle board if you leave it out baking in the sun for too long. 

*Taking your paddle board out on a beautiful sunny day will not affect the integrity of your SUP. The rules above only apply if you’re leaving your SUP out in the sun on land. 

A great way to combat direct sunlight to your paddle board is to use a day bag, UV SUP sock or find a shady place to rest your SUP. These two SUP accessories cover your entire paddle board and protect it from any outside elements including the sun.

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Wrapping Up

  1. It’s always a good idea to wear your leash when using your stand up paddle board. If you’re paddling outside of a swim zone or you’re under the age of 12, you’ll need to wear your PFD at all times.
  2. When you put your paddle in the water, make sure the blade is bent away from you for the most efficient stroke.
  3. Inflate your paddle board to the proper PSI and go to the max range if you’re carrying extra gear on your board.
  4. Transport your board on your roof rack with the fin facing toward the front of your car and pointing to the sky.
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Posted in Paddle Board Lifestyle
Douglas Robichaud - Doug is a content writer at ISLE Surf & SUP who has been surfing and paddle boarding for over 10 years. With a degree in English/Journalism, Doug has been an outdoor adventure content writer for over four years. Since joining the ISLE team, he has become a paddle board expert in all topics ranging from products, basic tutorials, tips and tricks, SUP safety, and new trends.