Stand up paddle board: Your first time or two out, you may want to rent gear or borrow from a friend. After that, if you decide you love to SUP and want to do more of it, consider buying your own. Your board choice is determined by a combination of paddler weight and skill, your intended use and the local conditions. Different boards excel at different disciplines, such as recreational paddling, surfing, touring, racing and SUP yoga. If you’re renting, the staff at the rental shop will help guide your choice. To learn more about boards, see Stand Up Paddle Boards: How to Choose.
Paddle: A SUP paddle looks a bit like a stretched-out canoe paddle with a tear-drop-shaped blade that angles forward for maximum paddling efficiency. The correct length paddle will reach up to your wrist when you stand the paddle up in front of you and raise your arm above your head. Read more about choosing and sizing paddles in our article, SUP Paddles: How to Choose.
PFD (Personal Flotation Device): The U.S. Coast Guard classifies stand up paddle boards as vessels, so if you’re paddling outside a surf or swimming area, you have to have a PFD on board. Adults don’t have to wear the PFD, but children must. Check your state’s regulations for age requirements. You can learn how to pick the right PFD for you in our article, PFDs: How to Choose.
Safety whistle and light: The Coast Guard also requires that you carry a safety whistle to warn other boaters. If you expect to be out after sunset, be sure to have a light on board.
stand up paddle board (sup) gear accessories
Proper clothing: During the summer months on a warm body of water, most people choose to wear some combination of a swimsuit, board shorts, and a short- or long-sleeved rash guard for sun protection. For cool conditions where hypothermia is a concern, wear a wetsuit or dry suit.
Leash: Typically sold separately, a leash tethers your SUP to you, keeping it close by if you fall off. Your SUP is a large flotation device, so being attached to it can be important for your safety. There are leashes designed specifically for surf, flatwater and rivers; be sure to purchase the correct one for your intended use.
Sun protection: Wear sunscreen, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing.
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