Starting out standup paddleboarding, you don’t need anything other than the board, a paddle, and a leash to head out and enjoy the session.
I started out that way as a standup paddle minimalist, but as I spent more time on the water and met more friends in the sport, I realized the benefits of bringing along some extra gear to enhance the experience.
Now, I think some of my favorite standup paddleboarding memories would have been impossible if I hadn’t brought along a specific accessory.
Here are some of the standup paddleboard accessories I can’t imagine life without.
1. Carrying Strap
Getting your standup paddleboard to the water isn’t as easy as it is with a surfboard. Unless you have exceptionally long arms, standup paddleboards are too wide to hold under your arm by the rail, which is why you need a carrying strap.
There are lots of different carrying strap options to choose from, but I like the Gilisports model which is comfortable on the shoulder and durable enough to last for years.
2. Rash Guard
When you’re out on the water there is a lot of reflected light from every direction. The good news is that you’ll get a great all-around tan. The bad news is that is really easy to get a sunburn.
Sunscreen is important for your face, ears, neck, and feet, but my personal favorite way to protect myself from the sun is with a rashguard.
A rashguard is made to get wet, so it doesn’t get bunchy and clumpy like a loose T-shirt, or get too hot, and the coverage is both comfortable and protective against the sun.
You can find rash guards from most swimwear companies. In my personal experience, some of the best rash guards I’ve seen are from Roxy for women, and Quiksilver for men. They are super comfortable, dry quickly, and come in some great styles and designs.
3. Waterproof Pouch
For longer sessions, going into the dry bag every time you want to get a snack or to use your phone can be a hassle. Instead, I like to wear a waterproof pouch, so I have access to the items that I need most even while I’m paddling.
Wearing a waterproof waist pouch is an easy way to keep your most important gear close, while also keeping it safe in the event you take a plunge.
For short sessions, a waterproof waist pouch can even be a replacement for a dry bag.
The Yeti Sidekick dry bag looks a lot more stylish than the other fanny pack style waist bags out there, and will reliably keep your stuff dry, using internal magnets.
Personal flotation devices are a must, even for people who are good swimmers.
It’s never much fun to think about worst-case scenarios, but it’s a bad idea to go without a PDF for any long session, or anywhere with strong currents. You might be a great swimmer, but if the board is compromised you can’t keep yourself afloat forever.
Hope for the best, but plan for the worst, I say. Get yourself a quality PFD that you can trust.
My all-time favorite PFD for standup paddleboarding is the Astral V-Eight. It’s the world’s first breathable PFD, so you’ll sweat less and enjoy your time more.
5. SUP Leash
A leash is a standard accessory you always want to have while standup paddling. It anchors you to your board so that you don’t lose it if you fall.
It’s easy to find all kinds of different leashes. I focus more on the cuff than the leash, since most leashes are perfectly adequate and aren’t put under a lot of stress. You want something that will fit comfortably.
I like the 10′ coiled leash by Own the Wave. It has a padded neoprene cuff that feels great on my ankle and never causes chafing, and it’s a reliable leash that doesn’t drag in the water.
6. SUP Floating Sunglasses
I don’t know about you, but the reflective surface of the water gives me a headache if I don’t have my sunglasses. I need to have them while I’m out there.
I’m also definitely not ready to lose them if – when – I end up going over the rail.
That’s why I use floating sunglasses. You can get some really high-quality frames and lenses that are unsinkable, which makes them one less thing to think about.
Some of the best models come from Maivnz, with sunglasses that are stylish, polarized and unsinkable.
7. SUP Deck bag
A deck bag is perfect for longer journeys. Most deck bags require fasten points, and can provide lots of storage for snacks, drinks, sports gear, keys, phones and anything else you want to bring with you.
Some are essentially dry bags that you can attach to the deck. Others have a waterproof insert or a waterproof compartment, and others aren’t waterproof at all – so think about what you want to keep on the deck before you choose an option.
The Sea to Summit SUP Deck Bag is easy to access, waterproof and made from durable, heavy-duty material that won’t tear.
8. Dry Bag
I consider a dry bag to be an essential item for any standup paddler who wants to go beyond quick session.
A dry bag allows you to bring things with you that you’d otherwise need to leave on shore – and you want those things! Think about your phone, dry clothes, a laptop, keys, your passport, and anything else you really don’t want soaking wet.
You can always use another accessory like a deck bag, a waterproof backpack, or dry waist-pouch to keep these kinds of items in, but a standard dry bag is a perfect all-purpse accessory that you can easily carry with you when you want to, leave on the deck while you’re paddling, or sling over your shoulder.
I like a dry bag that is easy to handle, and that I can be 100% certain will keep everything dry. I love the Osprey Ultralight Dry Bag because it’s basically a waterproof backpack that you can wear or leave on the deck with total confidence.
I would say that coolers are great for parties and hanging out with friends – and they are – but the truth is that coolers are pretty great for everyone, especially when you want a cold drink of water or to keep your lunch from melting.
When you think “cooler” you might imagine something big and bulky, but the ideal cooler for a standup paddleboard is as small as possible while still meeting your requirements, especially since it will usually be sharing deck space with a dry bag and other accessories.
The Yeti Roadie 24 is an iconic and reliable tiny cooler that you can count on to keep up to 18 cans or several bottles of wine cold for days at a time. It looks great, does a great job, and doesn’t take up too much space on the deck.
10. SUP Anchor
Your standup paddleboard will drift as long as you’re not actively resisting the natural currents in the water, which is why it’s a good idea to keep an anchor onboard for any time you want to take a swim, dive, do yoga, fish, or just relax without paddling for a while.
Standup paddle anchors aren’t that heavy, and are very convenient to take with you and store while paddling. Most will fold up for easy storage, and don’t weigh that much.
I use the iRocker SUP anchor, which folds easily, hooks easily onto the sea floor, and has kept me stationary while doing yoga, fishing, or relaxing for a while in the sun.
11. Storage Rack
It’s not very convenient to find a place to store a standup paddleboard, but a storage rack helps a lot.
A storage rack helps you protect and preserve your standup paddleboard when you’re not using it. If you have multiple boards, it’s pretty much essential.
Store Your Board make great storage racks for all kinds of spaces in basements, garages, and outdoors.
12. Roof Rack
Transporting your standup paddleboard to the beach is easy when you can strap it onto a roof rack.
When it comes to finding the right one, the make and model of your car is just as important as the standup paddleboard you use. You need to be able to install it (or have it installed) on your car safely, and it must be dimensionally big enough. Most roof racks meet those restrictions.
The Thule SUP taxi XT is easy to use, reliable, and made from durable materials.
13. Boat Rack
If you’re on a sailboat or powerboat and using a standup paddleboard to explore and enjoy the area, a boat rack is essential.
The marine equivalent of a storage rack, a boat rack helps you store your boards while you’re under motion on a boat.
In the past it might have been necessary to commission customer railwork to get a proper standup paddleboard. Thankfully now there are lots of options available, including racks that can attach to nearly every kind of watercraft.
As with a roof rack, consider the boat as well as the board.
The Krypt Towers Rail Mounted Storage Rack can be mounted on most boat rails, which makes it a convenient choice. These racks are made from marine grade aluminum to withstand salt water, and padding to protect your board.
14. Watertight Phone Case
This is an insurance policy that is worth it, in my opinion.
I like to have my phone with me when I’m standup paddleboarding – for safety, as well to take photos and keep in touch.
In the past, I kept my phone in the dry bag most of the time and only took it out when I needed it. That was a pretty functional solution, but it made it pretty stressful to handle the phone. I knew I was distracted while texting or taking a picture, and I knew that if I made any mistake I could potentially fall into the water – and lose the phone.
I didn’t really enjoy the psychological pressure, which is why I got a watertight phone case.
When you know that in the worst-case scenario your phone won’t be ruined, you can relax, and keep your phone close at hand when you want to.
The Vansky floatable waterproof phone case is waterproof, and it floats so that if it slips out of your hands you don’t need to go diving for it.
15. Cell Phone Holder
A cell phone holder isn’t really an essential accessory, but I honestly recommend it for so many reasons. You can take video with your phone when it’s in a holder, you can facetime, or you can just talk and text without worrying that you’ll lose the phone over the side.
This won’t necessarily protect your phone from the water, since the board could be splashed or overturned, but it makes it a lot easier to use your phone without your hands.
I primarily use my cell phone holder when I’m kayaking with my standup paddle. I’ll occasionally take video while I’m standing up, but I love to have it as a kind of dashboard when I’m seated and low to the deck, and it’s easily within reach.
The SUP cell phone holder from iRocker is really easy to fix to the deck, and can accommodate most phones.
16. Cup Holder
A cup holder is essential.
Unfortunately, paddling takes two hands.
If you’re like me and you enjoy a cold beverage while out on the water and you don’t like to stop all the time, a cup holder can keep your drink safe while you’re paddling.
I don’t get too complicated with this: I use the SUP buddy cup holders, that easily suction to the deck so you can move them around.
17. GoPro Camera
Taking photos and videos while standup paddling is one of the most fun part of the sport for me.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy the exercise, but exploring new areas and seeing places that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to see tops the list of the benefits of standup paddle for me.
With a GoPro, you can record these interesting moments and experiences so you can relive them later or share them with friends.
If you’re getting a GoPro for standup paddleboarding, you’ll want the board attachment so that you can fix it to the deck.
There are several generations of GoPros, so you might be able to find a used one cheap or an older model on clearance, but take a look at the newer models if you are interested in serious video making. GoPros have improved vastly in quality over the years without increasing much in cost.
18. SUP lock
Eventually, you’ll need a lock to keep your board safe while you get something to eat or go to the bathroom.
With a standup paddle lock, you can secure your board to a tree, rock, car, or any structure, pretty much. That you can leave behind to answer the call of nature without worrying about it the entire time.
I rely on the DocksLocks security system, which has kept me safe so far.
19. Fishing Rod Holder
Fishing becomes a joy when you have a fishing rod holder on a standup paddleboard.
With a rod holder, you can let go while waiting for a bite, and not worry about losing your expensive fishing rod.
The fishing rod holder from Sea Sucker is easily suctioned to anywhere that is convenient on deck, and can be trusted not to let go of the rod.
20. Air Remover
Anyone with an inflatable standup paddleboard knows that deflating them can be as difficult as inflating them.
Removing air is also when inflatable boards are most likely to be damaged.
An air-remover allows you to quickly and effortlessly deflate an inflatable standup paddle so that it’s ready for storage.
The silent air-remover from Red equipment does this quickly and quietly, which is incredible after you’ve deflated a couple of boards by hand.
21. Lightweight Paddles
If you’re looking to up your game as a standup paddler, go further, and enjoy your sessions more, the first accessory you should replace are your paddles.
Aluminum paddles are cheap and standard, but they’re heavier than they need to be and they can wear you out. If you’re standup paddling for pleasure rather than exercise, a heavier paddle just isn’t helping you.
Fiberglass paddles are lighter weight and definitely make paddling easier – but they are prone to getting scuffed, scratched, cracked, and broken. They are essentially coated with glass.
A carbon fibre paddle is a little bit more expensive, but is both incredibly lightweight and incredibly durable. It should take you far and last a long time.
The best paddles I’ve ever used, by far, have been the Blackfish carbon fibre paddles. They’re extremely lightweight, tough, and they generate lots of speed.
22. Waterproof Speaker
Bringing along your favorite music can turn a silent standup paddleboard session into a party.
A waterproof speaker has other uses too. You can bring mood music for standup paddle yoga, or use Bluetooth to connect it to your phone for notifications.
The Treblab HD77 is a waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker with great bass.
23. LED lights
Standup paddling at night is an eerie and beautiful experience. If you have never tried it, you owe it to yourself to experience standup paddling underneath the stars.
However, in order to be safe (and meet legal requirements in some areas) you need to attach lights to your standup paddleboard so that other watercraft can see and avoid you.
LED lights are both safe and extremely cool. Standup paddleboarding at night with LED lights feels like piloting a spaceship through a galaxy.
I use the Aurora Explorer from SUBMRG, which has strong lights underneath the board and a battery that lasts 4-6 hours.
24. Landing Mat
To protect your inflatable standup paddleboard, you should place it on a landing mat rather a hard surface. Placing a board directly on hard or abrasive surfaces like sand, rocks, cement, or asphalt can cause the surface to degrade and eventually puncture.
The best landing mats are water-resistant and easy to store. Any of them will protect your board, so choose a color and design you like and don’t worry too much about materials.
I use the Nixy Sports landing mat, which looks great and keeps my board safe.
25. Scuff Eraser
Regularly cleaning your standup paddleboard is essential to protecting it in the long run.
Water and a little bit of soap will do the job in most cases, but standup paddleboards are easily scuffed and carry scuff marks for weeks or months if they are not cleaned properly.
I like to keep my boards clean with board cleaner, and then use iRocker scuff eraser, which has minimal harsh chemicals, to protect my hands, the board, and the ocean.