January 21, 2015
by Elaine Campbell, Paddle Board Expert at Pau Hana Surf Spply
Table of content
Paddle boarding is an exciting activity that combines adventure with fitness. However, to keep your stand-up paddleboard (SUP) in prime condition, regular maintenance is crucial. A well-cared-for SUP not only performs better but also lasts longer, saving you money and hassle in the long run. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the top 10 best practices for maintaining and caring for your paddle board, ensuring it stays your loyal companion on many years of adventures.
After every outing, it's essential to wash your paddle board with fresh water. This simple practice helps remove salt, sand, and other residues that can damage the board over time. Every once in a while use a lightly water-mixed cleaning solution, we use Simple Green to keep the paddle board looking and smelling great. This is an especially good idea if you have the sneaking suspicion that your paddle board is starting to smell. Just like old socks, it happens. Wash it with a light water mixture every once in a while.
To prevent rust and ensure smooth operation, certain components of your paddle board require regular lubrication. Once a year, take some basic household oil or WD-40 and lubricate all the metal pieces on your paddle board including the fin hardware in the fin box, the fin tightening part on the side bites, leash cup bars, and any other metal pieces you find on your paddle board. Even though all the metal components on the board should all be marine grade stainless steel (Usually, SAE 304 or SAE 316) and should not rust, it will keep them working well and make sure that the harsh marine environments don’t cause any harm to the metal components on the board. Also, if non-stainless steel metals touch the stainless steel components then there is still a possibility of galvanic corrosion. In all likelihood, you have nothing to worry about, but it's a good idea to do it every year or two with your SUP.
Prolonged exposure to sunlight can be detrimental to your paddle board, leading to fading and delamination. Even though these paddle boards were designed to enjoy “fun in the sun,” it’s important to realize that sand, asphalt, or just being laid about anywhere in the sun is not good for your paddle board. Remember that black asphalt gets much hotter than the current air temperature where you are. According to one researcher, asphalt can get 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) above the air temperature. Just as the sun hurts our skin, it hurts the board and greatly increases the risk of delamination. Plus, some stand-up paddle boards have graphics that will fade over time in the sun, so be wary of them.
The condition of your paddle board is heavily influenced by its storage and usage environment. It's crucial to remain vigilant about the surroundings of your paddle board, especially steering clear of sharp objects. While it may seem straightforward, the simplest precautions are often overlooked, leading to the most frequent and significant damage to your SUP. Common hazards include docks, rocks, the impact of your paddle blade, or even kids jumping on the board with the fin installed on the beach. Accidentally dropping your board on asphalt while unloading it from your car's roof is another potential risk. Although it's impossible to anticipate every hazard, being mindful of your environment is essential in preventing unexpected damage, such as random holes in your board.
Even with the utmost care, dings and holes can still occur on your paddle board. It's advisable to conduct a thorough inspection regularly, ideally after each paddling session. Look for any signs of damage, wear and tear, or any new marks on your board. In the event of significant damage, we recommend seeking a professional surfboard or SUP repair specialist to ensure your board is restored to its original condition. However, if the damage appears minor and you're comfortable with DIY repairs, most stand-up paddle board dings or breaks can be fixed using a small epoxy syringe or epoxy putty, along with some sandpaper. As a temporary measure, covering the affected area with duct tape is essential to prevent water infiltration. Additionally, if your paddle board seems to be getting progressively heavier, it's crucial to perform a comprehensive inspection, including checking the fin boxes, to identify any small pinholes that might be causing water intake.
Learn how to field repair an open ding on a Stand Up Paddle Board with Pau Hana SUP School.
Proper transportation and storage of your paddle board are crucial for preventing damage. For most paddlers who drive to their launch sites with their SUPs (if you're fortunate enough to live by the water, you can skip ahead), it's important to use wide cinch straps, preferably over 2 inches, for securing the board to your vehicle. While ensuring the straps are snug, be careful not to over-tighten them, as excessive pressure can lead to indents or even cracks in your paddle board.
A paddle board leash serves a dual purpose: it's not only a crucial safety accessory but also aids in maintaining your board. Always use a leash when you're out on the water with your paddleboard. This practice is highly recommended, especially in choppy waters, as it prevents your board from drifting away and potentially colliding with rocks, docks, or other debris. For most stand-up paddlers, a 10-foot coiled leash is ideal as it minimizes drag in the water. If you're in need of one, Pau Hana offers a 10-foot Coiled Leash with reinforced components, providing both safety and maintenance benefits.
Vent plugs play a vital role in the maintenance of paddle boards by managing internal pressure and preventing delamination. Virtually every stand-up paddleboard on the market is equipped with a vent plug for this purpose. These plugs allow the enclosed board to 'breathe', ensuring that internal pressure doesn't build up and lead to delamination. The convenience of vent plugs lies in their automatic functionality; once installed in your paddleboard, they start working without any further intervention. There's no need to unscrew them regularly. Simply checking once a year to ensure they are hand-tight is sufficient to keep your paddleboard in optimal condition.
Investing in a paddle board bag is a straightforward and effective way to protect your board. These bags offer protection against common dings and scratches, and they also simplify the process of transporting your board to the water. Additionally, most paddle board bags feature a metallic side, which is particularly useful if the board is going to be exposed to sunlight or stored on top of your car, as it helps to reflect the sun's rays and minimize heat absorption.
Storing your SUP in a location with consistent temperature and away from heat sources is crucial. Many paddle board owners report delamination issues after retrieving their boards from garages, especially after the winter season. This often happens when the board is stored near a heater, causing the fiberglass to separate from the EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) foam core due to heat exposure. Besides maintaining a stable temperature, it's also essential to protect your board from pressure dings. Make sure your paddle board isn’t resting on any sharp or small objects that could create indentations or potentially break the board, especially under additional weight. This dual focus on temperature stability and careful placement will help preserve the condition and integrity of your paddle board.
In addition to routine cleaning, it's beneficial to use specialized SUP cleaners. These products are formulated to not only effectively remove tough stains and salt deposits but also to protect the material of your board. To further extend the longevity and enhance the performance of your paddle board, consider integrating additional maintenance practices:
Conducting a detailed inspection of your paddle board periodically can reveal hidden issues. Pay special attention to the seams, the deck pad, and the fin box. Look for any signs of wear, loose parts, or potential water ingress areas.
Consider upgrading certain parts of your paddle board for enhanced performance and durability. This could include investing in higher-quality fins, more durable leash strings, or stronger deck pads.
Ensuring your paddle board is well-balanced is crucial for optimal performance. Check the alignment of fins and any mounted accessories to ensure they are properly positioned and secure.
Adapt your maintenance routine according to the environment you frequently paddle in. For instance, saltwater requires more rigorous cleaning to prevent corrosion, while freshwater environments might call for more frequent checks for organic matter buildup.
If you paddle in extreme temperatures, condition your board accordingly. For cold environments, consider using a board bag with thermal protection, and in hot climates, use reflective covers to protect against heat damage.
Even if you’re diligent with maintenance, having a professional check your paddle board annually can be beneficial. They can spot potential problems that might be missed and can offer expert advice on care.
For experienced paddlers, customizing the board to suit individual needs can enhance the paddling experience. This might include adding additional grip areas, customizing the board’s design, or tweaking the shape of the fin for better performance.
Often overlooked, the paddle is an essential part of your equipment. Regularly inspect your paddle for damage, ensure it is properly adjusted, and consider upgrading to a higher-quality paddle for a better experience.
Improving how you store your paddle board can significantly impact its lifespan. Consider using wall racks that distribute weight evenly or suspended storage systems that reduce pressure on any single point of the board.
By incorporating these advanced maintenance tips, you'll not only extend the life of your paddle board but also enhance your paddling experience. Regular care and occasional professional advice will keep your SUP in top condition, ready for your next adventure on the water.
Ideally, after every use. Regular cleaning helps prevent build-up of salt, sand, and other residues.
Store it in a cool, shaded place and consider using a UV-protective cover or bag.
Yes, for minor repairs, DIY methods like epoxy putty can be effective. For major damage, seek professional help.
Very important. It prevents your board from drifting and hitting hard surfaces, which can cause damage.
Inspect it thoroughly for any holes or water ingress, especially around the fin boxes.
Yes, using biodegradable cleaning products and minimizing water usage are some eco-friendly practices.