So, you’ve buckled down and bought a SUP. It’s awesome, but you want it to keep staying awesome for as long as possible. Here is a list of 10 often missed, but simple ways to care for your stand-up paddleboard to ensure that it stays looking and riding great for years and years. Most stand-up paddleboards are durable enough assuming you are not ramming them into docks or other boards or playing drums on the board. But, like anything that moves and is exposed to the elements, your board may need a bit of care and maintenance every once in a while to ensure that it keeps its good looks, performance, and usability.
Wash off your paddleboard with fresh water after every use. Every once in a while use a lightly water-mixed cleaning solution, we use Simple Green to keep the paddleboard looking and smelling great. This is an especially good idea if you have the sneaking suspicion that your paddleboard is starting to smell. Just like old socks, it happens. Wash it with a light water mixture every once in a while..
Once a year, take some basic household oil or WD-40 and lubricate all the metal pieces on your paddleboard 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 paddleboard. 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.
Even though these paddleboards 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 paddleboard. 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 paddleboards have graphics that will fade over time in the sun, so be wary of them.
Be aware of your paddleboard and the environment that is around it and avoid anything that is potentially sharp. This seems like a simple one, but it is the most simple things that are the most common and cause the most damage to your SUP. Docks, rocks, your paddle blade hitting your board, kids jumping on your board with the fin installed on the beach, or simply dropping your paddleboard on the asphalt when you are taking it off the top of your car are all things to be wary of. Yes, there are always things that you will miss, but just being aware of your surrounding is a key to making sure that you don’t find a random hole in your board.
Speaking of dings or holes in your SUP, regularly (ideally after every paddle) inspect your paddleboard for any holes, damage, wear, and tear, or anything new that your paddleboard seems to have on it. If you do have a problem we recommend taking the paddleboard to a professional surfboard or SUP repair person if it is severe or you want your board to look like new after it is repaired. If you think it is minor ding, or are a DIY type of person then most stand-up paddleboard dings or breaks can be repaired with a small epoxy syringe or epoxy putty and some sandpaper. Please make sure to at least put some duct tape over the exposed area to make sure that the paddleboard does not take on water. Also, as a side note, if your paddleboard seems to be getting heavier and heavier then it is a good idea to do a completely thorough inspection of your paddleboard including fin boxes to make sure that you don’t have a small pinhole that is taking in water.
If you are like most people you probably drive to your launching site with your SUP. If you happen to be lucky enough to live on the water then go on to the next paragraph. Be sure to use large cinch straps, over 2″ wide, while tying down your SUP to your vehicle. Make sure that the straps are tight, but avoid over-tightening because this alone can cause lines or even cracks in your paddleboard.
Use a leash while out on the water with your paddleboard. While not only this is extremely recommended if there is any sort of chop in the water in which you are paddling, but this will also help you ensure your paddleboard doesn’t end up slamming up against rocks on the shore or docks, or any other debris in the water. Generally, for most stand-up paddlers, we recommend a 10′ coiled leash so it doesn’t drag in the water too much and increase drag. Pau Hana offers a 10′ Coiled Leash with reinforced components if you need one.
I don’t think that there’s a stand-up paddleboard on the market that doesn’t have one of these. Vent plugs help prevent delamination by allowing the enclosed board to breathe and not build up pressure. That being said, the great things about vent plugs are that assuming that they are installed in your paddleboard then they are already working. There’s no need to ever unscrew them and as long as you make sure once a year that they are hand tight then you are in good shape.
It’s that simple. It protects your board from common dings and scratches and not to mention it makes it easier to move the board around and carry it to the water. Most paddleboard bags will also come with a metallic side that if the paddleboard is going to be left out in the sun or on top of your car it will.
Store your SUP in a location that does not have high-temperature fluctuations and is not near any heat source. So many times we talk to people who after they pull out their paddleboard from their garage after a cold winter find that their paddleboard has delaminated because it was next to the heater. Delamination occurs when heat causes the fiberglass of the paddleboard to separate from the EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) foam core. Also, ensure that your paddleboard does not get any pressure dings by making sure that the paddleboard is not resting on any sharp or small surface area items that may cause lines or break the board if things are put on top of the paddleboard.
Keep in mind that these are more guidelines and that like everything, eventually life will happen to your stand-up paddleboard. As long as you follow these guidelines then you should be extending the life of your stand-up paddleboard. If you follow these guidelines then your board should stay looking better and maintain its value over years.