So, you’ve buckled down and bought an 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 you stand up paddle board to ensure that it stays looking and riding great for years and years. Most stand up paddle boards 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 and awhile to ensure that it keeps its good looks, performance, and usability.
Wash off your board 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 board looking and actually smelling great. This is an especially good idea if you have the sneaking suspicion that your board is starting to smell. Just like old socks, it happens. Wash it with light water mixture every once in awhile.
2. Lubrication & Rust Prevention
Once a year, take some basic household oil or WD-40 and lubricate all the metal pieces on your board including the fin hardware in the fin box, the fin tightening bit on the side bites, leash cup bars and any other pieces you find on your 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 for galvanic corrosion. In all likelihood, you have nothing to worry about, but its a good idea to do every year or two with your SUP.
3. Board In The Sun
Even though these boards were meant 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 board. Remember that black asphalt gets much hotter then the air temperature of where its at. According to one researcher, asphalt can get 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsisus) above the air temperature. Just as the sun hurts our skin, it hurts the board and greatly increases the risk of a delamination. Plus, some stand up paddle boards have graphics that will fade over time in the sun so be wary of it.
4. Be Aware of Your Board & Its Surroundings
Be aware of your board 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 board 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 make sure that you don’t find a random hole in your board.
5. Holes or Dings
Speaking of dings or holes in your SUP, regularly (ideally after every paddle) inspect your board for any holes, damage, ware and tear, or anything new that your board seems to have on it. If you do have a problem we recommend taking the board 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 paddle board dings or breaks can be repaired with a small epoxy syringe or epoxy putty and some sand paper. Please make sure to at least put some packing tap over the exposed area to make sure that the board does not take on water. Also, as a side note, if your board seems to be getting heavier and heavier then it is a good idea to do a completely thorough inspection of your board including fin boxes to make sure that you don’t have a small pin hole that is taking in water.
6. Tying Down Your Board
If you are like most people and must 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 board.
7. Use a Leash
Use a leash while out on the water with your board. 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 board doesn’t end up slamming up against rocks on the shore or a 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 are in need of one.
8. Vent Plug
I don’t think that there’s a stand up paddle board on the market that doesn’t have one of these. Vent plugs help prevent delamination by allowing the enclosed board to breath and not build up pressure. That being said, the great things about vent plugs are that assuming that they are installed in your board 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.
9. Buy & Use a Board Bag.
It’s that simple. It protects your board from common dings and scratches and not to mention it actually makes it easier to move the board around and carry it to the water. Most board bags will also come with a metallic side that if the board is going to be left out on 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 board from their garage after a cold winter they find that their board has delaminated because it was next to the heater. Delamination occurs when heat causes the fiberglass of the board to separate from the EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) foam core. Also, insure that your board does not get any pressure dings by making sure that the board 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 board.
Keep in mind that these are really more of guidelines and that like everything, eventually life will happen to your stand up paddle board. As long as you follow these guidelines then you should be extending the life of your stand up paddle board. If you follow these guidelines then your board should stay looking better and maintain its value over years.