One of the most appealing things about stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is its simplicity. All you need is a calm body of water and a bit of free time and you’re freely exploring The Great Outdoors from a front-row seat on your board.
While SUP really is as simple as grabbing your favorite board and launching it into the water, there are some ways to enhance the experience even further. It certainly can’t hurt to level-up your paddle boarding game, right? Adding a few SUP accessories to your gear collection will help you do just that.
The best SUP accessories for every paddler
From devices that make life a little easier for you to those that are just plain cool and others that could literally save your life, there’s a vast range of SUP accessories out there. It can be a bit overwhelming determining which ones are actually useful, so we’ve compiled this guide of our favorite SUP accessories:
1. SUP Carry Strap
For all the awesome things you can say about paddleboards, they’re flat-out awkward to carry. There’s no beating around the bush here; they’re big and long, which makes it a less-than-graceful task, even in the best conditions.
Fortunately, that’s exactly why SUP accessories like the SUP carry strap were created. Designed with a universal fit for a wide range of both people and paddleboards, the SUP-Now paddleboard carrier/storage sling allows you to easily carry your SUP hands-free. The highly adjustable strap features a comfortable neoprene shoulder pad and two heavy-duty velcro straps that hold your paddle in place.
Pros/Highly adjustable, this SUP carry strap accommodates everything from large boards to smaller kayaks. We also love the integrated paddle holders
Bottom Line/If you’re looking for a solution to make carrying your SUP or kayak easier, this SUP carry strap is a no-brainer
2. SUP Sock Board Cover
You’ve figured out how to transport your SUP to the water, how to store it at home, and how to carry it. But what about actually protecting it? This is where a SUP sock, also called a board cover, comes into play.
SUP socks like this VAMO model with 4-way stretch slip easily onto your board and have a close fit, much like a glove (or in this case, sock). They protect your paddleboard from discoloration and scratches, plus keep it substantially cooler. Think about it: All that time your board spends in the sun can’t possibly be good for it. This VAMO SUP sock is an excellent solution.
Pros/Provides simple, no-hassle protection for your board and even has a convenient fin slot
Cons/Some reviewers mention struggling to get a snug fit on longer boards
Bottom Line/If your board is frequently in the sun, the VAMO SUP sock will go a long way in protecting it
3. SUP Leash
When you’re shopping for SUP accessories, you may wonder whether or not you truly need a SUP leash. Especially if you don’t take your board out all that frequently or you tend to paddle in the same familiar, calm areas, it may seem like overkill.
However, a SUP leash is actually one of the smartest SUP accessories you can get from both safety and convenience standpoints. The simple coiled cord attaches to your board and your ankle. If you fall off your board for any reason, the SUP leash prevents it from drifting too far away. Without a leash, one strong current or some unexpected winds can leave you stranded in the water.
Pros/A super simple and effective safety measure, plus Santa Barbara Surfing provides a lifetime guarantee
Bottom Line/Do you really want to risk being separated from your board? We don’t either
4. SUP Anchor Kit
If you like to do more with your board than strictly paddle, an anchor kit is one of the best SUP accessories for you. Perhaps you like to fish from your board or want to “park” it and snorkel nearby. In either scenario, you’ll need a way to keep your board from drifting away.
The Extreme Max anchor kit works well in a variety of marine environments, including rocks, coral, weeds, or grass. It’s also designed with four folding shanks and an integrated marker buoy, plus it comes in a compact carrying case.
Pros/Compatible with paddleboards, kayaks, personal watercraft, and small boats
Cons/It would be nice if the included rope was longer than 25 feet
Bottom Line/This is one of the handiest SUP accessories to have if you frequently hang out on the water or fish from your board
5. Dry Bag
A quality dry bag is absolutely essential for any paddling adventure. It provides you peace of mind that your valuables will be safe and dry no matter what. There are seemingly countless dry bag options available, but this is one SUP accessory you want to be picky about.
You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot on a dry bag, but you should look for certain SUP-friendly features. For example, the SealLine Discovery Deck dry bag has an adjustable carrying strap and multiple lash points to easily secure it to your board.
Pros/Designed with paddlers in mind, we love that the dry bag can be tied down to a board. It also comes in several sizes
Cons/It’s fairly expensive in comparison to other brands
Bottom Line/If you’re on a budget or slowly building your arsenal of SUP accessories, a dry bag should be one of the first things you get
6. SUP Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
Personal flotation devices, or PFDs, can very literally save your life in emergency situations. If you and your board become separated for any reason or if inclement weather rolls in unexpectedly and knocks you off your board, your PFD will keep you afloat until help comes.
Aside from having obvious safety benefits, PFDs have also come a long way in recent years. Those bulky, unattractive orange vests have been replaced by much sleeker vests and even fanny pack-style belts. We recommend belt-style PFDs like the Onyx M-16 because they’re low-profile and far less restrictive.
Pros/Fits a wide range of waist sizes and extremely low-profile
Cons/Only a minor annoyance, but if you deploy the Onyx M-16, you need to replace the CO2 cartridge
Bottom Line/Simple, won’t put a dent in your wallet, and could save your life. This SUP accessory is a no-brainer
7. SUP Fishing Rod Holder
Have you ever tried fishing from your paddleboard? It’s a really unique experience, as the flat, motor-less SUP allows you to navigate into otherwise inaccessible waters. Plus, you’re able to sneak up on the fish and very literally catch them by surprise!
There is one caveat when it comes to fishing from your board, however: It’s extremely challenging to handle a fishing rod and paddle at the same time. The Scotty Powerlock rod holder solves that problem, as it’s easy to install and has a universal fit for virtually any paddleboard or kayak.
Pros/Very sturdy, easy to install, 360-degree rotation
Cons/A bit tricky to adjust once it’s installed
Bottom Line/If you enjoy fishing off your SUP, you can’t beat the price of this rod holder
8. SUP Cooler
If you like to hit the water for longer paddling adventures, you need a way to safely store drinks and snacks. Most boards have integrated D-rings, which allow you to securely attach a variety of useful items — including one of our favorite SUP accessories, a cooler.
The SUP-Now paddleboard cooler weighs less than one pound, yet it holds up to 10 cans plus snacks, your phone and keys, and more. It includes a small waterproof insert for protecting your phone and other valuables, and the cooler itself is water-resistant.
Pros/A simple, clever way to bring supplies along while also protecting your essentials. We also like that it includes a variety of attachment options to work with virtually any board
Bottom Line/For the money, this is one of the most useful SUP accessories you can buy
Taryn Shorr is an avid outdoor enthusiast, frequent traveler, and wannabe photographer based in southern Arizona. She lives for the opportunity to explore The Great Outdoors, both at home and in new destinations, and firmly believes that nature is a form of both therapy and religion.
Feature image by Pavel1964, Shutterstock
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