Which Paddle Board Accessories Should I Get?
It can be easy to get carried away with buying gear when you get a fancy new stand up paddle board. But which of those accessories are an absolute necessity and which are going to end up sitting in a garage? Here is a breakdown from our team based on our paddle boarding experience to help you decide which accessories are a must have and which you can do without.
Must have stand up paddle board accessories
These are the best paddle board accessories. You will use these almost every single time you go out on the water and if you're going without, you are holding yourself back.
Paddle, fin and manual pump (accessories that come with inflatable paddle boards)
These are three pieces of equipment that, if you are buying inflatable paddle boards new, will always come with your board. You can't function without them. If you're buying a paddle board used from someone and it doesn't come with these three things at least, ask for a discount because you're going to need to buy them separately.
Your paddle board might have permanent side fins installed on it but you still need a main center fin. You might go without it if you're in very shallow water but for a normal day on the water, you need that main fin.
A SUP leash is another accessory that will frequently come with your paddle board. A SUP leash has a Velcro collar that wraps around your ankle on one end and ties onto a point on your board on the other end. It keeps you from getting away from your board if you ever fall off.
Leashes are incredibly useful and you will want to use them in most situations, especially surfing. There are some situations where you shouldn't wear a leash, however. If you are paddling down a river, you'll typically want to leave the leash at home unless you have a fancy lifejacket with a quick release for your leash. On a river you run the risk of your leash getting wrapped around a rock, log or other hazard and trapping you under the surface while the water rushing past you makes it difficult to undo the leash around your ankle.
If your paddling adventures typically take you to the ocean, a lake or a reservoir, however, you should keep your leash on so that you don't get separated from your board and end up exhausted trying to catch it.
You should always paddle with a personal floatation device (PFD) even if you're a strong swimmer. They can save your life and, in many cases, they are required by law. If you don't like the feel of a regular PFD, consider getting one that goes around your waist and can be inflated by pulling a string.
Kayak seats are a must for beginners and people of all skill levels who plan to paddle longer distances. These allow you to sit down comfortably while paddling. Stand up paddling is really fun but if you're going for distance, you're going to want to take a seat by the second or third mile of the day. These work by attaching to the D rings on your paddle board.
These will cost you $90 at some retailers but all Glide inflatable paddle boards come with a kayak seat for free except for the whitewater board which has minimal hard surfaces on the deck of the board to prevent you from hurting yourself on the board during whitewater.
SUP board bags
Board bags are great for storing your inflatable paddle board as well as transporting it. Look for a board that comes with a bag that has wheels and backpack straps to make it extra easy to carry your board down to the beach. Your board bag provides easy access to your board and all of the gear and accessories that you could ever hope to bring on your paddling adventures be it a fishing trip or simply a casual paddle on a beautiful summer day.
Great SUP accessory for many paddlers but not a necessity
These are some paddle board accessories that I personally love but I could do without if I really needed to. Most of these won't come with your paddle board but you can find them all online at a reasonable price.
Electric pump and battery
An electric pump is a pretty useful tool for anyone who has an inflatable board but it isn't totally necessary. If you don't have a problem with pumping your boards up by hand every time you take them out or you don't want to shell out the cash, you can make things work without one.
Electric pumps are really great, however, if you get exhausted pumping up your inflatable paddle board or if you are looking to save some time. An electric pump will take about 10 minutes to fully inflate a paddle board while a hand pump will take 15-30 minutes depending on how big the board is and how fit the person doing the pumping is. They also have the benefit of allowing you to walk away from your board and take care of other stuff like putting on your sunscreen for UV protection or changing into your paddling outfit.
Electric pumps typically plug into the 12v adapter on your car but you can purchase a battery pack with a 12v adapter so that you can take your electric pump anywhere.
Overall, if you have the cash to spare, I recommend picking up an electric pump
Anchor pole or anchor kit
Having a way to anchor yourself in place on your paddle board can be great. It makes it a lot easier to fish, have a chat or a meal with friends or even hop into the water for a swim.
A regular anchor kit will have a rope tie on to the handle or one of the D-rings on your stand up paddle board and a large metal weight on the other end of the rope to drop into the water and lodge itself on the bottom. You can attach as long of a rope as you want depending on how deep the water is where you are but the longer the rope, the more you will be able to drift from wherever you are anchored.
An anchor pole is a long (usually around 8-10 feet long) pole with a rope attached that you stab into the sandy river/lake/ocean bottom and tie your paddle board to to keep it in place. These are great to use in the ocean in places like Florida where there is a shallow, sandy ocean bottom and can be used in rivers and lakes anywhere that is shallow and sandy enough.
Anchor poles aren't the best if you are going to be paddle boarding in a place with deep water or a rocky bottom that you can't stab the anchor pole into like a deep canyon reservoir.
You can, of course, put any size cooler onto paddle boards and they will keep your drinks ice cold while paddle boarding like any other cooler. The nice thing about a SUP cooler is that it is the perfect size to fit on a SUP board. They typically come with straps and have attachment points for hooking them to the D rings on your paddle board. They'll usually have a cup holder on the top as well so you can have easy access to your water bottle.
If you already have a cooler that you really like and fits well on your board, go ahead and use that one. But if you're looking to buy a new cooler for your standup paddle board, you might as well get one designed to be used on a SUP.
SUP fishing rod holder
A fishing rod holder is one of the great SUP accessories to have if you are looking to get into SUP fishing. You will need a board that comes with a special mount to attach the fishing rod holder to your board. Glide's O2 Angler comes with the mounts and two free rod holders. These rod holders are great to hold a baited line while you are casting another line, fiddling with your other gear or simply relaxing and waiting for a bit. They're also great for keeping your rod secure and preventing it from getting caught in something when you are paddle boarding around looking for a great spot to fish or even mounting your rod for trolling.
If you buy a board that doesn't come with a rod holder, they typically aren't too expensive and will make your life easier if you ever want to go SUP fishing.
Paddle board strap
This is an adjustable strap that hooks onto D rings near the nose and tail of your board so that you can carry your board by slinging the strap over your shoulder. They can be useful for keeping your hands free while you carry your board to the water and make it a lot easier to carry your board a long distance.
You can definitely do without a carrying strap for your paddle board but they are generally fairly cheap so it is worth it to get just for the added convenience when transporting your board by foot.
This is one that would be in the must have section if it weren't so easy to DIY a solution. You need to have some sort of dry bag to keep your phone and other valuables from getting wet while you paddle, there's no getting around it.
Some dry bags are huge, with enough room for all of the gear you would take on a multi-day camping trip, and some dry bags are just big enough to be a waterproof cell phone case. The cost will vary quite a bit as well. If you don't already have a dry bag, you can DIY one by lining the inside of your backpack with large trash bags and putting your phone and other valuables in zip lock bags. This can be a huge hassle but, in my experience, it will keep your gear dry just as well as a dry bag will.
Cam straps/river straps
Cam straps are a staple of paddle boarding and paddle sport culture. They're adjustable straps that are great for securing anything that you would ever need to secure and they are a must have if you have a hard board that you plan to transport on your roof rack.
If you are using an inflatable SUP board, however, this is something that is still useful but you can get by without it by using ropes or other straps.
Only get these if you really think you need them
These are not the best paddle board accessories but they still have their niches. These SUP accessories might be useful for some people in specific situations but are either way too expensive for what they offer or can be done better by a more standard piece of gear.
Specialty car roof SUP rack
Every once in a while I will see a car with an expensive, specialty roof rack made just for paddle boarding. For the average paddle boarder, these are just not worth it. You can store more hard boards on top of a car using a standard roof rack that you would use for skis and anything else and they will be just as secure as they would be with a specialty rack. Plus, if you're using inflatables, you don't need any sort of roof rack to begin with.
Paddle board cart
This is another piece of gear that won't be very useful to the average SUP user. A SUP cart is a small frame with a couple of wheels that you strap on to the back of your SUP so that you can pull it along behind you instead of carrying it. It's only going to be useful for people who are using a hardboard and have to walk it far enough that a simple, cheap strap won't do the job well enough.
This is another one of the SUP accessories that can be easily DIYed as well if you are even a little bit handy. Either way, as far as I am concerned, if the beach is close enough to walk to, you probably won't need a SUP cart. Don't buy it unless you've already tried the alternatives.
Always do some research before you decide to spend a ton of money on SUP accessories. Don't get wrapped up in a spending spree when you get a brand new SUP board and consider buying a board that comes with all of the must have accessories like an inflatable paddle board from Glide.