Gearing up for the summer SUP season? It’s here and it’s time to make sure you’ve got everything you need to hit the water prepared for anything. But what you need depends on what you do with your SUP.
Too much gear and you are less likely to hit the water more frequently because of the hours it takes to load your car and your mass quantities of SUP paraphernalia. Too little gear, and you are left out on the water thinking to yourself, “Man, if I would have only brought my _____.” So to help a brother (or a SUP sister) out, I’ve compiled my list of SUP Essentials for any kind of watermen (or water-woman) sesh. As you read through these essentials you can decide for yourself “the goldilocks of gear” of what’s not too much, and not too little, but just right for you.
In order of importance, and besides the obvious of having a board and a paddle, here are my recommendations:
1. MTI Adventurewear Inflatable PFD pack – Bottom line is: when you mix people and water it’s a recipe for disaster. Or it can be, anyway, unless you do what you can to protect yourself from the unthinkable. Paddle boards are considered vessels by the coast guard, and regardless of what your opinion on that is, vessels are required by law to have on board flotation in the event you would need it. MTI has made this quite easy this year with their new Slim-line Om PFD packs.
Contoured to fit snug against your bodacious bod, these packs are designed with a rip cord that if pulled open into a coast guard approved life vest. In all my 6 years of SUP have I ever needed to deploy? Nope, but with up to 6 lessons a day, it’s nice to know that myself and my clients are protected. Protect yourself from the unthinkable and become “un-sinkable” with MTI! Take a look at all the stylish packs available at Mtiadventurewear.com
2. BiC SUP Coil Leash – While some might argue that a leash should be first in importance on my list, I’ll counter that by saying if you fall gank your melon on rock or a dock, a leash is not going to be what saves you, but rather just helps your loved ones find the body. A PFD is always first and foremost, but a leash is definitely a close second. As a SUP instructor and SUP fitness gal, I’m mostly on flat water, so for flat water I highly recommend a coil leash. BiC’s 11foot coil leash allows for no drag in the water behind you, keeping you from catching on low lying trees or shallow areas. It stays flush on your board and fits comfortably around the calf for a fit you won’t even feel. Note: Paddle-surfers will want to use a straight line leash as coil leashes are not recommended for surf. The last thing you need when you fall in a wave is for your board to spring back from a coil and gank your melon too. www.bicsup.com
3. Raw Elements USA Sunscreen – Speaking of melons, another essential for me is Raw Elements EcoTint stick. Not a day goes by that I don’t use it, and for good reason. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the nation. But I wanted sun protection that would be free of harmful chemicals that can leach into our waterways and I found that with Raw Elements. Reef Safe, and non-gmo, and the fact that it smells like chocolate leaves me comforted to know that I’m doing all I can to protect myself and the waters I love. Two of my favorite things about it: it’s just as safe for baby as it is for you, and you can even apply when wet. The tiny little stick is convenient enough to keep in your board shorts and won’t take up any room on the SUP. Visit www.rawelementsusa.com to find a local dealer near you.
4. The SUPpocket – I’m either not high-maintenance or I’m a bit lazy, but I don’t require a lot of gear (or at least I don’t want to pack it). Even on my 30 mile paddles, I have a small dry bag of snacks and water and some killer tunes and that’s pretty much it (besides what I mentioned above). But recently I discovered the SUPpocket and found it quite “handy” (get it, pocket, hand). For those who need a spot to keep water bottles, sunglasses, flippers, bank statements, remote controls, sewing kits, mayonnaise packets, etc, this little pocket easily and securely suctions to your SUP with four included suction cups, and is breathable and zips closed to keep your gear easily accessible and safe. Gotta bigger gear to carry? No problem, the makers of the SUPpocket also have what’s called the SUPcrate pad which you can anchor any standard milk crate too. My idea for this: spend a day paddling on your favorite local waterway and pick up trash and throw it in a trash bag in your crate. Keep our waterways clean and fresh so our children’s children will have something to paddle. www.suppocket.com
5. EcoVessel – They claim you can stick this favorite water bottle of mine in the river and it will safely filter the water. While I haven’t quite attempted that yet, I do take this bottle everywhere: The Aqua Vessel Filtered Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle is a water bottle you will use everyday all day long, and never regret the purchase price. While a bit heavy to keep on the board (although it will fit in the SUPpocket), this bottle is something I always have in my car waiting on me after a nice long paddle and it will still be chilled to be bone due to it’s double insulated wall which keeps water cold for up to 36 hours, even in a hot car! The water has no metallic taste which you normally find offered by some stainless steel bottles, and all parts are easily replaced by simply visiting EcoVessel’s website. Filters need to be replaced about every 6 months depending on usage. And a portion of each bottle sold goes to help provide water in third world countries!
I’ll drink to that! Visit: www.ecovessel.com
6. Vermont Peanut Butter Almond Butter Packs2Go – Peak performance on the water starts with what you are putting into your body rather than what you are putting out, so clean, burning protein-packed nutrition is where it’s at for good sustained paddling energy and satisfaction. Yet, when it comes to limited space and storage on a paddleboard it needs to be handy and convenient too. Meet the Vermont Peanut Butter Co.’s newest addition, Packs2Go. These squeeze packs of all natural, NON-GMO nut butters will slip easily in your board shorts and be “grab and go” fuel that tantalizes your taste buds much more than a packet of some sort energy gu will. Check out: vtpeanutbutter.com for more information.
7. Thule SUP Taxi – (No, it’s not really gear you carry on the board but it’s definitely a must-have!) Yes, I’m on my third one of these roof racks because of how much I use mine, but it doesn’t help that I’m also extremely hard on them and load more boards than I should. But fear not, for Thule is a reputable company that will replace any parts that need fixed and address any issues you have with knowledgeable reps in your area. This SUP taxi is extremely well made and cushions my precious cargo like no other rack I’ve ever seen. The installation is easy and required less than an hour from start to finish. The locking system gives me peace of mind when I park my car in a sketchy area. And the adjustability of the entire system is amazing, and will fit a wide rang of boards in all different lengths and widths. Find out more at Thule.com
8. Teeki Pants – Ladies, how about some swimsuit bottoms that are dry in less than 5 minutes and something you can wear right into the grocery store on your ride home? How about a pair of pants that are also eco-conscious and use recycled plastic bottles in the fabric itself ? Teeki is well known for that, as well as making tons of trippy-printed leggings that stay put for SUP fitness and are dry and ready for off the water action in less than 5 minutes. I literally swim in these and just like a swimsuit, these bottoms are dry in no time flat. However, there should be a warning label on these pants that states: “Warning: this pants are highly addictive and you may find yourself purchasing more teeki pants that you ever thought possible to fuel your addiction.” I’ll enable your addiction by sending you to teeki.com to check them out!
9. Indosole shoes – “Soles with soul” is their motto. These sandals and slip-ons will be your best friend as you take your SUP to your favorite launch site. Made from recycled motorcycle tires, these re-purposed soles give your soul a boost of morale as your feet are wrapped in organic cotton and shoes that are made with love. My favorite are the Innertubed in black which are made from solid tire tread and hug my feet that that very tire most likely used to hug the road. I love a company that believes in creating a quality work ethic, a quality product, and quality “good humans’ (that’s what they call their ambassadors) to represent them. Become soleful by visiting: indosole.com
10. X-1 Audio Waterproof Earbuds – I promise you that you will last alot longer on the water with some good tunes to ride the waves with. X-1 Audio will make that Duran Duran playlist (yeah, you know you like it) come alive out past the breakers and keep you paddling till the sun goes down. I dig their sport wrap that fits snugly around your melon and stays in place with custom fitted earbuds. The coil cord won’t be in your way when you are paddling as it stays coiled and behind you. And the sound quality? Let’s just say the “Frozen” soundtrack that you secretly sing along too will sound as if you are really in Elsa’s ice castle. Get hooked up today by ordering yours at www.x-1audio.com
Not too much, not to little, just enough gear to get you on water with only the necessities . As more and more companies create some SUP-er products, I’m sure I’ll be updating my recommendations, but until then this Goldilocks is quite pleased with the way companies around the world are making SUP gear “just right.”
Written by: Jodelle Fitzwater, BIC SUP Team Ambassador and Fitness Pro, and Certified PaddleFit Level 3 Instructor
[author image=”http://standupjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Jodelle-Fitzwater1.jpg”>Jodelle Fitzwater “Jodelle Fitzwater is the Midwest Ambassador for BiC SUP and Certified Fitness Trainer for SUP TV. She is also a self-proclaimed mermaid because she has no fear of depth and a great fear of shallow living. Find her instructional fitness videos by visiting SUP TV on YouTube and by visiting www.getfitwithjodelle.com “liking” on Get Fit With Jodelle on Facebook.” [/author]