Tips for a Great SUP Experience
The increased number of kids running around the neighborhood during school hours is a sure sign that summer has arrived. And it seems that no matter where you live, there is inevitably a body of water that is calling your name. From rivers to lakes to oceans, we're major fans of cruising around atop a stand up paddleboard.
That's why we were stoked to team up with Red Paddle Co., industry-leading creators of inflatable SUPs, to give away their 12'6" Voyager Inflatable SUP as one of our recent Adventure Upgrade prizes. With the right inflatable SUP, you can explore unique locations that are much more difficult (or downright impossible) to access with a traditional SUP.
So with the heat of summer and the inspiration of Red Paddle Co. on our minds, the Cairn Crew put together a few tips for having a fantastic SUP experience - or two or ten - this summer!
Note: This is not a guide to SUP skills or safety regulations. It's important to understand safety regulations and your own comfort / skill on the water before going on a SUP adventure. See the Coast Guard's insights on regulations and safety.
Perfect Your Technique
The right form and paddling technique – heck, even the right technique for blowing up your inflatable SUP or carrying your board to the water – will most certainly impact your enjoyment, activity duration, and injury risk during your day(s) out on the water. Get insights from the experts and practice, practice, practice! Here are few good resources to start with:
- Stand Up Journal: Stand Up Paddleboarding Essentials
- SUP the Magazine: Skills Features Section
Pack It Up RIght
Whether you're headed out for a quick post-work paddle or an overnight trip, it's important to consider what to bring along for the trip. Just remember, the heavier the load, the harder it is to paddle! Here's a list of suggested items for both a day trip and an overnight excursion. We've indicated some optional items that may enhance your experience, but always weigh the costs (harder to paddle) against the benefits (comfort, fun, etc.).
SealLine makes professional-level packing systems for all water - or land, for that matter - based activities. Cairn recently featured the SealLine Discovery View Dry Bag in a collection and it was a major hit with subscribers because of features like it's transparency, waterproof PurgeAir Valve, and oval bottom that prevents it from rolling around. Need more guidance on packing systems? Check out SealLine's Blog and their Which Packing System is Right For You Infographic.
- Necessary safety equipment (see Coast Guard link above)
- Water bottle and filter like the Platypus Meta™ Bottle + Microfilter
- Packable towel like the Packtowl Luxe
- Protective case for phone and navigation materials like the sturdy offerings from SealLine
- Bug / sun protection like the Debug line of clothing from Toad & Co. and the reef safe Sport Sunscreen by All Good
- Sunglasses / hat
- Water shoes like the rafting guide favorites by Astral
- Appropriate clothes based on weather and water conditions (wet/dry suit, rashguard, swimsuit)
- Small first aid kit
- Cooler (optional) like the Mountainsmith Cooloir (lightweight and keeps things cool for days)
- Bluetooth waterproof speaker (optional) like the Speaqua Barnacle +
- Fishing gear (optional)
Overnight: (In addition to the Day Trip list above)
- Group / basecamp filtration system like Platypus GravityWorks™ Water Filter System
- Based on weather and availability of trees, you may want to forgo a tent for a hammock camping set-up like the Thermarest Slacker Hammock and Hammock House
- Again, based on conditions, you may opt to lighten up by bringing an outdoor blanket like a Rumpl instead of a full sleeping bag
- Lighting like the lightweight, waterproof, solar-charged LuminAID PackLite 2-in-1 Charger and Lantern
- Clothing and toiletry essentials
- Meals and snacks
- Stove, fuel and cook set like the MSR WindeBurner® Stove System Combo
- Collapsible sink like the Peregrine Ultralight Folding Basin
- Trowel like the Tent Lab Deuce of Spades
- Firestarter and knife combo like the Light My Fire Swedish Fireknife
- Chair (optional) like the Thermarest Quadra
- Raingear (optional)
Being on a paddleboard means you can access unique locations, views, and your own peace and quiet. Take advantage of it all by doing a little activity "multi-tasking." Here are a few ideas to get your creativity flowing ;).
- Picnic on your board - Find calm water and break out your lunch. Who says you have to enjoy that pb&j on land? Or gather your group, tether up, and creating a floating potluck!
- Pit stops in remote spots - Paddling across a lake may mean that you can access hikes that are much less traveled. Or, hey, just string up that hammock and take a nap. Just make sure that your board and gear are secured before taking off on the trail.
- Active add-on - From snorkeling to swimming to yoga to camping, there a plenty of fun activities that you can tag onto your paddling session. They may require some extra gear, so keep that in mind when you're packing up.
Where is your favorite spot to SUP? What's a piece of gear that you'd never leave behind? Tell us in the comments!