How to Care for Your Stand Up Paddleboard
As you know, a stand up paddleboard is quite an investment. Even “cheap” models are still a few hundred dollars, and high-end models can cost as much as $3,000. When you shell out that much money for a piece of gear, you’re going to want to make sure it lasts as long as possible. Follow these care and maintenance tips to ensure your board has a long life.
KEEP IT OUT OF THE SUN
Paddling in the sun is obviously fine—after all, stand up paddling is a perfect way to get out and enjoy sunny summer days. But leaving your board in the sun for long periods of time is not okay. Not only will UV rays cause board discoloration, but prolonged exposure to the sun can also make your board overheat, which can lead to delamination and cracking or splitting.
When you’re taking a break from paddling, try to find a shady spot to leave your board until you’re ready to get back out on the water. At home, store your board someplace where it will stay out of direct sunlight and dry.
DRY IT OFF
Once you’ve finished paddling around for the day, be sure to rinse it off and dry it completely before storing it. This is especially important if you’ve been paddling in salt water. It may seem silly that an object built to be in the water needs to be treated with such attention, but there are several reasons for this:
The salt from seawater, the bacteria and microorganisms from fresh water, and the sand or dirt from the beach will eat away at your board if not rinsed away. If there are any structural damages (dents, scratches, or cracks), it’ll be a lot easier to make the necessary repairs on a clean, dry board. If you’re using a board bag (more on these in a minute) and you put your board away while it’s still wet, you’ll end up with mold and mildew.
While leaving your stand up paddleboard in the sun will eventually lead to delamination, it’s not the sun itself that causes the damage. What’s really going on is that the board’s foam core—a very airy component—is really sensitive to heat. When the board gets too hot, the foam starts to expand, resulting in delaminating, cracking, or splitting.
Vent plugs help reduce the risk of board damage by allowing the built-up air pressure inside your board to escape. There are two types of vent plugs: screw-in and maintenance-free..
Screw-in vents feature a threaded base in the board’s deck with a screw. When the board is not being used, simply unscrew the vent plug to allow the air pressure inside the board to equalize. Before using your board again, be sure to screw the plug back in to seal out the water.
Maintenance-free vents feature a high-tech membrane, such as Gore-Tex, which allows air to pass through while keeping water from getting in. The advantage of this type of vent is obvious: you don’t have to worry about ruining your board by forgetting to seal the vent before going in the water.
Board bags are great for a number of reasons. For one thing, they typically offer both regular carrying handles and a shoulder strap, making it easier and more comfortable to carry your board around. But board bags also keep your board well protected during transport and storage. Not only will a bag ward off scratches and dings, but many board bags are also made with a reflective material to offer a bit of protection from the sun as well.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE FINS
While much easier (read: cheaper) to replace than a broken board, a broken fin is still no fun to have to deal with. Paddle cautiously in shallow water and keep an eye out for rocks, logs, and other potential hazards that could break your fin. Any time you set your board down on the ground, make sure you lay it deck-side down to avoid snapping the fin.
When rinsing off your board at the end of the day, pay extra attention to the fin box and make sure you get all the dirt or sand out of it. (It’s also a good idea to take the fin out and really wash the gunk out of the fin box, but you won’t need to do this every time you paddle.)
REPAIRING SCRATCHES, DINGS, AND CRACKS
Minor damages to the surface of your board can be fixed relatively easily. We carry a few different products, such as Ding Dough, that make it easy for you to do your own board repairs at home. For really deep gouges, however, it’s best to take your board to a surf shop and let the pros work their magic.
Be sure to check your board for damage after each outing, and keep in mind that even the tiniest scratch or crack can turn into a much bigger problem as it slowly allows water to seep into the board’s core. Make any necessary repairs as soon as possible to avoid further structural damage.