By: Brenda Lowe of Paddleboard Miami www.PaddleboardMiami.com
Stand-up paddleboarding offers anybody open access to oceans, lakes, rivers, swamps, bays and canals. What do you do once youâ€™re out there? Depending on where you are going, there are certain tools and toys that could make your paddleboarding experience even more entertaining. Below is a list of these items for you to get creative with:
1. Dry bag- Any water sport demands a way of protecting your valuables such as electronics, wallets, keys, etc. Dry bags can be small enough to hold just a set of keys or large enough to tuck away an entire sleeping bag. The skyâ€™s the limit for the non-waterproof items you can bring with you on your board. If youâ€™re paddling during the winter, bring a nice sweater. If youâ€™re doing a paddleboard picnic, pack a nice lunch. If youâ€™re paddling to the other side of a lake or to an island, pack a nice towel and book to enjoy once you reach shore.
2. Anchor- If you are doing some paddling out in the open water, there is the chance that you will experience ocean current. An anchor is the perfect accessory to keep you secured to one spot. Just bring a small collapsible anchor and a line long enough to reach the ocean floor. Kayak anchors and sand anchors are good options. Make sure the anchor is secured to the leash hook or handle on your paddleboard.
In South Florida there is Lobster Season, a recreational and commercial period of time where fishermen are invited to go out into the ocean and catch lobsters. Most lobster slayers do the sport by boat but we have tried the more primitive approach and anchored our paddleboard to dive for lobsters.
An anchor is also great for getting a moment to relax on your board in the open water without having to worry about getting pushed along by the waves or current. An anchor can keep you steady as you practice your stand-up paddleboard yoga or for just taking a little paddling break!
3. Underwater camera- Probably one of the â€śmust haveâ€™sâ€ť of the twentieth century is a camera to photograph your daily adventures. On a paddleboard, underwater cameras are the way to go. To capture a stingray relaxing or a turtle swimming by, you donâ€™t have to worry about â€śthe camera getting wetâ€ť. An accessory that is highly recommend for an underwater camera is a Float to attach to it. Some of Paddleboard Miamiâ€™s best moments have been caught on an underwater camera.
4. Snorkel Gear- As an add-on to the anchor, also bring some snorkel gear. This includes: mask, snorkel and inflatable dive flag. There are plenty of opportunities of getting a real up-close look at what youâ€™re paddling over. Stand-up paddleboards are big and visible in the water, but nothing says â€śLook Out for Divers Belowâ€ť like a dive flag. Look for an inflatable one to keep your equipment from becoming too bulky.
5. Music- If youâ€™re paddling in a place where there is minimal water traffic, how about listening to some tunes? Being able to bring music along with you on the board is possible with many waterproof cases out on the market to protect your favorite MP3 player. There are even waterproof headphones just in case you take a dive while jamming to your favorite song. If you think your tunes would be enjoyed by others, try a small juke box. Just make sure youâ€™re not too loud to disurb the wildlife around you. Afterall, you are in their territory!
6. Water shoes- No matter where you decide to stand-up paddleboard, there is a place where you will eventually have to plant your feet. If you paddle to a sandbar, you may encounter areas with rocks and urchins. Protect your feet with water shoes so you can explore without hesitation. Even in lakes, the mud and soot might build up to give you an icky feeling between your toesâ€¦ water shoes protect your little piggies.
How to Transport Items on a Paddleboard
So now that you have all your gear ready to rock, how do you get it to stay on your paddleboard?
If you are only taking one or two small items like a dry bag, water shoes or a camera, I recommend keeping these items on your traction pad in front of you so that they say in sight while you paddle. Keep in mind this works best in flat water conditions.
If you are bringing something larger, more bulky or are paddleboarding in choppy conditions look into more advanced marine accessories like Suction Cup Tie-Downs or paddleboard specific Deck Mounts.
Visit your local marine store for goodies or try surf companies that specialize in stand-up paddleboarding accessories like the company NSI.
Things to Remember
If youâ€™re snorkeling or diving, always do so with a buddy.
Safety first- Donâ€™t bring too many things on board that may fall off and cause you to have to paddle to retreive them.
Always bring back what you brought out!
Keeping all this in mind, you should be ready to stock your paddleboard with useful accessories thus enhancing an already great sport. Enjoy!