There are four basic ways to carry your standup paddleboard. I tend to use all of them depending on which board I have, how far I am going, the conditions, and whether or not I am alone. They each have their pluses and minuses and some are better than others at certain times.
- The Buddy system. This is the easiest and safest way to carry your board. You and a buddy, or even a helpful stranger, each grab an end and off you go. You can grab it from the side at the nose and tail and no one even needs to walk backwards. When you share the load with a friend, you are typically each carrying 12-15 lbs so it’s very manageable. The buddy system should allow you each to get a secure grip on the board without having to strain. If you get caught by a gust of wind, the combination of there being two of you, having a person at each end, and no one person having the entire burden of carrying the board, this is the safest and easiest way to get it done. The only real drawback to this method is that there’s not always someone you want to be buddies with around when you need him.
- The suitcase carry. This is probably the most common method. Manufacturers put a “carry handle” in your board for a reason. Standing with the board perpendicular to your hip and facing away from you, grab that handle, bend your knees, and lift with your legs just like if you were picking up a suitcase (or anything else). Then carry it down by your side like said suitcase. This is an easy and natural feeling way to go. The drawbacks of this method are that depending on your size and the size and weight of your board, it can put you at a weird angle. You can end up unnaturally hunched/leaning to one side. And if the board is thick and you are short it can put your arm and shoulder in a wonky position further away from your body than is comfortable. This method is also very subject to wind. If conditions are windy make sure that you are downwind of the board and that there is nothing around you that you can hit if you get spun around. You may also find it difficult to step over an obstacle such as a guardrail. Some boards have off set handles that allow the board to be held higher of the ground when carrying it on one side.
- The shoulder carry. This one you don’t see as much. That’s probably because it’s not the most comfortable carry, and it can be hard on your neck. But sometimes it’s the one that makes the most sense. It basically involves resting the board in the crook of your elbow and supporting it with your shoulder or your upper back. You can use your other hand to stabilize it. You see surfboards carried this way, but they are smaller and lighter weight than paddleboards, and they don’t have handles.
- Over your head. This can be a very useful method. Usually with your board lying face down on the ground you just walk the board upright until you are under the carry handle. Then bend your knees and hoist it up. When you have it over your head you are much less likely to catch a gust of wind, so this is a better carry for windy days. The other advantage to this one is that you are at a good angle to load the board on the roof of your car. You can approach it from the side or the back when it is over your head. Just be careful not to rest too much of the weight of the board on your head. You don’t want to end up with a neck injury.
Practice each of these carries, preferably on a grassy surface to get comfortable with them so that you have options depending on circumstances and conditions.
Tags: paddleboarding in windy conditions, paddleboard safely, transporting your SUP,transporting your paddleboard, how to transport your stand up paddleboard, carry a standup paddleboard, carrying a paddleboard, carry a paddleboard, how to transport a paddleboard