Paddleboarding is a young sport that is evolving in a number of ways. The sport has gone from surf-style to flat water cruising and touring, open water down-winding, racing, and white water river adventures. Paddleboards are also great for fitness training, yoga, fishing, and some can even double as windsurfers. As a result, SUP companies have come up with different types of paddleboard features that go along with the different types of paddleboards.
Flat water recreational paddleboarding is one of the fastest growing areas in the SUP industry. Many people just want to get outdoors, enjoy the sun and water, and get a little work-out. They don’t necessarily want to invest in multiple boards that are designed for specific styles, i.e. surf, race, river. And many new buyers have families and they want their kids and friends to share in the fun. There are a lot of features you can put on an all-around paddleboard.
Full Length Deck Pads
Most EVA deck pads cover a little more than half the board. This saves weight, and a full-length pad is unnecessary on boards that you will be racing, downwinding, surfing, etc. But for all-around recreational cruising paddleboards it can be an asset. You can have kids, or the dog, ride with you and not slip off. You can also practice cross stepping and hopping up and down the entire length of the board without slipping.
Full-length deck pads also provide a second level of durability to the top of the paddleboard. They can absorb some minor impacts or pressure from racks without denting or scratching the board. They are also great for doing extended poses in yoga without slipping.
Towline plugs are on the nose of the paddleboard and allow you to tow a second paddleboard if you need to. If you’re paddling with kids or beginners in windy conditions then someone might not have the strength or skill to manage getting back to where you started. They can also be you used with a an anchor to keep your board in place for yoga and fishing or whatever else you may fancy.
Tie downs have become standard on many paddleboards these days, with the exception of surf-specific paddleboards. Tie downs allow you to keep your essentials secure and at hand for when you need them. Water, sunscreen, windbreaker, GPS, maps, etc. can be packed in your dry bag and lashed down very easily.
If your board doesn’t come with tie downs you can attach your own using EZ Plugs. They’re easy to put on, and you have the benefit of setting them up exactly where you want them.
Fishing Rod and Mast step Attachments
Some recreational paddleboards can be outfitted for fishing with coolers that attach for sitting and storing ice and other supplies. They can also have attachment points to screw in rod holders so you can paddle as you troll your line.
Other paddleboards have an attachment point in the middle for a wind surfing mast step. Although paddleboards and windsurf boards are designed completely differently and for different purposes, you can still set sail on a paddleboard. Both of these features allow you to have more fun doing totally different things with one board!
GoPro FSC Mount Plugs
GoPro mount plugs have become standard on a number of paddleboards. The plugs are simply slots in the nose of the board that hold a Go Pro camera with an embedded set screw- very inconspicuous. They hold the camera firmly in place so you can shoot video as you ride.
I am sure there will be new features to come for paddleboards as the sport grows in popularity. It’s always great to have options and to keep your experience on the water fresh, safe and fun.