So you know someone who loves paddleboarding and you’re thinking of getting him (or her) a cool gift for the holidays. You want something that will fit in a regular size box and is seemingly inconspicuous at first but bursting with awesomeness once they open it. Well, you’re in luck because there are lots of cool paddleboard gifts out there that your friend, sweetheart or family member will be really stoked on. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Every paddleboarder needs a leash, especially if they are out on open water in the bay or out in the ocean. And it’s never a bad idea to get an extra leash for that paddleboard surfer in your life as surf leashes tend to take a real beating and often need to be replaced.
There are basically three types of leashes to choose from. Coiled leashes, which are great for flatwater touring, racing and downwinding because they stay on top of your board and don’t drag in the water slowing you down. Straight leashes, used primarily for surfing and river paddling because they won’t rebound your board back at you when you fall in the water. And hybrid leashes, which are partly coiled and partly straight offering a combination of both flat water paddling and surfing assets.
Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
PFD’s normally come as a vest or are inflatable. The vests should fit snuggly but not be restrictive when paddling. Most will have an emergency whistle attached and offer a variety of mesh and zippered pockets. They should have multiple adjustment options to fit a number of different body types, and they should be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard- you will see this printed on the vest.
Inflatables are belts that have a pouch in which the PFD is folded and stored. There is a CO2 cartridge attached to the PFD with a pull that hangs out of the pouch making it easily accessible. Pull the cord and your PFD fills with air at which point you pull it over your head and tighten the front strap. Inflatables are so light inconspicuous you hardly know that you are wearing one, and that’s their main appeal.
Bottle Holders and Hydration Packs
Whether your paddler is doing long tours, intense training workouts, or just cruising in the hot summer sun, he or she is going to need to stay hydrated. Bottle holders are great because they are easily accessible and stay out of the way of your paddle strokes. They attach to the top of your board by way of a locking suction cup that provides a really strong hold. They work great with most common water bottles and when your paddle is done you just flick the lever and pull them off.
Hydration packs are worn like backpacks. There is a water reservoir that slides into the pack and a hose with a bite valve at the end that attaches to the front of the strap. These are great for training and racing where you can’t be stopping all the time to get a sip of water. They are also really comfortable and light.
Everyone loves tie-downs, but not all boards come with them. Fortunately, there are kits that you can use that make it really easy to install your own tie-downs. They consist of 4, 6, or 8 anchors, depending on how big an area you want to cover, and a length of bungee line. Permanent tie-down anchors are installed using epoxy and then you run the bungee line through them in an “X” pattern- it’s very easy and provides a reliable hold on epoxy boards.
There are also removable tie-downs that use locking suction cup anchors and gated hooks to secure the bungee line. These are great if you are using someone else’s board or renting, or if you just don’t want permanent tie-downs on your own board. Both types of tie-downs are excellent for securing PFD’s, backpacks, dry bags and anything else you can think of on your board, accessible and out of the way.
Dry bags are lifesavers, especially on longer paddles and paddles where the weather is unpredictable. They are perfect for keeping extra clothes, electronics, maps, food, you name it, completely dry even if it falls in the water. You can stuff a lot of gear and food in a dry bag. That comes in handy when it’s cold and you need to warm up or if you need to drop a layer and cool down. Most dry bags form a seal at the top by folding over several times and then as you press down on the bag the air bleeds out forming a vacuum inside. This reduces bulk and tightens the seal once you buckle it shut.
There are lots of other paddleboard gifts you can get for the SUP guy or gal in your life. Sunscreen, dry cases for phones and ipads, board cleaners, performance fins, paddling gloves, paddles, dry suits and more. Check out your local paddleboard shop- chances are they have some of the best deals and selection of gifts for SUP people.