One thing all paddleboards have in common is a handle. But you may not be aware of all the different types of stand-up paddleboard handles on the market today and their pros and cons. Paddleboard handles serve a dual purpose. The first obviously is to be a carry handle so you can easily transport from point A to B. But in order to do this it needs to be in the center of the board so there is an equal balance of weight in front and behind it so the board doesn’t tilt down or up when you are carrying it.
The handle also marks the area where you will be standing most of the time you are paddling. Some handles are off-set towards one of the rails so that when you pick the paddleboard up it is higher off the ground and clearing most obstacles.
A lot of earlier paddleboard designs incorporated very simple handle systems that use a strip of webbing bolted down at the ends to the deck of the board. There are still paddleboards being made today that use this type of handle although many of them have a rubber or plastic grip that fits into the palm of your hand. Webbing handles give you the ability to turn your board at any angle without having to bend your wrist. This makes getting them on and off your vehicle easier. The downside to these handles is that they have a clunky, unsecure feel to them and they are easy to trip over when you’re moving around on your board.
Most stand-up paddleboard handles are inset. A space on the deck of the board is routed out and the handle box is epoxied directly into the board. This allows you to carry the board between your hips and arm giving you better leverage. The carry handles can have flat, symmetrical sides or wavy sides to accommodate your fingers tips.
A big thing with inset paddleboard handles is how far under the deck of the board you can get your fingers. The further you can wrap your fingers under the deck the better grip you can get and it is much more comfortable because there is less strain being put on your joints. Some handles offer a moderate amount of space to get your fingers into and others allow you to get them all the way in, which definitely feels better.
Pop Up Handles
Pop-up handles (like the ones made by LiftSUP) are designed to slide out of the board when you pick it up and drop back down into the board when not being used. The handle sits flush with the deck so there’s no cavity to get your toes caught in when stepping around on the paddleboard. The pop-up handle also allows you to get your board on and off your vehicle easily. And it can be used as a solid anchor point for when you need to lock your board to your vehicle rack using a cable system.
SIC EZ-Grab Handle
Many of the paddleboards in the SIC line are equipped with their proprietary EZ Grab handle. Unlike other handles, the EZ Grab is actually part of the board. The well is scooped out in an oval shape and the handle extends lengthwise over it. This one-piece system gives you incredible leverage over the board when transporting it and is really comfortable. Racers who do a lot of beach starts also like it because it is so easy to launch into the water while running full steam ahead. And like the pop-up handle you can lock your board up using a cable and lock.
Stand-up paddleboard handles are just one of many features you should take a look at when checking out boards. They can definitely enhance the whole transporting experience depending on what kind the board has to offer.