In this article, I show you the essential paddle boarding gear checklist so you make the most of your time on the water.
In fact, this is the same paddle boarding gear my family and I use before we go paddle boarding where we live in Destin, Florida.
Paddle Boarding Essentials
So, you are finally ready to go paddle boarding.
Maybe you are on vacation and feeling venturous to see ocean wildlife.
Or, maybe you simply want to get in shape.
Whatever your reason may be, you want to bring the gear you need so you enjoy yourself.
With that said, this paddle boarding gear checklist will help make your SUP time more enjoyable.
Paddle Boarding Video
Checkout our paddle boarding video below and watch us chase Dolphins, Sea Turtles, and even a Devil Ray.
The Bare Essential Paddle Boarding Gear
If you own a paddle board or plan to rent/borrow one, you skip this section.
First and foremost, you need a paddle board, SUP paddle, and a leash.
I won’t go into great detail in this article about how to choose a paddle board.
However, I recommend to most people to purchase an inflatable paddle board.
Inflatable paddle boards are easy to transport and most of them are stable enough for all skill levels.
Additionally, most inflatable paddle boards come with a pump and a bag.
Next, you need a paddle.
I suggest an adjustable paddle, but a properly sized non-adjustable paddle works just as well.
The correct paddle size promotes the proper technique and helps prevent injury.
To make sure the size of your paddle is correct, stand up as you normally do and raise one of your arms to the sky.
Make sure your arm is comfortably raised and not stiff. It should have a slight bend at the elbow.
Now, the top handle of the paddle should reach the bottom pad of your hand slightly above your wrist.
Finally, you need an ankle leash which attaches to the bottom of your board.
You certainly don’t want to fall off and watch the tide/current take your board.
Paddle boarding is a full body workout, so you may not have the energy to swim after it.
What to Wear Paddle Boarding
My family and I live in Destin, Florida where it’s warm for most of the year.
However, we do go paddle boarding in the winter months during cooler temperature.
Regardless of where you live, you should always dress according to the water temperature.
For warm temperature, choose clothes that protect and dry quickly.
- SPF Long Sleeve Shirt
- Even though I don’t always wear one, I recommend a long sleeve SPF shirt b/c there is no escape from the sun. I do wear a long sleeve 95% of the time.
- Board shorts or Swimsuit
- Water Slippers
- The pads on paddle boards are soft, so most people go barefoot. However, you should wear shoes if you have sensitive feet to prevent fatigue and blisters.
Keep in mind, it doesn’t get cold in Destin, Florida. Basically, I don’t go paddle boarding if it’s too cold to wear shorts. For cold temperatures, choose clothes that retain body heat.
- Neoprene shirt and shorts
- Neoprene gloves
Personal Paddle Boarding Gear
- Dry Bag (VERY IMPORTANT)
- Water Bottle, Waistpack, or Water Backpack
- Cell Phone with Protective Bag/Case
- SPF 50+ Sunscreen and Lip Guard
- GoPro with Head Strap, Chest Strap, or Board Mount
- Bug Repellant
I have a Dry Bag I use for paddle boarding, beach trips, and on any outdoor adventure. This dry bag keeps all my gear dry and it also floats if closed properly.
To make things easy, I keep the majority of the items on this list in my Dry Bag at all times. So, I just grab my board, paddle, pump, and my dry bag before I head out.
Above all, wear sunscreen! I’ve been on the beach and in the sun my entire life and wish I wore a higher SPF rating during my younger days.
I recommend sunscreen with an SPF 50+. You are probably thinking, “SPF 50+? I won’t get a tan.” YES, you will still get a tan.
As a quick tip, apply a lotion with aloe vera to your entire body once per day (preferably after you shower). This prevents your skin from drying out and helps promote a longer-lasting tan.
Essential Paddle Boarding Checklist
I am grateful you stopped by and I hope this paddle boarding article helps you on your next SUP adventure.
Complete the form below to download the FREE Paddle Boarding Gear Checklist!
For summer paddle boarding in warm weather, you should wear sunscreen, board shorts, SPF quick dry shirt, straw hat, and a huge smile.
Water shoes are the best shoes for paddle boarding. Since most paddle board pads are soft, most people do not use shoes while paddle boarding
Inflatable paddle boards are definitely worth it for recreational paddling and even SUP fishing. However, inflatable paddle boards are not ideal for SUP surfing or SUP racing.
The best paddle board for beginners is a 12’ inflatable paddle board.