For the lucky few in warm climates, or the ultimate hardcore in colder climates that paddle all year long, the SUP season never ends. However, if you are like most of us, your board has been in storage all winter and you are dying to get out on the water. Now is the time to start thinking about getting your paddle board out and ready for the season. But, what do you do exactly to get ready for the start of the paddle board season? Let us help get you, and your equipment ready so you can be out on the water as soon as spring has sprung.
Getting your Paddle Board Ready for Spring
Inspect Your Board
I like to take my paddle board out onto the lawn on a sunny afternoon and give it a good look over. If you are using the same board as you did last season, give it a thorough inspection to make sure there are no dings or cracks that need to be fixed. If there are, take the time to fix them up now while the paddle season is still a little further off. Very often small cracks or dings can be repaired at home, and you can follow our Small Repair Tutorial.
If you have a brand new board, take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the board and the features it offers.
Pro Tip - When you board is on the lawn, don’t stand on it. As tempting as it may be, boards are meant to be stood on in water only, and you may cause denting or damage standing on your board on solid ground!
Install The Fin
Make sure you have your fin, along with the fin screw and nut. Install it just to make sure it still goes in and out of the fin slot without any issue.
Check The Pressure Vent
Make sure your pressure vent is installed, and the area around it unobstructed. If you paddle and inflatable or iSUP, inflate the board to full capacity to make sure it is airtight and holding air pressure.
Pro Tip - If your winter storage location is a little inconvenient to get your board in and out off, find a more convenient place to store it for the paddling season so you have easy access when conditions are good!
Give Your Board A Wash
I also like to give my board a wash after winter. This gets rid of any dirt or dust from winter storage, but also just makes it look good! A little warmer water and mild soap will have it looking as good as new!
Getting Your SUP Paddle Ready for Spring
Replace Worn Parts
If you use an adjustable SUP paddle, open and close the adjustment lever a few times to make sure it still functions. Inspect the adjustment collar for any cracks in the plastic. If you see any issues now, it’s best to replace the parts that need replacing before you start the season.
I usually suggest taking the adjustable section right out of the paddle and give that good wash to get rid of any grit that cause problems adjusting your paddle. Do this at the same time as you are washing your board. You can read more about proper paddle maintenance here.
Getting your Vehicle Ready for Paddle Board Season
Install Your Roof Rack
If you take your roof rack off over the winter, now is a good time to put it back on. I suggest washing your car, and the racks, first so that you aren’t scratching the paint if there is any winter road grit on your car (or the racks).
Photo by @anniecarignan
Replace Old Roof Rack Pads
Check your roof rack pads. If they are faded or tattered looking, now is a great time to get a new set. Nothing says the paddle season is here like a new set of rack pads.
Check Your Rack Straps
Do the same with your rack straps, checking for any damaged straps or buckles that could become a safety issue as you are driving. When in doubt, replace the straps - seeing your board fly off your car due to a broken straps is never a good time.
Stock Your Car
It’s a good idea to put a couple of energy bars or snacks in your glove box so that you have them after you come off the water. I also like to put a small screwdriver and a couple of spare fin screws in my glove box as well.
Photo by @pbotts
Getting Yourself Ready for Paddle Board Season
Make Sure Your Paddling Gear Fits
If you have any particular clothes you like to wear paddling, get them out and try them on again. Make sure they still fit and are in good shape. Nothing is worse than being ready to go paddling and finding out your favorite pair of board shorts are in rough shape.
Check Your Physical Fitness
Over the winter did you stay active, or did you hibernate waiting for the SUP season to come back? If you haven’t been staying physically active, ease back into some activities that will help increase your fitness level such as jogging, swimming, strength training, or any other cross training you enjoy. If you need some help, check out some of the SUP-specific workout programs from Men’s Fitness and GrindTV
Be realistic when it comes to your first couple of sessions on the water. There will likely be some stiffness the first couple of times, and you do have to get your balance back.
You Are Ready to Paddle Board - But Is The Water Ready for You?
Check Water Access Points
If you start through a public access point, make sure you can actually access the water. Sometimes beaches and parks are gated off during the off season.
Watch For Ice
As keen as you might be to get out on the water, ice can be a real hazard and should be avoided. If the water is extremely frigid still, stay close to shore and pick calm conditions to go out in. Check out our full guide for winter (and early season paddling) to make sure you stay safe.
Consider Water Levels
Water levels usually are quite high in the spring, so double check the levels where you plan to paddle. High water levels can sometimes be as dangerous as lower water levels. Things that were not underwater last fall may be submerged now, causing a hazard. Also, “dead heads”, which are floating logs, are a pretty common sight in lakes just after the ice has melted, so keep your eyes open!
Now You Are Ready for the Paddle Board Season To Start!
As the clock ticks down on the last days of winter, take the few minutes to get yourself ready for the start of the season. You will snag the first few days on the water like a pro, instead of scrambling around getting ready on the first warm day like an amateur.
Are you ready for spring? Did we miss something? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!