Many rigid stand up paddle boards (SUPs) are 10 or 12 feet long (or more) and can weigh 20-plus pounds, which makes storing one no easy task. But after investing in a quality board, it’s worth the effort to find a place that will protect it from damage.
To help you figure out the right storage solution for your SUP, this article looks at:
- Where to store your SUP: Keeping it indoors offers the best protection, but that’s not always practical. Outdoors is acceptable, so long as the board is protected from sun, moisture and heat.
- How to store your board: Learn how to position your SUP and what you can use to support it. Also, get tips on keeping your SUP clean, avoiding damage and preventing theft.
Where to Store Your SUP
As you consider your options for where to store your board, remember that a good location is one that limits exposure to these three things:
Sunlight: The ultraviolet rays that accompany sunlight can discolor and damage the shell of your board.
Moisture: A wet environment can encourage mold and mildew and possibly damage the shell material of your board.
Extreme heat: Exposure to high temperatures, either caused by the sun or another heat source, can do damage to the core materials and potentially cause the shell of the board to delaminate.
You have two options for storing your paddle board: indoors or out.
Indoor storage: If you have room to do so, the easiest storage solution is often to keep your SUP indoors, such as in a garage or shed. Most indoor spaces do a good job of protecting SUPs from sun, moisture and heat. (If you love the way your board looks, you can even keep it in your living space, perhaps mounted to the wall like a piece of art.)
Outdoor storage: For many paddlers, keeping a giant board indoors isn’t feasible. It’s perfectly fine to stow your SUP outside, you just need to take certain precautions to protect it from the elements. Keeping it under a deck, below the eaves of a roof or under a strung-up tarp are all good options. As you look for the right spot for your SUP, think about these things:
- Shade: Try to find a shaded spot outside to protect your SUP from UV rays and heat. If shade is limited or not available, use a weather-resistant tarp that will cover the entire board at all times of day. Suspending the tarp above the board rather than simply wrapping it around it is ideal; direct contact with the hull can promote mold or fungal growth in wet environments.
- Protection against moisture: Make sure rain and snow can't collect directly on your board. If you’re suspending a tarp above the boat, be sure the tarp won’t fill up and press down on the hull, which can damage the board.
How to Store Your SUP
There are several ways you can store your board to keep it protected from damage:
- On a rack: Lots of paddlers use a rack system to store their board. Whether you make your own or buy one specifically designed to hold a SUP, the rack should have padding or straps to gently cradle the board. Some racks cradle the board on its edge, while others run across the body of the board. With the latter style, rack your SUP with the deck (top) of the board against the rack to protect the hull from damage.
- Suspended: Hanging your board from the ceiling is a good way to get it up and out of the way. You can purchase a suspension system designed just for a SUP or you can make your own using wide webbing straps. To best protect the hull, hang your board so that the hull faces up toward the ceiling.
- Leaning: Perhaps the simplest solution is to lean the board up against a wall. You can do so by putting the SUP down on its side or tail (never put a board down on its nose). It's a good idea to put some padding between the board and the floor to protect your SUP. If you lean your board on its tail, keep in mind that many SUPs are 10 ft. long or more, so you’ll need high ceilings to do this. Also, it’s wise to secure the board with a strap or a wooden peg on each side so it won’t suddenly come crashing down.
If you have an inflatable SUP, leaving your board partially inflated (at about 5 pounds per square inch) and storing it like you would a rigid board can help prevent it from developing permanent creases and deformations. One of the big appeals of inflatable SUPs is how compact they get. So, if you’re limited on space, go ahead and fully deflate it and follow these tips:
- Leave the valve open.
- Make sure the board is clean and completely dry.
- Avoid tightly compressing the board (stowing it loosely rolled up is best).
- Keep it in a cool, dry place (ideally indoors).
Whether you put your SUP on a rack, hang it from the ceiling or lean it against a wall, here are a handful of things to think about:
- Keep your SUP clean: Before stowing your board away, give it a rinse with freshwater to remove any dirt, sand, salt or grime. A couple times each year, wash the board with a mild soap and water mix. Avoid solvents or strong chemicals that could damage the board. Let the board dry before putting it away.
- Distribute weight evenly: SUPs can deform due to uneven weight distribution. When storing your board, you want to support the weight of the SUP at points along its length, using a padded rack or wide nylon straps.
- Avoid pressure points: Whether you’re hanging your SUP, putting it on a rack or leaning it against the wall, you need to avoid pressure points. Make sure the board won’t get pinched by storing in a confined area, and don’t strap it down snugly like you would when transporting it on your car. Long-term pressure can deform your SUP.
- Add UV protection: A sun-protective spray can be applied to your SUP to provide protection from UV light.
- Consider ease of access: You don’t want your SUP to be so difficult to get to that you don’t use it.
A quality SUP is a considerable investment, so it’s worth taking steps to protect your board from being stolen. If you can’t store your board in a house or garage, consider these options:
- Try to keep your SUP hidden from view as much as possible.
- Position it so that it's difficult for a thief to grab it quickly and run.
- For added security, thread a durable security cable through the leash loop on your board, or use a lock designed specifically for a SUP. Some will attach to the fin box or the leash plug bar.