There’s nothing better than venturing out on your paddle board onto the open water. While this is one of my favorite activities, having a board and paddle is only half the battle. There are several fantastic accessories that can make or break your day on the water.
The Bare minimum you must have are:
I’ve been paddling for over 20 years in the waters of the United States and Canada. Throughout my kayaking and paddle boarding journey, I’ve learned a thing or two about what accessories are a must-have and what you shouldn’t waste your time with.
If you’re ready to accessorize your paddle board for your next adventure, look no further. I’ve outlined all my favorite accessories, from the most important to the one you may not need but want to enhance your paddle boarding experience. Let’s take a look at some of the best paddle board accessories.
Important SUP Accessories to Have
There are plenty of SUP accessories that may not be the most beneficial for you. Regardless of where you’re paddling, there are some that you shouldn’t get on your paddle board without having.
First things first, you need a personal floatation device (PFD). It doesn’t matter how strong of a swimmer you are. Having one of these on your SUP at all times can be the difference between life and death.
Check out our hand picked Best Paddle Board Life Jackets here.
Infact according to the USCG Recreational Baring Accident Statistics of 2020 All the Paddle Boarding Deaths 10 were because of drowning (Page 48). Most drowning deaths could’ve been prevented had the person had a PFD on them or if they at least had easy access to one.
Most states and regions require adults to have one PDF on board at all times, whether they’re wearing it at all times or not. There are several types of PFDs to choose from that can keep you safe on the water.
One of the easiest PFDs to have onboard is a belt PFD. To be more specific, the Onyx Belt Pack is my favorite Belt PFD. It’s comfortable to wear and easy to put on and take off. I love this PFD because it doesn’t restrict movement as you paddle.
If you find yourself in the water needing assistance, you’ll manually inflate the belt. Though it is small, it is mighty. It provides you with 17 pounds of buoyancy which will keep you afloat until help arrives.
If you prefer to have a PFD that doesn’t restrict movement, manual PFDs are the way to go. One of the best options is the Onyx M-24. It looks similar to a traditional life jacket but lays flat until you need to inflate it.
The Onyx M-24 is similar to a belt PFD, but this product acts as a floatation device and a hydration pack. Both are necessary when paddling through the water. It hangs low on the hips, allowing you to paddle without it getting in your way seamlessly.
Sometimes all you need is a more traditional PFD: a life jacket. Most people tend to leave these on the front of their paddle boards unless they need them. That is, of course, if they’re paddling through calm waters.
Whether you’re in calm or rough waters, you can’t go wrong with the Onyx Movevent. I ordered it a few months ago and I really like it. It has just the right amount of pockets and it’s not too bulky for a stand up paddler.
If you’re not interested in this specific life jacket, any standard life jacket will do just fine. Many paddle boarders actually prefer
Floatable SUP Paddle
Paddling can be unpredictable, and if you’ve never lost a paddle while out for the day, it’s bound to happen at least once. If you don’t have a floating paddle with you, you would be down Schitt’s Creek without a paddle (Great show)!
Some paddles that come with the paddle boards do NOT float so do a little test with it before going out on the water. Chances are if it’s a cheap paddle it won’t be much use anyway so get a good quality paddle to begin with.,
You can use whatever paddle you prefer, but if you’re looking to elevate your paddle boarding experience, Werner paddles are worth looking into. They have different paddles for every adventure, are lightweight and great for long treks.
The water can be unpredictable at times. Having a SUP leash is going to be essential if you are to fall off your board. This can ensure you don’t lose track of your paddle board in the currents.
There are a few options for SUP leashes. You can choose to have one attached to your calf, or ankle. Ankles leashes tend to be the most popular, but you can go with whatever makes you the most comfortable. It’s better to have any one of those than none.
Fortunately most SUP manufacturers have a SUP leash that comes with the package. One less thing to buy!
It doesn’t matter if you’re paddling in the hottest weather or the coldest; you’ll need water to keep you hydrated. Paddling is an exercise, and as you burn calories, your body is going to need to hydrate! Bringing plenty of water with you can prevent dehydration while you’re paddling.
I know after about an hour of paddling I start to get headaches if I don’t have water! I usually bring two bottles. One for onboard and one for the car when I get back!
Sunglasses are essential when paddle boarding. The obvious reason is that they protect your eyes from harmful rays. The other reason is that if the sun is interfering with your vision, you may make mistakes and cause an accident.
You don’t need to have the most expensive pair of sunglasses. Ideally, you’ll have a pair that’s able to actually protect your eyes, but any pair is better than none.
In my personal experience I like wearing my Shady Rays! They are inexpensive, great quality and if you lose them(which is a real possibility if you are a paddleboarder) you just have to pay $20 and you get a replacement pair back!
Some people don’t want to take their phones on a paddle board because they’re worried they’ll drop them into the water and never see them again. While that’s a valid fear, you can still take your phone with you as you make your way through the water.
That being said, you may want to consider getting a waterproof phone case or container to prevent water from damaging your phone. Amazon has tons available. One that has a string to tie around your neck, or elsewhere can help keep your phone from falling overboard and getting lost.
If you have a PFD with pockets this is a good place to keep it as well.
Other Accessories to Have
If you’re content with the above paddle boarding supplies, then you’re good to go! Those are the most important, after all. But, if you’re curious about some other paddle boarding accessories that may be beneficial to you, keep reading.
Electric SUP Pump
If you’re using an inflatable paddle board, an electric SUP pump is going to be your best friend. Why work harder when you can work smarter. Paddle boarding is already an arm workout on its own, so manually pumping your board before paddling may cause too much muscle fatigue.
Electric SUP pumps can inflate your board quicker and without tiring you out before you hit the water. You’ll want to check your board to make sure the pump you’re looking at can work for you, but if you’re looking for a suggestion, Outdoor Master, and Irocker Pumps are fantastic.
I’m going to be looking to snag one of these when they come on sale because every time I’m manually pumping my board I always ask myself why I don’t have an electric pump!
Dry bags aren’t essential for paddle boarders, but they do come in handy. When you’re bringing things along that you don’t want to get wet, you’ll want to use a quality dry bag. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with the fact that your stuff is going to get wet.
You can find dry bags at most outdoor stores and online. One of my favorite dry bags is from NRS, but any dry bag will benefit you if you don’t want your phone or other items getting wet.
Paddle Board Shoes
Not everyone needs or wants to wear shoes when they go paddle boarding. Depending on where you’re paddling, you will need different types of water shoes. For example, you won’t want to wear paddle boarding shoes that expose your feet if the water is cold.
If you’re interested in buying a new pair of paddle boarding shoes, you can’t go wrong with the Keen Men’s Newport shoes. They’re high-quality, fairly stylish, and will keep you from slipping around on your board. If those aren’t for you, there’s plenty of options in our above guide.
>Check Out our top recommendations based on experienced paddle boarders in our best paddle boarding shoes guide.
Similar to paddle boarding shoes, whether you need a wetsuit or not depends predominantly on the weather and water temperature. When it’s warm out, most people opt for no wetsuit. When the temperature drops, wearing a wetsuit can help keep you warm if you were to fall into the water.
There are dozens of types of wetsuits. If the water and weather are cold, you’ll want to find one that provides warmth and covers as much of your body as possible. When the weather is slightly warmer, you may find you’re okay with a short-sleeved and shorts wetsuit.
A Good Women’s Pick
Unless you’re regularly paddling in cold weather, you may not need a dry suit. Drysuits are great for providing your body with insulation in the chilly weather. Unlike a wetsuit, these will keep you warm without you getting wet.
Drysuits not only provide more insulation than a wetsuit, but they tend to be more comfortable. This is because they’re not nearly as tight on the body except for the cuffs, where they’re sealed to keep heat in.
Coolers are great accessories to have when you’re paddle boarding. You can bring more water or other drinks, snacks, lunch; you name it. They’re not necessary for every paddling trip, but when you’re going to be on the water for a lengthy period of time, you may want to consider this accessory.
Any cooler will do just fine, but ideally, you’ll have one that will keep your food and drinks colder for longer. Some brands, like Yeti Coolers, are known for making coolers that keep items cold for 12 to 24 hours. These coolers are great for long paddling trips so that you don’t need to eat warm food or drink warm water.
One of the best parts of paddle boarding is standing up, standing on your knees, or sitting down. While you can sit down on your paddle board, it isn’t always the most comfortable option, especially on longer trips. Even though paddle boarding is a workout, sometimes you want to have a lazy day on the water. Kayak seats are a great way to do so.
A great accessory to have if you want to be able to sit down without feeling uncomfortable is to get kayak seats. These accessories turn your paddle board into a kayak essentially.
A great option if you’re interested in kayak seats is the Irocker Kayak Hybrid. Don’t worry if that seat isn’t for you.
Anchors are another great accessory to have in your paddle boarding kit but aren’t always necessary. Many people love using an anchor to keep them in place in the water while they enjoy nature, a snack, or while taking pictures. Other reasons you may want an anchor are so you can fish without drifting from your line or so you can practice yoga.
Anchors are beneficial for those paddling in calmer waters that won’t knock you down as you’re taking a break from paddling.
Spare fins may not be the accessory you want to carry with you while you’re paddling, but it doesn’t hurt to keep them at home or in your car. Since the fins help you stay in a relatively straight line, when they’re broken or not working correctly, it can make for an irritating time.
If you are big on On-Water SUP perfomance you can also use differnet types of fins for your paddle board depending on what kind of conditions you are facing!
Before you buy a spare fin or two, you’ll want to make sure it will fit your paddle board. I personally love the NIXY 9 inch center fin because it works on almost all inflatable and stand-up paddle boards.
If you’re going on a paddling trip where you’re going to need a wetsuit or drysuit, getting a pair of neoprene gloves is a good idea. Neoprene gloves will help keep your hands warm when you’re paddling in chilly weather.
When you’re paddling in the Winter, your hand movements can get restricted if they’re too cold. If you can’t use your hands as well, as usual, it can make things a bit more uncomfortable.
The Womens version of NRS Hydroskin Gloves.
LED lights can make everything a little more fun. You can get waterproof LED lights for your SUP. Whether you’re interested in getting them because they can add some personality to your board or because they make you visible when night paddling, they’re a fantastic accessory to add to your paddle board.
They’re not necessary, of course, but they allow for some cool board nights!. Most LED lights come in several colors, or you can look into products that let you change the shade with a switch or app on your phone.
SUP Carrier Sling
Whether you have a hard SUP or an inflatable one, having a place to put it when carrying it to your location is important.
SUP carriers are great for transporting your paddle board to and from your launch location. You don’t necessarily need these if you have a light board, but if you have a larger board and you are of a smaller build it may be a good idea to get one of these!
You don’t need any or all attachments for your paddle board, but they’re pretty appealing, depending on your situation. In my experience the paddle board company that has the most attachments is iRocker.
Having an attachment to hold your fishing rod while on your paddle board is an excellent idea if you love fishing. It gives you a place to rest the rod while you wait for the fish to bite.
You don’t need to have this accessory, but it’s a nice way to give your arms a total rest after paddling and before you need to reel in your catch. Plus you have somewhere to place the rod when you are paddling!
If you’ve never considered fishing from your paddle board, you should! They’re extremely quiet and allow you to sneak up on fish without causing a huge stir.
Drink holders are another practical accessory. As mentioned earlier, you’re going to need plenty of water when you’re out paddle boarding. Having a place where you can set your drink down and not worry if it’s going to roll off your board will make your life much easier.
If you’re interested in getting a drink holder attachment, make sure you read the product description first. You’ll want to ensure you’re getting one that can hold whatever type of drink you’re bringing. A universal drink holder is an excellent idea, so you can fit multiple sizes for your bottle or can.
Go Pro Holders
Not everyone has a GoPro, and even those who do, don’t always bring it with them when paddle boarding. If you’re anything like me, taking videos of my paddling trips is what I enjoy doing. Since paddling and holding a GoPro at the same time is a little tricky, a sturdy holder is a perfect solution.
GoPro offers a variety of different mounts that can be attached to most things, including paddle boards. You’ll want to make sure you have a waterproof case for your camera and a holder that fits your specific GoPro properly before you hit record and start paddling.
Cell Phone Holders
Just because you don’t have a GoPro doesn’t mean you can’t capture great pictures or videos when you’re paddle boarding. Getting a cell phone holder can allow you to mount your phone for pictures and videos.
Besides that, it gives you a place to set your phone without having to worry about whether it’s fallen overboard or not. If you plan on getting a cell phone holder, you may want to get a waterproof case too. This way, if water splashes onto the cell phone holder, you don’t need to stress about water damage.
You’re more than welcome to play music or a podcast from your phone, but even at maximum volume, it can be hard to hear over the water. Speakers are the perfect solution to that problem. As with all technology on a paddle board, you’ll want to look into waterproof or water-resistant speakers.
I personally love bringing this when I paddle board with my music loving friends. It definitely enhances the trip when you jam comes on the speaker!
Theres a little bridge that we like to paddle under to go and play music under where it amplifies the sound and makes it sound like a concert! Good times!
Most speakers use BlueTooth technology nowadays, but that’s something to look for too. Another great feature to look for is one with suction so it can stick to your SUP.
Carrying your paddle board to and from the water can be taxing. Using a SUP cart can make the process much easier, especially when you’re exhausted from a long day on the water. Most carts have wheels which make transporting your board almost effortless.
If you have no problem carrying your paddle board, this may be a waste of money for you. On the other hand, it’s definitely a handy accessory to have or at least look at. I know this has saved my arms on more than one occasion.
Paddle Board Bag
A paddle board is an investment. When you invest in something, you’ll want to take the best possible care of it. Getting a paddle board bag is one way you can take great care of your inflatable paddle board.
After trying a few SUP bags out I really liked the Nixy Bag the best due to its material, heavy duty construction and its 3 wheels to support the SUP as you are rolling along. I also love the paddle holders on the side and the ample amount of room you get in the pockets!
Most hard paddle boards are coated in some type of epoxy. Storing your board in a proper bag when it’s not in use can keep it in good condition for longer. It can protect your board from natural elements as well as damage from transporting it to and from locations.
Paddle Board Fishing Accessories
Paddle boards are perfect for fishing. If you want to take your paddle board out for a day of fishing, you’ll want to have the proper fishing setup and accessories. You will want to look into seats, rod attachments, and other fishing necessities.
Thankfully we have a full guide about Paddle Board Fishing Accessories
There’s so much to learn about what to bring and not to bring with you when paddle boarding. While you can do what you want, take it from the experienced paddlers. If you still have questions regarding what accessories to bring or get for your paddle board, I’ve got you covered.
What Should I Carry on a Paddle Board?
Before you start your paddle boarding trip, you’ll need to bring some necessities with you. You should carry these items on your paddle board:
- A personal flotation device (PFD)
- Plenty of water to drink throughout your trip
- An extra SUP paddle
- A SUP leash
- A waterproof phone case
These are the bare necessities you’ll need to carry with you on your paddle board. If you’re going paddling in the Winter or in colder environments, you may have more required accessories such as neoprene gloves, shoes, and a wetsuit or drysuit.
Is a Life Jacket Required on a Paddle Board?
It depends. If you’re paddle boarding in a designated swimming, bathing, or surfing area, you can legally go without one.
If you’re paddling anywhere other than one of those designated areas, you must have a USCG (United States Coast Guard) approved PFD on board at all times. While you have to have it on board at all times, you don’t need to be wearing it at all times. It needs to be within reach in case something happens.
That being said, even though you don’t need to wear it at all times, doing so is the best way to prevent drowning in case of an emergency.
How Do You Take Things on a Paddle Board?
Dry bags are one of the best ways to bring almost anything on your paddle board. Not only will they keep everything dry, but it gives you a place to securely keep your phone, wallet, keys, whatever you’re bringing.
Besides having a place to put everything, you’ll want something that will secure the bag down. Some paddle boards come with straps where you can place your bag underneath. The best piece of advice I have is to pack light, so you don’t have to worry about where to place so many things on your board.
How Do I Keep My Things Dry on a Paddle Board?
Even if you’re a pro paddle boarder, you and some of your stuff are likely to get wet when you’re paddling. Dry bags are the best way to keep everything dry. They’re designed to prevent water from seeping in and damaging whatever you’ve put inside.
What We’ve Learned
Paddle boarding is one of the most fun and rewarding water activities. You can go in a group or venture solo. Whether you’re with friends or on your own, there’s paddle board gear you can’t go without.
The important accessories such as a PFD, water, sunglasses, and more are essential, and you won’t want to paddle board without them. There are dozens of other useful and fun accessories to use on your board, like LED lights, seats, coolers, you name it.
Paddle boarding is a personal experience, and what you want on your board may differ from your friends. Knowing what options you have for important and other accessories can help you find the best inflatable SUP accessories for you.