The Best Paddle Board Accessories That You Need and Want

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You’ve got your board and your paddle (hopefully), but now you are probably wondering what the best paddle board accessories are to bring aboard. 

There are a lot of them aren’t there?  In this article, we will start with the most essential paddle board accessories and work our way down. We wanted to make things less complicated for you.

We will also rate how essential each accessory is to make sure you prioritize what you are bringing on board. With almost a decade of paddle boarding experience, I recommend useful accessories that both me and my friends use when going out. 

The Best Paddle Board Accessories List

Below are 36 of the Best Paddle Board Accessories that we can think of that are either must-haves or simply make your life easier setting up or on the water. Let’s get into it!

Must-Have Paddle Board Accessories

These are accessories that you should not leave the shore with. Many of them are also required by law depending on what country you are on. So don’t sleep in these! Layering is also very important. We cover What to Wear Paddle Boarding here.

Take a look at SUP laws to see what applies to you. 

1. SUP Leash

Thankfully 90% of paddle board companies have paddle boards that come with a leash. If your package did not come with a leash then go out and buy one. They are like $6- $36 so no excuses!

Leashes help your board stay with you in case you fall off. They also don’t get in your way when you need to climb back onto your board. For the most part, a SUP leash is pretty standard across most manufacturers. 

What you want to look for is 2 swivel points on the ankle part and an attachment point. As well as neoprene covering around the ankle for comfort. I like the Nixy leash but there are a lot of good options out there.  

The main thing you have to be aware of is when paddling in calm conditions (80% of paddle boarding) get a coiled leash. When you are surfing or doing white water paddling a straight leash is recommended so that it does not snag on rocks or vegetation. 

2. Personal Floatation Device

me paddling Atoll

A Personal Floatation Device or PFD is essential for people who may not be the best swimmers. It’s also often required by law to have one. Infact…

In 2021 Out of the 18 listed Paddle Board Deaths in the United States 15 (83%) Were caused by Drowning which could have been prevented if they have the right PFD on.”

USCG Boating Statistics 2021 (Page 48)

There are several different types of PFDs you can wear including a life vest, inflatable belt, or manual PFDs. What you choose for a PFD is a personal choice based on how adept you are at swimming and what your preference is. 

Life vests should have little material in the way of your arms and should be worn by those who are not great swimmers. Life vests like Onyx or Mustang Survival are some of my preferences. 

For Belt and Manual PFDs these should be worn by paddlers who are good at swimming. Belt and manual PFDs take up less space and are considerably less bulky compared to life vests. They are manual inflation so as soon as you pull the tab the tube inflates for you to grab on. You do have to think of replacing the cartridge every few uses. 

We have our Best Paddle Board Life Jackets here.

3. SUP Paddle

Unless you want to doggy paddle on your board you are going to have a tough time getting to where you want to go without a paddle! The good news is most SUP packages come with a paddle. The cheaper the paddle board package you get, the cheaper the paddle will be. 

Starter SUP Paddles come in Cheap paddleboard packages usually $500 and below. Fiberglass and “Carbon Hybrid Paddles” Usually come with boards above $500 and are more lightweight and generally feel better for the paddler over time. 

As you get more experienced you are going to want a more lightweight and well-designed paddle for those longer excursions. My personal preference is fiberglass and carbon paddles as they are more lightweight and give you more of a performance boost. 

You can check out our Best SUP Paddles here. 

4. SUP Hand Pump

How are you going to inflate that board without a SUP Pump then? While we prefer our electric pumps. SUP hand pumps still come in handy when you are in locations where using a power source like your car is not available.

There are several different types of hand pumps available including Double Action, Triple Action. Most hand pumps come with a single cylinder that pumps air or 2 cylinders. The 2 cylinder SUP pumps push out a greater volume of air but take up more space.

We go through all of the Best SUP Hand Pumps that we have tested so far over here.

5. Water/ Hydration Beverages

This does not get mentioned in these lists but I’ll consider it a necessity. If you are someone like me who needs to drink a lot of water each day don’t sleep on the risks of dehydration

Even if you are paddling for an hour or two. I usually like to bring a minimum of 2 water bottles with me stashed under the deck bungees. If you need bottles you can grab a soft or hard cooler for them. 

One thing I will say is if you do decide to be a rebel and bring some alcoholic beverages double up on water! Alcohol can dehydrate you at a way faster rate when you are in the sun so be careful weekend warriors. 🙂

6. Brimmed Hat

Photo from Tily

I would also classify this as essential when the sun is beaming outside. Look for hats with a brim around the whole head. Less sun equals less chance of heat stroke! 

Some good brimmed hats for water use would be a Tiley hat! If you register their hat you get a lifetime warranty on them, which is worth the initial investment. Especially if you are an outdoors enthusiast. 

7. Dog PFD

If you are bringing your furry friend paddling make sure you get them a PFD. This is not something I would cheap out on either. 

Dogs can jump off on a whim and it’s not recommended that you tie their leash to the board in case of entanglement. I would also highly recommend looking for a PFD that has a handle on it so you can pick them out of the water in case that swan they are chasing starts to turn the tables! 

If you want your pooch to go paddling with you I suggest that you read up on our Can Dogs Go On Inflatable Paddle Boards? article.
We also go more in-depth with paddle board accessories for your dog here.

Good Paddle Board Accessories to have for Set-Up

These are items that make your life a heck of a lot easier when setting up and taking down your paddle board. 

8. Electric SUP Pump 

Electric Pumps are the accessory that will make your life easiest and it is by far one of the ones I recommend you spend the extra $100 on and upgrade. For those who love paddle boarding and go at least once a week, I would call this a necessity. 

Not only does it save a lot of effort on your part but manually pumping SUPs is an arduous job and hard on the back. Electric SUP Pumps also save you time. As you are pumping up your SUP with an electric pump you can do other things like putting stuff like bags, in the trunk, set up the board with coolers and other add-ons, etc. 

I have tested several electric pumps and my favorites have been the Shark II Outdoor Master and the iRocker Electric Pumps. One thing I would highly recommend is looking for an electric pump with a deflate valve. This makes packing up the paddle board a lot easier as it sucks up the access air from the SUP, making it a heck of a lot easier to fold!

If you are looking to be particularly thrifty, some packages like the iRocker All Around 11 Ultra come with an electric pump! We are seeing more and more SUP companies jump onto the wagon of including an electric pump with their SUP packages now. 

You can Check out our Best Electric SUP Pumps article here. 

9. Electric Pump Battery

If you have an electric pump but you have to hike ways to inflate your SUP an electric pump battery is your friend. The electric pump plugs into the battery and powers off of it which means you don’t always need your car close by. 

I don’t use this very often as most of the time my car is close to our launching point but for those who like to backcountry it or have to hike to get to a SUP spot, this would be a great investment. 

The best electric pump batteries in our experience are the Nixy Power Pack and the iRocker Electric Pump Battery. You can do about 2-3 inflations before you need to charge the battery packs. 

10. Shoulder Paddle Board Carrier

For those who are a bit shorter or have a long way to walk to the shoreline, a shoulder carrier strap is a way to go. The shoulder carrier strap just needs 2 D rings on the side of the board to clip onto (preferably in the middle). 

It helps relieve the pressure off your hand and arm and allows you to use your whole body to help you carry the board instead of it being isolated to your arm and shoulder. Think of this as carrying that heavy high school backpack with your arms versus putting it on your shoulders. Same sort of idea

iRocker has a good carry strap that should fit most boards that have 2 free D rings on the sides. 

11. Landing Mat

As I have had to wrestle around with my paddle board in dead grass over the years I’ve come to realize more and more how handy this accessory is! Especially when the board is wet. 

Having a clean landing mat keeps your board from getting grassy and having dirt/ rocks collected on it which can contribute to the wear and tear of your board over time. Don’t make the same mistake as me having just spent the time hosing the board off only for it to get dirty again! 

Both iRocker and Nixy have handy landing mats that come with stakes that allow you to keep the mat sealed to the ground as you would with a tent or a tarp. 

12. Paddle Board Storage Bag

Most Inflatable paddle board packages do come with a storage bag. Mind you some are better than others. If you wanted to upgrade your bag I’d recommend getting the Nixy Backpack. 

The Nixy Backpack has ample pockets, comfortable paddling on the back, and wheels which give you the choice of carrying the bag or wheeling it to your set-up point. 

The Nixy bag has many pockets to keep your odds and ends all together with a designated place for spare fins and the like. I also like how big the front pocket is. It’s big enough to store a life vest and repair kit!

For Hard paddle boards, you can get a carry bag that helps protect the board from getting dents or bruises which will elongate the board’s life over time. Amazon has a few good-quality picks that you can choose from. 

Paddle Board Accessories for the Water

While these accessories are not vital to enjoying your time out on the water they will make life a bit easier or enjoyable. Take your pick!

13. Waterproof Phone Case

For those who have meetings on the go or like to take some pics of their adventure, these are essential to have. Yes, many cell phones are waterproof these days but having one of these floating waterproof cases helps save you from the worst-case scenario of saying goodbye to your phone as it sinks into the murky depths. 

These are cheap, and can still take good pictures (if there no water near the lens part). So really there is no excuse not to have one if you plan on taking your phone out on the water. 

PS: These make good stocking stuffers!

14. Dry Bag

I only recently started using one last year and I have to say they are a game changer. I now can bring my wallet, car keys and change of clothes with me without worrying about these essential items getting wet!

The type and size of drybag is up to you. It just depends how much stuff you want to bring with you that you don’t want to get wet! I personally like the 10 L size as it’s a good size for the front or reward deck bungees.  

Just make sure they are waterproof and give them a test run before putting anything truly valuable in there first. 

You Can Check Out the Best Paddle Board Drybags here. 

15. Soft Cooler

For those who are acting as the beverage mule, I’d recommend one of these to bring onto the water for a few hours.  

How big the cooler will be will depend on how many friends are going along with you! I usually find that coolers with a 10-can capacity are good for 3-4 paddlers for a few hours on the water. 

Anything more and you may need to look into a bigger soft cooler or a big hard cooler. We will mention more about the hard coolers in the fishing section below.  

The SUP-Now Paddle Board cooler is a great pick for 10 cans and can be mounted by clips or suction pads. Making it a very versatile pick made especially for SUPs. 

Check out our Best SUP Coolers here. 

16. SUP Deck Bag

These are ideal for people who want to bring more items that are more easily accessible than using a dry bag. I find that grabbing items out of a deck bag is monumentally easier than sorting through a dry bag. This is because deck bags have pockets and compartments to store odds and ends. 

For those who want a premium deck bag, Red Paddle offers one of the best-designed ones. You can also go on Amazon and find something similar which should do a decent job as well. 

17. SUP Anchor

SUP anchors are great if you want to raft up at a certain spot for a while and not get dragged by wind, waves, or the tide. Being on a SUP you don’t want a huge 30 lb anchor as it just takes up too much space. 

Thankfully there are compact folding anchors like the Pelican Compact Anchor Kit on Amazon.

Anchors are ideal for tying some boards together and making rafts, SUP fishing, and SUP Yoga. So that you don’t need to interrupt your activity to constantly fiddle with your paddle. 

18. Kayak Conversion Seats/ Kits

Kayak conversion seats are a great alternative for those who feel more comfortable sitting and paddling or simply taking a break to sit and paddle. When looking for a kayak conversion package I look for something that has the kayak seat and kayak paddle attachment included. Otherwise you have to purchase them separately which gets a tad bit more expensive. 

Before purchasing take a look at your SUP set up and make sure that there is a minimum of 1 free D rings on either side of the board. Some Kayak packages require 4 free D rings so make sure you keep note of this. 

For 2 D rings we recommend the Nixy kayak seat

For 4 Free D rings we recommend the iRocker kayak Conversion package

Check out our Best SUP Seats here.

19. SUP Shoes/ Sandals

Truth be told you will feel a bit more stable if you don’t have shoes while onboard. This is due to you being able to feel the board better and not having a higher center of gravity with bare feet. But to get to the shoreline you usually need some SUP shoes or sandals to protect your feet from rocks and other pointy things you encounter. 

I usually use sandals to get to the water although truth be told they can be annoying as heck to walk through the water with your SUP. 

A lot of this is down to personal preference, some people prefer to have fully designated SUP shoes/water shoes on their feet the entire time. Some prefer barefoot and some like to keep their sandals on. 

We have an article on the Best SUP Shoes here. 

20. Navigation Lights

If you want to go for a SUP after work but know that you may be encountering some darkness it’s best to install your SUP lights! SUP navigation lights are a must for paddling at night and in places like Canada, it’s the law. 

It can be a bit complicated to install them, but thankfully Nixy has some navigation lights it sells to make sure you are fully visible on the water when it’s dark out. 

21. Fanny Pack 

As you gain more experience paddle boarding you will fall in the water less and less. As soon as you gain that confidence you can wear a fanny pack to put things and keep them directly on you. 

Small items such as cell phones, keys, and wallets can be stashed in there. Some people just grab regular fanny packs but if you are worried about falling in you can get a waterproof fanny pack from Amazon for under $20.

22. Waterproof Speaker 

This is a personal favorite accessory of mine as I just feel music enhances everything. Especially when you are out on the water with friends. 

Some people might say this is a faux pa, but I don’t see anything wrong with it in popular areas as long as you are respectful of the people and wildlife around you. I find that seals are more likely to come up to me when paddling because they are curious about the vibrations made by the speaker in the water. 

If you are paddling with a group I would avoid the small speakers as they are not loud enough when you are paddling with a bunch of your friends. 

I use the Altec Lansing Speaker by JBL It’s been exposed to salt water, waves, and just about any kind of water condition you can think of within reason. It has lasted me 3 years so far and it is still going strong!

23. Go Pro

This is the picture quality of the Go Pro Hero 4

Did you see that time I almost got eaten by a sea lion? I don’t have it on film but it happened!”  .. “Sure Bro”

Go Pros are a great way to capture incredible footage of some of the cool stuff you have seen and done that you didn’t know would happen. And yes the Sea Lion story is partially true (he was more curious of me than anything).

For all of Inflatable SUP Authority’s On-Water Performance videos, I use a Go Pro with a chest mount. The video quality even from the Go Pro 4 is still pretty good and I often keep the video format for the videos I post on Youtube.

You can also mount Go Pros through action mounts, headcams, or even a Go Pro stick. 

24. Spare Fins

Almost all paddle boards that I know of come with some fins. But sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances, they get lost or misplaced. And let’s face it, paddle boarding without a fin is almost as bad as paddle boarding without a paddle! 

Spare fins are also great for experimenting with the board’s set-up. Some fins will make the board track straighter while others will make the board more maneuverable / faster. I bought a Sea Gods Flexible touring fins and it’s been able to find most of my boards that have a US Fin Box system. 

Make sure you look at your paddle board’s fin system and get the right type! We have more information on SUP Fin Setups here. 

25. Paddle Board Lock

This will mainly be for hard paddle boards. But if you don’t have a place to store it, and it needs to be in plain view of everything, a paddle board lock may be your best bet. It’s also a good bet to have when leaving your SUP unattended in public places. 

You can lock it against stationary items such as bike holders, around a tree, against your SUP carrier, etc. 

SUP Accessories For Cooler Weather

Just because it’s fall/ winter doesn’t mean that the paddle boarding has to stop! You just have to approach it a bit differently. Below are important items to have when paddling in the cold. 

Also just so that it’s out there. Please make sure you always paddle with a friend when in cooler conditions. Here are some What to Wear Winter Paddle Boarding Tips to help get you started on that. 

26. Rashguard 

Rashguards are like a hybrid between a shirt and a wetsuit and are used in temperate waters. Generally, waters that are 70 F and above. They can also be used as a layer in what you wear under your dry suit. 

Rashguards are relatively cheap and can be found in the $20 – $40 budget range. 

27. Wetsuit/ Drysuit

What you wear will depend greatly on the conditions outside and how often you enter the water. 

Wetsuits can be worn in anything from 42 – 72 F (22 – 6 C). The colder the water is the thicker the wetsuit you wear will be as well as the accessories you add to it. We have a full article on the best wetsuits for paddle boarding here. 

Drysuits, like their name entails keeps you dry and should be worn in 50 F (10 C) and lower. These are generally more expensive than wetsuits and involve layering what you feel comfortable with. We have a guide for the best drysuits for paddle boarding here. 

Here is a list of our Best Paddle Board Wetsuits

Here is a list of our Best Paddle Board Drysuits

28. Surf Booties

These are best to be paired with wetsuits as they keep your feet warm against water and waves you may run into. 

I recommend getting the right fit with these as they can cram your toes which isn’t good for anybody. :/ 

29. SUP Gloves

SUP Gloves are another thing to wear in cold temperatures. Or you could even wear them on normal days if you get blisters from the paddle after paddling long distances!

The thickness of the gloves will depend on how cold the water is and how often you think you will be in the water. 

30. Changing Parka 

I’ll fully admit that I have never used one of these things once. But I can see how handy they can be for fellow shy paddlers who don’t want to give others a show. You can use these to warm yourself up, shelter you from cold wind, or use them as a changing robe. 

The Aqua Parka by Gill seems to be one of the better picks out there. 

Add-On Accessories for Inflatable Paddle Boards

Add-On Accessories are great innovations to ISUPs that allow you to have more deck room thanks to screws installed onto the deck of the ISUP. Below we will detail what some of those are. 

31. Go Pro Mounts

Want to document your SUP journey without having to fiddle around with a chest mount/ head mount or a selfie stick? Place it on the board! The go pro mount screws directly onto your board’s action mounts. Just place it, decide the angle, and go!

32. Cell Phone Holders

This is one I have used recently and I liked it. I even entrusted my then-new Google Pixel 6 with it and it held on beautifully riding aboard the Nixy Monterey G4. 

Cell phone holders usually fit different types of phones as they are adjustable and can hold the phone vertically or in a landscape view. 

I personally like using the Nixy cell phone holder. 

33. Attachable Speakers

These are smaller speakers that are great for solo paddling. In my experience though I find they are harder to listen to when you are in groups. 

iRocker speakers are pretty handy to have screwed in the deck without worrying about taking up valuable deck space. 

34. Cup Holders

These are great additions and are worth getting in my opinion. I always have my eye very close on my beverage when it’s sitting on deck and try to be like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible trying not to rock the board and make my drink spill overboard.

With cup holders, you don’t need to worry about this. Put your drink in the cup and your off sailor!

Fishing Add-On Accessories

In previous times it could be some trouble figuring out how to keep your rod onto your paddle board without it falling off the deck or getting loose from the bungee deck webbing.

For more ideas about Fishing Accessories click here!

35. Fishing Rod Holders

fishing rod holder

These can be used on action mounts or Scotty Mounts depending on what your SUP has onboard. The more action mounts you have the more rods you can have hanging off of your board trying to get that next big catch. 

iRocker sells good fishing rod holders that screw into most brands’ action mount systems. They are compatible with 2021 and up Nautical boards and 2019 and iRocker and Blackfin SUPs. 

36. Fishing Rack systems

Fishing racks are a cool innovation that allows you to load multiple fishing rods onboard. Some manufacturers have more handy ones than others. 

Manufacturers like BOTE have a wide variety of fishing racks that range from bucket racks (rack that goes around the Kula cooler with rod holders) to Tackle racks and Power racks with have marine lighting systems. 

The taller racks are ideal for fly fishermen or fishermen who do a lot of casting and want something to hold onto just in case they hit waves. 

37. Hard Coolers 

Hard Coolers can be used for a wide variety of things from fish carcasses, to bait or just to keep your brews cool on a hot summer day. 

Hard coolers can double down as a chair to sit on as well when you are tired of paddling. Just be sure to properly secure it onboard! 

FAQs

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 
  • Sunglasses 
  • 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. 

If you are looking for what the best inflatable paddle boards that are compatible with these SUP accessories click here.

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Author:
Hey, My name is Derek Lenze and I'm the owner of Inflatable SUP Authority. I've had over 20 years experience with watersports and over 10 years of various paddle boarding experience. My new-found passion is bringing my stand up paddle boaring knowledge in an explainable and actionable way all the while giving you my unbiased takes.

2 thoughts on “The Best Paddle Board Accessories That You Need and Want”

  1. I just bought a new paddle board and had no idea what accessories I needed! This post was so helpful in finding the best ones for my board. The suggestions for paddle bags and stand bags were spot on, and I’m so glad I picked up the pump and inflator. Thanks for the informative post!

    Reply

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