With a modest lifting of lockdown restrictions happening some stand up paddle boarders may be in a position to head back out and make use of their freedom (in England at least). There are some basic SUP gear checks you should carry out, however, if this is going to be your first outing in a while.
Whether you own an inflatable or hard SUP it’s worth giving your platform a once over. Check for dings and/or splits – no matter how small. If you come across damage then fix it pronto. For inflatable SUPers a basic repair kit should’ve been provided that you can use. Hard shell board pilots may need to seek assistance of board repairs unless you happen to adept. Certainly don’t leave dings and hope for the best…
Check all connections of your SUP paddle are solid. Sometimes glue can fail causing shafts and blades to become separated. Same with handles. If you own an adjustable type then tighten screws where applicable and ensure there’s no ‘play’ or movement where the extension is. Hairline fractures can also be an issue with paddles. Inspect all parts of your SUP paddle to try and determine if there are any that’ll affect the paddle’s integrity. These can be hard to spot so worth scrutinising multiple times.
Stand up paddle board fins can pick up all kinds of nicks and damage. In particular fin pins that run along the fin box track of a US box can come loose. Also, the fin head where bolts poke through can snap off so have a look/see. If you’re running side bites then check connections here as well. For dodgy looking fins are those needing repair get yourself a new set.
SUP leash, plug and retainer
It should go without saying that a SUP leash should be replaced regularly. Stresses and strains leashes are under require an update frequently. But it’s not just the leash itself. Make sure your Velcro cuff, retainer, swivel and leash plug (especially on hard SUPs) are in good working order.
Paddling attire is key during the early part of the UK’s SUP season. It may be sunny but waters are chilly and if you venture out for early morning paddles then you may encounter thin frosts. Make sure your SUP apparel is adequate. Layering is always best practice as you can remove as necessary. For immersive paddling, such as SUP surfing where you’re liable to fall, wear a good wetsuit. As with all the above replace/upgrade kit where necessary.
Note: these checks aren’t just for post-lockdown paddling. They should be carried out as standard before going afloat each session.