Suppose you are lucky enough to find yourself planning to spend a day on a paddleboard tour. In that case, it can be tempting to rush out to the nearest beach as quickly as possible. If you rent a paddle board, you will want to make the most of your time and be as prepared as possible. Renting a board also means you don’t need to bring much to the beach because you can grab your board, rashies, or wetsuits once you get there. Even if you own your own, it is best to be organized in case the weather changes. I’ve made a checklist of everything that (in my opinion) is essential to take with you to have the perfect day out on the water. Some are arguably more essential than others, but it’s all to create the ideal setting.
- Sunscreen. It may go without saying that you need to be prepared on a sunny day. However, for paddleboarders, it is even more critical than ever. Due to the way that the sun reflects light off the surface of the water, it actually makes the UV more harmful. Therefore the chances of heat stroke, dehydration, or sunburn are far more likely. Zinc sunscreens are top-rated among paddleboarders since they work as a physical sunscreen, not a chemical one. The particles scatter the UV radiation, moving it away from your skin. This doesn’t actually rub into your skin, which is why you always see paddleboarders and surfers with white or blue marks all over their faces.
- Waterproof speaker. While this may seem entirely non-essential, if you’re lucky enough to find a secluded spot to explore on your own or with a group of friends, it’s perfect to have some music to accompany you. Just like you wouldn’t go to the gym without headphones, I certainly wouldn’t go paddleboarding without a speaker!
- An Aquapack. These are protective bags in which you can put your phone and still be able to use it. They often have a drawstring attached to the top of them, meaning you can wear them around your neck and know that you have all of your valuables with you.
- A dry bag. Often these come with handles that you can tie to the board itself to ensure there is no chance of it falling in. This means you can throw in your speaker, phones, etc., and have it within your sight at the end of your board. I’m sure many of you may think that the bag you currently own is waterproof enough. However, any bag that was not explicitly designed with water sports in mind does not tend to actually offer enough protection from water. Even if it doesn’t rain, the number of splashes, wet clothes, and more that it will come into contact with, will require it to be entirely waterproof. They also look a fair bit cooler than an ordinary bag.
- If you trust yourself, a camera is a must-have if you go paddleboarding with friends. So you can document these special moments and have a record of the places you’ve explored. I have a canon, but I wouldn’t trust myself to keep it and lenses safe and away from splashes!
- Sunglasses. Just like our skin is more at risk of damage in the water, so are our eyes. The sun’s rays are particularly harmful if you spend extended time around water, so they need to be protected. A regular pair of sunglasses are fine, but I recommend surfer’s sunglasses, which bob back up to the surface of the water if you drop them. Polarized sunglasses also reduce the glare reflected into your eyes, which are great for the sea, and reduce the chances of getting any headaches or migraines while you are out there. Either way, your frown lines will thank you!
- Plenty of water. Paddleboarding is a surprisingly strenuous sport, and you will likely get dehydrated. You may be reluctant to leave your spot. I recommend a bottle that holds around a liter.
- A surfer’s bucket hat. Again, many may argue that this is less essential and more of an aesthetic. Still, the top of your head is particularly exposed to the sun. I have often made the mistake of wearing plaits and leaving my hair parting exposed to the sun all day- leaving a painful burn down the center of my scalp. Of course, you can take any hat with you, but I find that surfer’s bucket hats look great, and they have a chin strap to keep them attached to you.
- An alternative to number 7, a neoprene beanie is perfect for keeping your head warm. Neoprene is typically the fabric used for wetsuits, which extends the insulating factors to the top of your head. They are much easier to wear than wetsuit hoods, though, because you can take them off quickly if you get too warm.
So whatever the weather, it is definitely best to be prepared to ensure you get the best experience while paddleboarding. This is, of course, a non-exhaustive list, but for me, it is the essentials I would not want to leave the house without. Some items you may not have lying around the house are certainly a smart investment to keep paddleboarding until the sun goes down.