15 Top Paddle Board Accessories: Needs & Fun-to-Haves

8-minute read

Paddle boarding (SUP) is pretty straightforward: you need a board, a paddle and a PFD. Depending on your situation, there are other accessories you may need to cover safety. And there are options you can choose that add to your enjoyment on the water.

SUP paddle in Green Tide laying on a paddle board

You’ll want to invest in some of these accessories as soon as you get a SUP board. Others can wait until your budget allows or you decide they’ll add to your fun.

Must-Have SUP & Safety Accessories

1. SUP Paddle

Of course, you can’t paddle board without a paddle! Most low and medium-end boards come with one as part of the package. Almost all these paddles are heavy and clunky, though.

We guarantee you’ll enjoy paddle boarding more with a well-designed and lightweight paddle that’s comfortable to hold and the right size for you. This is especially true if you want to make SUP a lifestyle sport and plan to spend many hours at a time on the water.

The better materials used in a paddle and the lighter it is, the higher its price will be. We recommend you save 20-30% of your paddle board budget for your paddle.

We make our SUP from various materials including aluminum, fiberglass and carbon. Take a look at our selection here.

Also see our SUP Paddle Sizing Guide

2. PFD or Life Jacket

PFD stands for Personal Flotation Device. Most state/provincial governments have laws about PFD use when boating. So know the laws where you’ll be paddling.

PFDs vary widely in style, comfort level and price. We suggest you try on several brands and types and choose one that fits your body well. If it’s not comfortable, you’ll hate wearing it.

Many manufacturers make PFDs that are paddling-specific, meaning there’s plenty of room for your shoulders to move. Models that include pockets and D-rings are handy for stowing keys and other items you wouldn’t want to lose.

man on SUP board with vest-style inflatable PFD 

This vest-style inflatable PFD is super low-profile

If you don’t want to wear a traditional bulky PFD, consider a self-inflating vest or belt style. These start on the pricey side, but very low profile. They inflate with a Co2 canister. Some inflate automatically upon impact with the water and others inflate only with a pull cord.

Also see: Safety First: Wear a Life Jacket When You SUP

3. Leash

A SUP leash is another important safety accessory. This is especially true if you’re on moving water, in windy conditions or on big water. If you fall off your board, the leash keeps you connected to it. It won’t be 50 feet downstream by the time you resurface or blown 30 feet across the lake.

Again, most low and medium-end boards include a leash in the package. If your board doesn’t come with one, plan to add it to your need-to-have accessory list.

Protect Your Things and Yourself

4. Dry Bags, Board Coolers and Other Waterproof Containers

Look for a paddle board with bungee cords and/or D-ring attachments. That way you can secure the items you bring along in one or two containers and keep them dry.

Dry bags of various sizes are a wonderful investment for any paddler, and especially for SUPers. If you prefer hard cases, there are some fishing cases on the market that are small, waterproof and ideal for holding chapstick, snacks, First Aid supplies and other small items.

 cooler/seat/drink holder on a SUP board, paddle attached

All-in-one SUP set-up with cooler, seat and drink holder! (photo courtesy of Chris Funk)

Small coolers and other types of waterproof or water-friendly containers designed for SUPs are available, too.

5. Waterproof Phone Case and/or Hip Bag

If you like the idea of taking pictures with your smart phone when you’re out paddle boarding, invest in a waterproof phone case designed for the purpose. It’ll include a lanyard so you can hang it around your neck. While your phone may be 100% waterproof, it won’t float if you drop it in!

(WARNING: These cases don’t seem to be overly durable, so be sure to check seams and attachment points every time you use it. Yes, speaking from experience!)

If your PFD doesn’t have pockets for your keys, ID or other important items you bring along, get a waterproof hip bag to keep them in while you paddle.

Both items are widely available in online and in-person retail stores.

6. Water shoes

Depending on where you plan to SUP, consider a pair of comfortable water shoes. They’ll protect your feet from hot sand, rocks, gravel, broken glass and other hazards while you walk to and from your launch point.

If you don’t want to wear them on your board, you can always strap them to your bungees or put them inside a dry bag while you paddle.

shot of person's legs SUPing with water shoes on

Shoes like these are made for paddling

7. Sunglasses and Brimmed Hat

Protect your eyes from those bright glares on the water with a pair of polarized sunglasses. You won’t have to squint on sunny days, and the polarization helps you see past the surface reflection into the water.

You may also consider a floatable retainer strap that keeps your sunglasses around your neck when you’re not wearing them, or on the surface if you should drop them in the water.

A brimmed hat is a great investment to keep the hot sun directly off your face and neck. (You’ll still get some sun from the water’s reflection, FYI.)

Storing, Transporting and Using Your Paddle Board

8-10. For Solid Paddle Boards

If you opt for a solid paddle board, you’ll want to consider a storage rack system for at home, and one for transporting on your vehicle. There are a variety of racks available for both a garage or inside room to hang or place a board. And there are racks available for vehicles to bring it wherever you’ll paddle.

If you’ll need to store your board outdoors, consider a cover that fits over it to protect the colors and finish from the sun’s UV rays.

You may want a carry strap or sling to help as you carry it from your vehicle to the water. These are especially handy if you can attach your paddle to it, too, and leave another hand free to carry other gear.

11-12. For Inflatable Boards

Inflatable SUPs don’t present the same kinds of storage and transport issues a solid board does. If you have room in a closet and your backseat or trunk, you can store and transport an inflatable board.

Inflatable boards come with a hand pump for inflation. This is very doable—but it’s a lot of work to get a board up to the recommended PSI. If you enjoy a pre-paddle arm workout and have plenty of upper body strength, you’ll have no problem inflating with a hand pump.

But if you’d rather save your energy for the water, consider buying an electric pump to inflate your board. It takes about the same amount of time, but while the machine is doing the work, you can get the rest of your gear ready.

Inflatable boards also come with their own repair kit, but if you’ll be in the wilderness or other type of remote waterway, consider buying a more robust one.

Dogs, Kids and More

You’ve likely seen the fun photos of people paddle boarding with their dog or a child or two. This is a great way to enjoy the water and spend time together. And more and more SUP manufacturers are offering adaptable or hybrid models, making a SUP a combo paddle board and kayak.

dog with PFD sitting on the front of a paddle board on a calm lake

Many dogs love being on the water, too!

13. Attachable Seat/Foot Rest

Some SUPs are designed as hybrid models. They come with a seat and (hopefully) foot rest so you can paddle it sitting down like a kayak or standing like a SUP.

If your board has the right attachments points, you can buy a seat separately, too. There are a few models that are made to be used with paddle boards. These seats are also a way for a young child to sit comfortably if you’ll be on the water for more than an hour or two.

14. Dog Pad

If your SUP doesn’t have a non-slip surface over the whole thing and you want to bring your dog along, there are dog pads available to give it more traction.

15. Dog Life Jackets/PFD

While dogs can swim (and some can swim very well), it’s still a good idea to invest in a PFD for your pooch for a couple of reasons:

  • In an emergency, that’s one less thing you have to worry about.
  • It will have a grab handle on the top in case you need to bring it back on board.
  • The bright colors make your dog easy to see if it’s in the water and other boaters are around.

Also see: Best Dog Life Jackets.

There you have it, SUP accessories you can start with and add to your collection as time goes on. Enjoy your paddle boarding adventures!

Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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