How to make the most of paddle board season this summer

With the days getting longer and temperatures getting warmer, summer is definitely well and truly on its way. For us at Aquaplanet, the arrival of summer can only mean one thing…it's paddle board season! Although you can (and should) paddle board at any time of the year, it is no surprise that the hotter and sunnier months are the most popular choice for those heading out on a paddle board.

To help you out, here we share some of our Aquaplanet top tips for making the most of the glorious summer months with your paddle board.

Pick the right paddle board

Six Aquaplanet paddle boards.

Although it might seem obvious, having the right board for your choice of activity and skill level can massively impact your experience of paddle boarding. If you’re not quite a SUP pro just yet, don’t lie to yourself, invest in a wider paddle board. Wider boards will give you much greater stability on the water if you are just starting off. However, if you have more experience, then a wider board might be slightly slower on the water and feel a bit harder to turn. In this case, to use your paddle board to the maximum of your ability, boards with thinner widths are best. For the most experienced of paddle boarders, 29 inches wide or less tends to offer the most speed and mobility.

Most people like to use an all-round inflatable paddle board, however if you have a more niche paddle boarding hobby and want to make the most out of your time on the water, then investing in a specialised paddle board is probably a good idea. Activities that have specifically designed paddle boards include:

  • Racing - Longer, thinner shapes for more speed and glide
  • Touring - Long boards often with more stability and load carrying options
  • Yoga - Stable boards with an allround shape and a large deckpad/mat area
  • Surfing - Typically thinner, shorter boards with surf fin setups
  • Fishing - Wide, stable boards with lots of room for fishing kit and attachments

Likewise, if you are planning to undertake your paddle boarding adventures with a passenger, such as a pet or child, you will need to make sure that you have purchased a paddle board with the right weight capacity. If you overload a paddle board and exceed the weight limit, not only will the board perform poorly, but you and your passenger are also likely to end up in the water, probably more than once.

Dress to impress

Two people wearing Hurley wetsuits

So you don’t actually need to impress anyone, you’ll look cool on a paddle board whatever you’re wearing, but you do need to dress with the weather in mind. It is always advisable to check the weather forecast before you head out on a paddle board.

Summer is typically the easiest time of year to dress for paddle boarding, many people will be comfortable to wear their swimming costume and not a lot else, but having some decent board shorts and a light t-shirt will help to keep you warm if there is a cooler breeze. Be sure to pack some extra layers in case it is colder than you expect, such as a jumper or jacket. Remember that cotton T-shirts will be cold when wet, so quick drying synthetic fibres like a rash top or running shirt are better.

Due to the change in temperature that a breeze can bring about, you also need to consider the type of water that you are paddle boarding on when choosing your outfit. The open ocean tends to have stronger and potentially colder winds than a secluded lake or protected bay, so can feel a lot chiller even in the same climate. It’s always wise to ‘dress for the water’ so if you do have a swim, you will still be warm and comfortable. Having a few layers in your dry bag so you can adapt to changing conditions - a windproof top or neoprene jacket are a great extra to keep with you on your board.

Be sun smart

Three people with sun glasses heading to the beach with Aquaplanet rucksacks

Don’t let sunburn and sunstroke ruin a fun day out on your paddle board, UV rays from the sun are extremely dangerous here. Aside from the obvious and vital ritual of regularly applying a strong SPF, you should make sure that you have packed other sun-protecting accessories such as sunglasses and a sunhat. Dehydration is another risk of increased sun exposure so make sure you take extra water with you when paddle boarding in the summer and make time for regular breaks to avoid spending too much time in the sun.

Another way to stay safe in the sun would be to take a tent on your paddle boarding adventures, not only will this give you a secure place to keep your belongings but tents can also add some much needed respite from the heat and sunshine on particularly warm days. They provide an Ultraviolet Protection Factor of 50+ meaning that you will have that extra layer of protection from harmful UV rays.

Where to paddle board

Woman paddling on a Hurley 10 foot 6 inch paddle board

An important feature of your paddle board experience is going to be where you actually decide to paddle. Ultimately, you can choose to paddle board on virtually any body of water although there are a number of popular choices such as ocean, lakes and rivers that are preferred by paddle boarders. When picking a place to paddle board you should take into account the conditions that may be present and your own paddle boarding ability.

For example, oceans can offer great opportunities to explore endless shorelines and coves but there can be choppy waters which make it hard for beginners to balance. Whereas, lakes can provide more sheltered and calmer conditions which make it easier to get the hang of paddle boarding techniques, but there is a smaller area to explore. So before choosing a location to paddle board you should decide what you would like to get out of your trip; are you more focused on travelling long distances or improving your technique? You should then research potential places to see which are most suitable.

Apart from the actual paddle boarding, when it comes to locations this summer, you are also going to have to think about other logistics. How far away is the car park? It’s probably not ideal if you’re going to have to carry your kit and lots of other belongings for miles in the summer sun. Likewise, is there somewhere you can keep your valuables safe whilst you SUP or will everything have to be taken with you on your paddle board? These, amongst other things, are important to plan before setting off to your paddle boarding destination.

With summer only round the corner, make sure you use these tips for making the most of your paddle boarding adventures this season!

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