After the excitement of our first paddle boarding trip wore off, I realized I hadn’t figured out how to properly store my paddle boards when they weren’t in use, not to mention SUP storage during the off-season. I quickly realized that in order to ensure my expensive SUP board would last for more than one season, I’d have to store it so it didn’t get damaged when I wasn’t using it. Somewhere out of the elements so the board was safe and secure.
Right now, you may be wondering, what is the best way to store my paddle board?’
How to store paddle boards? The best way to store your paddle board is on a SUP storage rack, indoors, dry, and out of the elements. This keeps your paddle board safe from UV rays, moisture, and heat and cold. Steel indoor storage racks, with foam padding will hold a lot of weight while protecting your board from the elements.
But simply throwing your SUP on a rack and calling it a day won’t do. So let’s take a closer look at proper SUP storage. We’ll discuss different storage ideas as well as how exposure to the elements can affect your board.
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SUP Storage Basics
Overnight SUP Storage
It’s been a long day of paddling and you’re beat. The last thing you want to do is wash, clean, dry, and store your SUP board properly. But that’s exactly what you have to do if you’re going to make your paddle board last.
At the end of each day of paddling, to keep your board in tip top shape and maximize its usable life:
- Spray it down – Get the salt, dirt and sand off of it.
- Dry it off – Use a dry soft towel to get as much moisture as possible off of your board.
- Store it horizontally or vertically – Let whatever moisture you missed or happens overnight drip down and off of your board. Remember, moisture equals mold.
- If you can, get it up off the ground – I made a PVC overnight rack for my boards so they have air circulation all around them and no matter where I have to leave them they’re up off the sand, grass, or dirt.
Longterm SUP Storage
Listen, before you ever decide where you’re going to store your paddle board for longer than overnight, you should do the following to prepare your paddle board for longterm storage:
- Wash your board down – Lakes, rivers, and especially salt water hold dirt and microbes and salt that can damage the finish of your board if left on for long periods of time.
- Dry your paddle board off completely – Needless to say, moisture equals mold. Store your board as dry as you can get it.
- Wax your board – If you’ve got a fiberglass SUP, it will store better with a nice coat of protective wax, just like a boat. Read the manufacturer’s suggested methods of waxing before you do this.
- Disassemble your paddle board – If your SUP has a detachable leash and/or rear fin, remove them. The best way to ruin a paddle board is to break the fin off when you’re trying to store it.
- Put the cover on it – If your SUP came with one or you bought a protective cover for it, once your board’s dry and taken apart, slip that cover over it to protect the finish during the off-season.
Now that your stand up paddle board’s prepared for long term storage, let’s look at how and where the best places and conditions are to store it.
What’s the Best Way to Store a Stand-Up Paddle Board?
The best place to store your SUP is indoors, if possible, with minimal to zero exposure to the following elements:
Ultraviolet rays can discolor and damage the shell of your paddle board. Be sure to store it in a dark place where sunlight is limited. A garage or basement with small windows is best. And if you can hang it above your couch, so much the better.
A wet environment can produce mold and mildew which can damage the outermost layer of your SUP board. Storing paddle boards in a dry place, such as an insulted garage with no pipes or running water is a good idea.
Extreme heat caused by the sun or other hot source can damage the core materials of paddle boards and cause the outer shell to deteriorate. Placing SUPs in a cool place, such as an air-conditioned basement will protect both the internal and external integrity of your stand up paddle board for years to come.
How to Store a Paddle Board
Though once you get into paddle boarding you’ll realize that you can paddle year round, there are basically 2 options for your storing your SUP during the “off-season”—winter. These include the following:
Storing your paddle board indoors, if you have the space to do so, is preferred. A basement, garage, shed or even spare room upstairs (if it’s large enough) will provide the best protection against the elements. You can even consider using it as a decorative or artistic piece, mounted on a wall in the living room or bedroom.
While you can store your paddle board outside, you run a greater risk of it getting damaged if you do so. Certain precautions must be taken in order to ensure the safety of the board. Placing it beneath a deck, below the eaves of a roof or under a tarp are good suggestions. When considering outdoor storage, look for areas with the following:
A shaded spot will protect the SUP from damaging UV rays or sunlight. If a shaded spot is limited or unavailable, a weather-resistant tarp that covers the entire length of the board is your best option. Be sure to suspend it above the board rather than wrapping it to avoid potential mold or fungal growth. As well, keep the board off the dirt or pavement so ground moisture cannot affect it.
Protection from the Elements
Be sure that the board is properly protected from the elements, such as rain or snow. A strung-up tarp suspended off the ground (as mentioned above) is an ideal choice. As well, severe wind can damage a SUP so ensure that it is placed in a sheltered area surrounded by trees, for example, if you don’t have a deck to store it under.
There are a number of ways to store your paddle board, protecting it from damage while not taking up valuable living space. These include the following:
On a Rack
Using a racking system is what most paddle boarders choose, as it usually considered to be the best option. Whether you make your own or purchase a pre-fabricated design, the rack should:
- come equipped with padding or straps that gently cradle the board either on the edges or across the body
- be able to hold sufficient weight, so as not to fall off, thus ruining the board and your wall as well
Hanging your board from the ceiling in your basement or garage is a great way to keep it out of the way while protecting if from possible damage. You can buy a suspension system in a sporting goods store or through an online retailer. Or, you can make your own wide webbing straps. Just be sure to protect the integrity of the board by hanging it such a way that the hull faces up towards the ceiling.
The easiest and most cost-effective way to store a SUP is by simply leaning it up against a wall. Place the board down on its side or tail—never on its nose—on top of some padding. This will provide extra protection for both the board and your flooring.
If you choose to lean it on its tail, remember that a standard SUP is 10 to 11 feet long and you’ll need a high ceiling in order to fit it. It’s also a good idea to secure the board with a strap or wooden pegs on either side to prevent it from falling over. Where I live in CA earthquake-land, this is extremely important.
The other thing you should do when leaning a board for storage, is pad the end that’s resting on the ground with something. A paddle board wasn’t meant to support it’s entire weight on the end and doing so can dent the edges.
What is the Best Way to Store an Inflatable Paddle Board?
If you have an inflatable board, your best bet is to leave it partially inflated (about 5 pounds per square inch) and then store it the same way you would a solid board. This will keep it from developing creases or deformations. If you have limited space, an inflatable board is the way to go, as it is much easier to store in the off-season. Simply do the following:
- Leave the valve open
- Ensure the board is completely clean and 100% dry
- Avoid compressing the board too tightly but rather stow it loosely rolled up instead – this is sometimes referred to as the ‘SUP Burrito’ in which you use the same rolling technique as you would an air mattress – make sure all the air is squeezed out and then roll it smoothly, one section at a time – once rolled completely together, store it away in a bag someplace safe
- If you choose to leave the board inflated, be sure to keep it away from the elements – as all inflatable boards will lose air over time, you must check the air pressure with your pump gauge before taking it out of storage and placing it back in the water
- Keep it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight and indoors, if possible
Can Paddle Boards Be Stored Outside For Winter?
Outside during the harsh weather of winter isn’t the best place to store your paddle board. It can significantly increases the likelihood of damage from the elements. The extreme cold is just as harmful to the structural integrity of the board as extreme heat. Also, the moisture from snow can impair the board just as easily as rain.
But if you absolutely have no other place to store it, then at least get it up off the ground and covered. This will protect it from the moisture on the ground and the sun, wind and rain.
My suggestion would be to buy or build 2 sawhorses, set your board on top of them and get a waterproof tarp to go over them both.
What is the Best Way to Store my SUP in the Garage?
The best way to store a paddle board in a garage is on a freestanding rack, a wall rack, or suspended from the ceiling. If you don’t have the space to store it in your basement or a spare room, then a garage or shed should be your next choice.
Garage storage is much safer than storing a SUP on a dock rack or in the water, as exposure to sun, wind and rain can permanently damage your board. As well, with the board out in the open and away from your sight, you also run the risk of someone stealing or vandalizing it!
SUP Storage Summary
Storing your paddle board correctly both overnight and during the off-season is very important to the lifespan and continued performance of your board. Your paddle board is, after all, an investment and if you care for it properly, it should last you a lifetime.
The best way to store a paddle board is off the ground on a rack.
This rack can be installed either inside or outside your home but indoors is recommended, if possible. Otherwise, store your SUP in a garage or shed, to protect it from the elements. Steel frame constructed racks covered with foam padding are ideal for both holding heavy weight and preventing damage.