Fully Kitted: SUP Edition

If you are getting into standup paddleboarding, you should know you need to bring more than just your SUP to do it right. Wondering what accessories you'll need? We've highlighted our favorite SUP gear to help you get equipped for basic safety and great times on the water.

Safety First!

First things first, you need to make sure that you have the right SUP safety accessories on the water (especially if you are paddling on rivers and/or whitewater!). Some are required and some are optional, but all are rad and will keep you protected.

Type III or V PFDs (Life Jackets)

Astral VTY PFD

Astral YTV Type III PFD

Astral Layla Women's PFD

Astral Layla Women's Type III PFD

Wearing or carrying a PFD (personal flotation device) is required
on most waterways in most states. If you are paddling any sort of moving water (rivers, lake or ocean swells) then we highly recommend always wearing your properly-adjusted and fastened PFD. A proper fit is considered "comfortably snug" where someone could lift you out of the water solely by the shoulder straps if necessary.

Type III or V PFDs are best for whitewater
adventures. These PFDs surround
the wearer with flotation and feature extra-secure fasteners. They are made to keep your head and upper torso afloat in turbulent water. 

Protect that Noggin'

While those paddling calm or flat waterways such as ponds, lakes, and lazy rivers can usually get away without wearing a helmet, if you are going to be paddling whitewater in any capacity then you must wear a whitewater helmet. 'Nuff said. Here are some of our favorite options for SUP:

Shred Ready iON Whitewater Helmet WRSI Trident Component Helmet Shred Ready Standard Full Cut Whitewater Helmet
Shred Ready
iON Helmet
WRSI Trident
Component Helmet
Shred Ready Standard
Full Cut Helmet


Elbow + Knee/Shin Pads
You may have heard
the joke that it’s not
really called stand up
paddleboarding, but
rather fall-down
paddleboarding. If you're trying out whitewater SUP, consider wearing knee, shin and/or elbow protection. Your body is unfortunately not as tough as the rocks you may encounter!

Gifts for Paddleboarders Sweet Protection Elbow Pads

Sweet Protection
Elbow Pads

Gifts for Paddlers Sweet Protection Shin Pads

Sweet Protection
Knee Shin Pads
A quick(ish) story about my first time
river SUPing: It was early April and
I was cruising down the Yampa River
at a pretty good pace. I was having
a grand ole time until we got to a
confluence. A lateral wave knocked
me sideways. Instead of falling on
my board, I cartoonishly stumbled
backwards and eventually crashed
into the water, where a massive rock
was hiding under the surface.
This rock not-so-gently kissed the
thinnest, weakest part of my knee:
Big smooch straight on my kneecap.
Knee pads can save you thousands
of dollars in medical money and
hours and hours of PT time, kids.

High Pressure Pumps

Save your muscles for your paddling! Rather than hand pumping your SUP to full pressure, get an Outdoor Master Shark II High Pressure Pump and just plug it in and chill while your SUP inflates. I can think of many things I'd rather do at the put-in or boat ramp than pump up my SUP.

 Outdoor Master Shark II High Pressure Pump

Outdoor Master Shark II High Pressure Pump

Dry Bags: Something for Everything

You don't have to leave gear like water bottles, extra layers, and snacks at home while you paddle. You can take anything you can fit on your SUP--as long as you have the right dry bags to put it in!
Gifts for Paddleboarders Watershed Ocoee Dry Duffel
When I know I’ll be out for a
an all-day paddle, I usually bring
my Watershed Ocoee with me.
I can easily fit my phone, extra layers,
a hat, sunscreen, and several
snacks inside this waterproof
bag. This bag has no issue fitting on the front of a board and is small
enough to not get in the way or
impact performance while on
the water. 
Sea to SummitNRS, and Watershed all make huge selections of dry bags to fit
your water adventure storage needs.
Dry Cases are another
great storage solution for your SUP.
You can use carabiners, cam straps and/or your SUP's
bungee cords and D-Rings to rig your
bags and cases to your paddleboard.
Always rig to flip - just in case
you swim!

Dry Bags and Boxes

Dry Bags and Cases

Do More with Dry Wear + SPF Gear

Some of our favorite drysuits on the market are the Immersion Research 7Figure Drysuit [for guys] and the Level Six Freya [for gals]. If you want to extend your SUP season, you will definitely want to invest in a dry suit. 

IR 7 Figure Drysuit Gifts for Paddleboarders Level Six Freya DrySuit
Immersion Research
7Figure Dry Suit
Level Six Freya
Women's Drysuit

Another piece of apparel we love is our SPF wear. These products protect your precious skin cells under the sun. They're great when it's cool out but especially when it's hot out on the river, because you can dunk your shirt in the water for an instant cool down.

 NRS H2Core Silkweight Shirt Oasis sun shirt by Level Six
Men's Sun Protection Apparel Women's Sun Protection Apparel

Other Important Goodies

Get a Knife!

If you wear a leash or carry a throw bag, you must have a knife on hand (we prefer securely attaching them to the outside of our PFDs). Here are a few we like:

 NRS Pilot Knife NRS Co Pilot Knife NRS Green Knife
NRS Pilot Knife NRS Co-Pilot Knife NRS Green Knife

Fin Options

You can replace your center fins and your side bite click fins on most inflatable whitewater SUPs. This means riders can modify their ride for low water, surfing, better tracking... the options are pretty limitless!

Hala Gear 8" center flex fin Hala Low Pro Fins Hala Gear Pocket Fin
Swap Your Center Fin
Hala 8" Center Fin

Low Water, No Problem
Hala Low Pro Fins

New and Improved
Hala Pocket Fin
Grub Screws + Fin Key

It’s always helpful to have a set of these in your PFD in case you need to swap out a click fin quickly! 


Originally posted November 18, 2020.
Updated March 7, 2023.

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We're a group of whitewater kayak, raft, and stand up paddleboard enthusiasts committed to stocking the highest-quality gear and deliver it to you as quickly as possible.

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