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Commonly Overlooked Gear Every Paddle Boarder Should Have

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Paddleboarding is a fantastic water activity that offers a unique blend of relaxation and exercise. Whether you’re gliding along serene lakes or tackling ocean waves, having the right gear can significantly enhance your overall experience. While most paddle boarders prioritize essentials like a paddle and a board, there are several commonly overlooked items that can make a world of difference in terms of safety, comfort, and enjoyment. In this article, we will explore the often-neglected gear that every paddle boarder should have in their arsenal.

Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

One of the most crucial but frequently forgotten pieces of gear for paddleboarding is a Personal Flotation Device or PFD. Even if you consider yourself a strong swimmer, unexpected situations can arise, and having a PFD can be a lifesaver. Look for a PFD designed specifically for paddleboarding that allows for a wide range of movement and doesn’t hinder your strokes. Opt for a lightweight and comfortable PFD, such as inflatable or foam-core models, which won’t restrict your mobility on the board.


A leash is a simple yet indispensable accessory that can prevent your paddleboard from drifting away if you fall off or get separated from it. The paddleboard leash attaches your ankle or calf to the board, ensuring it remains close by and making retrieval much easier. In windy or choppy conditions, a leash is especially crucial as it keeps the board from getting carried away, reducing the risk of accidents and the effort needed to retrieve it.

Waterproof Storage Bag

When heading out on the water, it’s vital to keep your belongings protected from splashes and potential submersion. A waterproof storage bag or dry bag is an often overlooked but essential gear for paddleboarders. You can store your phone, keys, snacks, and other personal items safely in the dry bag, knowing they won’t get wet or damaged during your adventure.

Sun Protection

Spending extended periods on the water exposes you to intense sunlight, making sun protection paramount. Apart from sunscreen, which you should apply generously, don’t forget to wear protective clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and a long-sleeved rash guard. Sunburn can quickly ruin a fun day on the water and have long-term effects on your health, so always prioritize sun safety.

First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen, even on the calmest of waters. A compact and waterproof first aid kit is essential gear that every paddle boarder should have on hand. Make sure it includes bandages, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, pain relievers, and any personal medications you may need. Being prepared for minor injuries can prevent them from turning into major issues and ensures you can handle unexpected situations with confidence.

Whistle or Air Horn

In case of emergencies or if you find yourself in distress and need assistance, a whistle or air horn can be invaluable tools for attracting attention. Whistles are lightweight and can be easily worn around your neck or attached to your PFD. They are recognized as a universal distress signal and can help alert nearby boaters or other paddlers to your situation.


While paddleboarding is a relaxing and enjoyable activity, it’s crucial to be adequately prepared for the unexpected. By equipping yourself with commonly overlooked gear, you can enhance your safety, comfort, and overall experience on the water. From essential safety items like a PFD and leash to protecting yourself from the elements with sun protection and waterproof storage, each piece of gear plays a significant role in ensuring a successful paddleboarding adventure. So, before you hit the water again, double-check your gear and make sure you have all the essentials for a fun and safe experience. Happy paddling!

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.