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Complete Guide to Paddle Board Care and Maintenance

Paddle boarding is an amazing sport and a great hobby to keep you occupied during the heat of summer. But with constant contact with water and rough use, your paddle board can get damaged pretty easily and deteriorate over time. This leads most to think about how do you take care of a paddle board

There are a lot of things to maintain if you want to increase the longevity of your paddle board. Try to protect it from sun damage, dry it after use, be careful of your paddle board fin, and proper storage and carry of the paddle board is important. You should also know how to do a few repairs here and there. 

I know it can sound overwhelming doing so much for just a piece of sports equipment. But if you’re someone who loves to paddle board you’d know how expensive these can be. You can’t just buy a new one every few months, right?

So proper maintenance and care are necessary. It’s not that hard. I’ll discuss a few tips and tricks with you so you can do it pretty easily. 

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How Do You Take Care of a Paddle Board?

Once you’ve got yourself a brand-new paddle board, you should learn how to take care of it properly. From knowing how to store it and keeping it dry when not in use to how to carefully use it so you don’t damage any parts, there are a few small steps you can take to keep your paddle board almost brand new.

So exactly how do you maintain a paddle board? Let’s check out how you can do this. 

Keeping Your Board Protected from the Sun

While this might feel counter-intuitive, keeping your paddle board away from the sun as much as possible is necessary.

The sun’s rays can be very harsh and can fade away the outer layer of your paddle board, especially if they have art or any kind of designs on them. 

Paddle boards can get very hot, especially if you keep them in the sand in direct sunlight. Temperatures can even reach up to 122 degrees and this can damage your paddle board from the inside. 

Many of these paddle boards will be made of EPS or expanded polystyrene and layers of fiberglass, all enclosed in an outer layer of epoxy coating.

Excessive heat can cause the gas and air inside the board to overheat and start to release weird smells. This also builds up pressure on the inside.

All this pressure build-up inside can cause the fiberglass to eventually crack or bubble up. This is known as delamination. So try to store your paddle board in a shady cool place, away from direct sunlight. 

Keeping it Dry When Not in Use

This might also sound pretty weird because boards are meant to be in the water, but leaving your board with the water from the sea is harmful to your board.

The microorganisms and bacteria from the water can grow on the board, and cause it to damage the surface. 

Especially if you have been paddle-boarding in saltwater. If you leave behind excessive salt on the board, this can also damage the surface.

So, try to clean the board after use, and dry it well before leaving it or storing it away somewhere. 

A clean, dry board also makes it easier to spot any dents or holes that might have come out during use. It’s best to tend to these right away, so get in the practice of drying your paddle board after use. 

Lubricating Your Paddle Board

It’s good practice to lubricate your paddle board once a year at the very least, to keep it from rusting. Paddle boards are regularly exposed to the harsh conditions of the sea and are in constant contact with water. The metal parts on your paddle board may start to rust because of this. 

Though this is very unlikely, since the steel parts are usually made from stainless steel and won’t rust; it’s still a great prevention method.

Take some regular household oil or the kind of oil you use for your motor vehicles and rub down the steel parts like the fin hardware, the leash cup bars, and anything else that you see is made from metal. 

There’s also a chance of galvanic corrosion when non-stainless steel material comes in contact with stainless steel. So be wary of that. If you lubricate it properly, you shouldn’t have to worry about anything.

Be Careful of The Surroundings

I know this one sounds pretty obvious but be careful while carrying your paddle board around.

Accidentally hitting on something sharp or hard or dropping it on the asphalt can break your board or cause holes to appear. 

Be especially wary of your fin, because it can be easy to forget that there’s a 10-inch fin beneath your paddle board. It can get damaged or broken pretty easily.

So try to paddle carefully and avoid any rocks or submerged items that can hit your fin. 

Before storing it, keep the fin upright, deck down or it’s best to balance it straight up against a wall or something. It’s also best if you just remove the fin before you store it away for the winter or long-term storage. 

Try to also keep kids away from your paddle board, because they might jump on it or apply too much pressure. Even rocks hitting your paddle board can cause significant damage.

So be careful of the surroundings and the environment of your paddle board at all times; not only when you’re moving it, but also while you’re using it or storing it as well. 

Using a Leash

You should always use a leash with your paddle board when you are using it. Tie it with your legs or ankles and this should prevent any mishaps from occurring.

This will be crucial if the water is choppy. But even in calm waters, this ensures that the paddle board does not accidentally hit other obstacles like rocks or a dock underwater. 

It’s best to use a pretty long cord or leash when doing this, as too short will make you uncomfortable and the length can also cause drag in the water thus slowing you down. I recommend a 10-inch coiled leash, for the best experience. But try out different kinds and see which one suits you.  

Tie it Down When Driving to the Launching Site

Most of us aren’t lucky enough to live near water, so chances are you’re going to drive to the launching site. When you take your paddle board with you, be careful as it can easily fall off or break.

Tie it down to the roof of your car, and use crossbar roof pads to not damage the paddle board. Try to use large, 2-inch-wide straps

When tying the board, try not to be too tight so that it cuts through the board but also not so loose that it falls off while you drive. It can be very dangerous if your board falls off on the road, not only for the board damage but for other drivers. So be careful while traveling.  

Make Sure Your Paddle Board has a Vent Plug

This isn’t much of an issue for you to worry about since most paddle boards will have a vent plug installed. These vent plugs help to prevent delamination, as discussed above. The vent plug allows all the pressure to escape so there is no build-up inside. 

Once they are installed, which they probably already are when you buy them, there’s not much for you to do. They work on their own pretty much. Just try to make sure they are hand tight now and then, and you should be fine. 

Buy a Paddle Board Bag

Try to invest in a good paddle board bag for proper storage. You might think you don’t need it, but trust me you’ll love having a bag for your paddle board.

It not only protects the board but also makes it much easier to carry around. You can walk around with it, without worrying about damaging it or hitting it here and there. 

Most SUP bags will come with a metallic side. This makes it much more convenient for you to even leave it out in the sun without going through all the hassle of finding a place with proper shade.

It protects your board from heating up and also getting any scratches or dents. Plus you can use it for long-term storage as well. 

Store it Properly

Proper storage is extremely important when it comes to paddle boards because keeping them in one place for long periods can have its effects.

It’s very common to find your paddle board damaged, after leaving it in the garage for the winter when not on a proper rack

Use your paddle board bag to properly cover it, after taking off the fins and of course cleaning and drying it properly. Place it in a place where there is no direct sunlight and the temperature isn’t too hot.

Too much heat can cause your paddle board to heat up and delaminate. A cool, dry place is best, away from heaters or heating sources. 

Also, try to make sure that your paddle board isn’t resting on any sharp areas with a small surface area that might cause lines or damage the board if any kind of pressure is put on top.

This also might cause pressure dings on your board. So keep it in a corner, where it has sufficient space. 

Get a Protectant Spray

Especially if you don’t have a paddle board bag, using a protectant spray made specifically for paddle boards will protect your paddle board from UV rays. It also makes sure it’s them that any design and color stays put. 

It forms a shiny protective layer that shields it from harmful saltwater. This not only increases the life of your paddle board but also makes it look more pretty and brand new. 

How To Clean Your Paddle Board?

Perhaps one of the most important steps in taking care of your paddle board is knowing how to clean your paddle board properly. It’s pretty easy to clean a paddle board. Just remember – Rinse, Soap, Rinse. That’s it. 

Start by taking off the fins. Then take a hose or you could just a bucket of water, and rinse down your paddle board.

Try to get rid of any visible dirt or anything that’s sticking to the surface. Pay attention to all the nooks and crannies, so that nothing is hiding behind. 

After the primary rinse, you go in with soap to help remove all the salt. This is especially important if you’ve been playing in saltwater. Use a mild detergent so that it does not damage the surface of the paddle board.

Even dishwashing liquids will do the work quite well. You can also buy detergent specially made for cleaning paddle boards. 

You can mix about half an ounce of detergent with 1.5 gallons of water and use a sponge or a soft cloth to wipe the board down. This will get rid of any bacteria as well, and prevent mildew from growing on your board. 

However, be careful not to be too harsh and rub down and shred the deck pad. Be gentle but still thorough. Once that’s done, give it a final rinse to wash off all the soap and you’re done. 

You can also get Magic Erasers meant for paddle boards. These are non-abrasive, soft-sided erases that help you to remove hard scruff marks and stubborn dirt.

They will get rid of dirt without scratching the surface or ruining the sealant. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Paddle Board? 

You should clean your paddle board after each use. This will protect it and stop it from growing mildew or fungus. Rinse it off with a hosepipe and make sure you get rid of any visible dirt. Then dry it off properly with a dry cloth or sponge and leave it out away from direct sunlight. 

There is a chance of over-cleaning your paddle board, which can damage its surface. So only try to wash it with detergent at least once a year, or once every season.

What you could do is deep clean it before you store it away for the winter each year. And if you feel like a deep clean is necessary, you should go for it. 

Otherwise, a regular rinse should be enough to keep it clean and healthy. Too much cleaning and detergent can cause it to fade. 

How Do You Repair a Paddle Board?

Another tip for taking care of your paddle board is to repair any small dents or holes as soon as you see them. No matter how careful you are, it’s only normal for scratches or dents to appear. So, it’s best to know little DIY fixes to these problems. You can use repair kits for small dents but it’s best to go to a specialist for deeper dents or holes. 

You will usually notice little dents or scratches while you’re cleaning your board.  If you leave these alone, these might worsen and develop into much deeper cracks along with your board.

So, tend to them as fast as you can. Here are a few tricks on how to fix small problems. 

Abrasions and Nicks

You can very easily small nicks and abrasions using sandpaper. All you need to do is sand down the nicks very gently. Try to smooth down the edges of your paddle board to the point that your guard rails are even. 

Be careful not to overdo this as this might damage the core of the paddle board. Be gentle and slow. You can also buy guard rail tape to protect the edges of your board.

These come in both transparent and reflective kinds. The transparent ones will blend in while the reflective kind will help your board easier to see at night. 

Repairing Cracks

If you find small cracks on your board, you fix these pretty easily with adhesive tape or more specifically adhesive expandable patch. This is more commonly known as ding tape. You can use it for smaller cracks. 

Your board needs to be completely dry before you can use this patch. Once you have a dry board, lay the tape down smoothly, getting rid of any air bubbles. Give the patch at least 24 hours to dry so that there is a tight seal over the crack. 

Since the core of your paddle board might be made from foam, the insides cannot be exposed to water. So, leaving any cracks open might damage the board internally. This is why it’s very important to seal any cracks. 

If there are larger cracks, or if it goes deeper and your core is exposed, then you probably should get it repaired by a specialist. You might even need to replace your board. 

Conclusion

Now that you know how do you take care of a paddle board, you can rest assured your board will last a long time. However, like with anything else your board will also deteriorate with time and use.

There’s no stopping that. But with proper maintenance and care, you can greatly increase the lifespan of your paddle board. Happy paddling!

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Written by Water Diversions

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