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March 11, 2021 8 min read

How to Choose the Best Paddle Board Anchor

“Life’s roughest storms prove the strength of our anchors.”

An anchor can take your paddle board experience to a new level, and choosing the best paddle board anchor is easier than you think. Once you determine the perfect fit for your personal needs, the fun can begin!

Consider these situations:

  • You’ve finally mastered the yoga tree-pose on your paddle board just as a breeze kicks up and threatens to carry your perfect tree out to sea.
  • You’ve snagged a lunker with your fishing pole, but the monster fish pulls you all over the lake.
  • You’re determined to capture the perfect sunset with your camera, but the wind and waves have other plans.
  • The sweltering sun is frying your brain and you’re desperate to dive in to cool off. As soon as you jump off, you realize you forgot to attach your leash, and your board skims across the water. You have to chase your board before you’re stranded.

Yes, You need an anchor!

Best paddle board anchor

Why Consider an Anchor for Your Paddle Board?

Paddle Boards are versatile and utilized for many activities. We play, exercise, and explore on our boards, and the last thing we want is to haul more gear. But after learning the many ways that an anchor can improve your paddle board experience, you’ll NEED one immediately. 

The purpose of an anchor is to remain stationary on moving water. This can provide a stable base for certain activities. An anchor should be easily portable, lightweight, and able to adapt to many conditions. 

Some activities where an anchor might be helpful:

  1. SUP YOGA – Enjoying a leisurely float while finding inner peace. Paddle board yoga could be even more enjoyable if you didn’t have to fight a current, wind, or waves. An anchor can secure your board for a more secure platform to master the downward dog.
  2. SUP FISHING – A perfect weed-bed lies ahead, and you’re positive that a fish hides under the lily pads, but you keep floating past the target. Anchoring your fishing SUP allows you to maintain your ideal position offshore so you can cast your line into the mouth of a sneaky fish hiding in the brush.
  3. SWIMMING – Using your paddle board to soak up the rays and enjoy a dip in the refreshing waters could be even easier with an anchor. You can snorkel around the area without the worry of losing your board. By using an anchor, you can dive into the cool water without the fear of your paddleboard launching from under your feet.
  4. PHOTOGRAPHY – Capturing the perfect sunset, snagging a panoramic view of the shoreline, or photographing the perfect waves could be much easier when your board is secured with an anchor. 

Things to Consider When Purchasing an Anchor

Things to consider on purchasing an anchor

There are many things to consider when finding the perfect anchor. There are multiple types of anchors available, and some anchors are a better fit in certain situations. You must determine your needs before purchasing an anchor. 

The first consideration is the weight of your paddle board. This includes the board’s weight, your weight, and the weight of your gear. A heavier board needs a heavier anchor. A general rule is that for every 100 pounds of paddle board weight, you will require ½ pound of anchor.  

The depth of the water where you wish to anchor factors into your decision-making. Is your anchor’s rope long enough to reach the bottom? Does your rope fray easily or breakdown in saltwater?

Weather is a significant factor. A peaceful paddle along the shoreline can be ruined by a gust of wind or pounding waves. If you use an anchor, you can still enjoy the water without battling mother nature with rubber arms.

The terrain of the body of water in which you wish to anchor factors into the type of anchor needed. If the floor is sand, certain anchors may not grasp as well in high winds. A weed-covered terrain can tangle your anchor and make it difficult to retrieve. A rocky terrain is better suited for an anchor that can lock onto the crags and irregular surfaces. 

Types of Anchors

Let’s first examine the general types of anchors available to whittle down our options.

GRAPNEL ANCHOR: 

folding grapnel anchor

A grapnel anchor is the most popular and preferred anchor style for paddle board users. It has four-prongs that can fold into a compact, streamlined shape for transport. Grapnel anchors are usually light-weight and can hold fast to both sandy and rocky terrains. The prongs typically allow a stronger hold in wind and currents, but the prongs have the potential to become entangled in heavy vegetation. They come in steel or coated varieties, folding or non-folding. 

SANDBAG ANCHOR

pwc rope kit sandbag anchor

The principle behind a sandbag anchor is that it is easily portable on your way to your destination as an empty cinched bag. Once you reach the beach, it is filled with sand from the shore. It can be portaged on your board until you find the perfect spot to anchor, and then thrown overboard.

It is easy to use but may limit the terrain you can explore. There must be sand or a beach available to fill the bag. Secondly, if the water’s bottom is rocky, it may tear the bag, or your anchor may simply bounce across the bottom. 

CORKSCREW ANCHOR

aluminum corkscrew anchor

A corkscrew anchor is driven into the sand or the mud ALONG THE SHORELINE to assure your paddle board will not float away. It’s a secure form of anchor, but it limits your maneuverability. You’re unlikely to reach deep waters and will be tied to the shoreline with your board.

MUSHROOM ANCHOR

mushroom anchor

A mushroom anchor can work well in certain environments. It has smooth edges with an attached rope, and it will not easily snag in weeds. It is less likely to scratch your paddle board during transport because of its smooth edges. It works best in sand or a soft bottom, and it is less effective on rocky or uneven terrain. Because it cannot grasp the bottom, it can also slip in windy conditions.

How Do You Use an Anchor?

How to use an anchor

Using an anchor with your paddle board is simple. It is best to have a carabiner to hook the anchor’s rope to the back of your board. Consider the current and wind direction at the spot you want to anchor. Drop your anchor overboard slightly upstream from your ideal location and allow the rope to run through your fingers. When you’re positioned perfectly, tie off your rope to secure your anchor – and start playing!

Best Paddle Board Anchor (A Buyers Guide)

With the many anchors available, we will review a few favorites and discuss the reasons for our preference. 

GILI Kayak and Paddle Board and Anchor Kit (The preferred anchor)

This grappling anchor is perfect for paddle boards as well as canoes, kayaks, jet skis, or other small watercraft. It is a lightweight, foldable anchor with attached rope, carabiner, and buoy and is neatly packaged in a bag to protect your paddle board. It is 3.5 pounds with a thirty-foot line. It is a versatile anchor that is great for most environments, especially rocky or uneven terrain. The anchor is made of corrosion-resistant aluminum with a marine-grade high-visibility rope.

Best Paddle Board Anchor Gili Grapnel Anchor

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Galvanized, 4 Flute Folding Anchor
  • Suitable For Yoga, SUP & Kayak Fishing
  • Includes High-Visibility Yellow rope 30 Foot Long, Stainless, Snaphook/D-Ring, Floating Buoy, and Carry Bag
  • Fast, Easy and Convenient

Extreme Max Mushroom Anchor Kit

An eight-pound mushroom anchor is most suited for lighter watercraft up to 10 feet in length. It has a durable vinyl coating so it protects the anchor and won’t scratch your board. It is best suited for a mud or sandy bottom with low wind conditions. It includes a rope, buoy, and clips to secure your board.

Extreme max 3006 mushroom anchor kit

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Durable vinyl coating
  • Suitable for canoes, inflatables, skiffs and other small boats up to 10' in length
  • Best suited for use in protected inland waters with mud, silt or weedy bottoms
  • 8lbs. anchor, 25' anchor line and marker buoy

Skog A Kust SandSak

The highly visible SandSak can be used as an anchor for paddle boards, kayaks, or small crafts, or it can also be utilized as a waterproof bag to keep your phone, clothes, or other gear dry. It holds 50 pounds of sand and includes a 12-foot braided rope, buoy, bottom strap for easy emptying, and clip.

Sandsak pwc Sand anchor and dry bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Made from durable 500D PVC with high-frequency welded seams
  • Rust-proof 316 stainless steel clip on each end
  • 20L size holds 50+ lbs of sand or aggregate
  • Foam composite buoy on one end for easy retrieval and spotting

Sandshark Lite Sand Anchor

Perfect for shallow water, beach, or sandbar anchoring. There are many varieties and price-ranges for corkscrew style anchors. This anchor is made of stainless steel with an attached ring to tie off. Padded handles are easy to grip and makes this comfortable as you secure it into the sand. A great option for anchoring close to shore. Includes a carrying case.

Sandshark 18" Sand anchor

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Perfect for shallow water, beach, sandbar
  • 18” Polished stainless steel with a ring to tie-off, removable handle, foam grips
  • Suitable for Jet Ski, Kayak, Paddle board, Canoe

FAQ - Frequently asked questions about Paddle Board Anchors

🏆 Can you anchor a paddle board?

Yes, you can. We recommend using a small, 3.5 lb. grapnel anchor designed for anchoring paddle boards, kayaks and small boats. Attach the end of your anchor rope to a d-ring on your paddle board. Anchors away!


🏆 Can you anchor a paddle board in deep water?

Anchoring in deep water provides a special challenge. You must know the depth of the water and weight of your board to assure your anchor can handle the strain. A grapnel anchor with at least 30-40’ of anchor line is your best choice. Choose an anchor with quality rope to assure it won’t fray or snap over time.


👍 What is the best anchor system for SUP Fishing?

The best anchor for fishing depends on the habitat you want to target. If you want to sneak up on fish in shallow waters, a corkscrew anchor secured on the shoreline with adequate rope length will suffice. If the catch-of-the-day resides in deeper water with more challenging terrain, a grapnel anchor would be a better choice. Your paddle board will likely be weighed down with fishing gear and a grapnel anchor with a quality rope will provide a more secure footing in rocks or weeds.


🏝️ What is the best paddle board anchor for SUP yoga?

Many different anchor styles can provide stability for your yoga routine. Take into consideration the water’s depth and terrain. If you yoga close to shore, a corkscrew anchor may be a logical and easy option. If you’re in deep water with a sand or mud bottom, a mushroom anchor would suffice. If your yoga routine takes you to greater depths or if the bottom contains rock or weeds, a grapnel anchor is your best choice.


📦 Is a grapnel anchor tghe best overall choice?

Yes. A grapnel anchor adapts to almost any terrain with few limitations. The pronged-style of a grapnel anchor provides a secure hold in deep waters or a rough terrain with rocks, weeds, or sand. Most grapnel anchors fold easily into a compact form with a convenient carrying case to protect your board.


❓ What is the best paddle board anchor for me?

Choosing the best paddle board anchor depends on many factors. Knowing what activity you want to enjoy on the water helps determine the best-fitting anchor for your needs. Consider the weight of your board, the water’s depth, the terrain, and the weather conditions to guide your anchor-buying decision. After doing your research and finding the perfect anchor, you’ll have the tools needed for endless hours of floating.

Pat McCaw
Pat McCaw

Author, physician, mom and lover of all things outdoors. If there’s water or a hiking trail nearby, that's her happy place. Throw in family and a couple of dogs and it's paradise!


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