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January 11, 2022 8 min read

Paddle Boarding Life Hacks

Woman paddle boarding on lake powell

Paddle boarding is more than just a fun watersport, it is a way of life. As you get more and more into your SUP, you will start to discover little tricks to save time or make your session more epic. Talk to other paddlers and learn from their experiences as well. 

Some tips and tricks are more like little life hacks with a paddle board. From the destress benefits to using your inflatable SUP as a camp bed mattress, we have pulled together 13 of the best hacks every paddle boarder should know about.

These paddle board life hacks are too good to miss!

  1. Paddle boarding is the best escape and stress relief
  2. A SUP is the only gym equipment needed for a full body workout
  3. Access hidden spots by stand up paddle boarding
  4. Unique waterfront seats to special events
  5. Make a SUP barge for the best social hang out
  6. Paddle board after dark for a new experience
  7. Use your iSUP as a camp bed mattress
  8. Lean your SUP up as an improvised windbreak 
  9. Fit a parasol to your SUP to have shade on board
  10. Make the most out of the sun’s heat for drying your gear
  11. Preparing post-paddle winter SUP kits is key
  12. Display and store your paddle board with a minimalist wall rack
  13. Do not let mold ruin your gear with Damp Rid packets

Paddle Boarding Is The Best Escape And Stress Relief

Woman paddling on a gili adventure board in lake powell

It’s easy to get caught up in life, so having an escape is important for your mental health and overall well being. Paddle boarding is the best form of escapism. It gets you outdoors, surrounded by nature, and you can leave your phone behind on land. What more do you need to switch off and unwind?

With each stroke, you leave stress behind as you glide upon the water. Whether you choose to paddle with company or opt to go out solo, you’re pretty much guaranteed a good time. 

A SUP Is The Only Gym Equipment You Need

Sorry, did we say gym? What we meant is, you will not need to renew that gym membership anymore when you start stand up paddle boarding! 

Paddling a SUP is a full body workout, working muscles you didn’t even know you had. Spend an hour a day out on the water, either before or after work, and you will soon notice your legs, arms, and core getting stronger and more toned. 

Did you know, you can burn 330 to 460 calories per hour while paddle boarding recreationally? This is about twice as much as taking a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. Increase the intensity of your paddling and you’ll get more results. SUP Yoga and SUP Surfing are two of the best (and most fun) workouts to do on a paddle board. 

And the best thing about a SUP workout is that it’s super fun! If that’s not a life hack then we do not know what is!

Access Hidden Spots By Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Woman accessing hidden spots on lake powell by paddle board

Whether you are into snorkeling and diving, fishing, or simply are just keen to explore more, a SUP provides more access to tucked away spots. A paddle board is a much smaller vessel to navigate through caves and into nooks and crannies, unlike exploring by boat. 

If you have an inflatable SUP, then your options open up even more! When touring remote rivers, you may encounter low water levels or even sections where you need to exit and relaunch your board. iSUPs are lightweight and super easy to handle in and out of the water, making this task a lot easier. 

Unique Waterfront Seats To Special Events

You know what’s better than front row seats at events? Floating on the water and enjoying the entertainment from your SUP! 

Do some research into what venues are near to you and may discover you can catch snippets of music concerts or sporting events. Take The Woodlands in Houston for example; if you stay out on the water late you will be able to listen to snippets of concerts from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

You may be able to watch fireworks displays from the water, depending on the proximity of the show. But one of the best daily events to catch from a paddle board is the sunset or sunrise. Grab your SUP and hit the water for the most spectacular light show!

Make A SUP Barge For The Best Social Hang Out

group of woman hanging out on a GILI paddle board

If you have a big gang of buddies with SUPs, then take on this little life hack to make the best social hang out imaginable. Crafting a SUP barge is totally epic!

All you need to set up the ultimate floating barge are the paddle boards, bungee cords, and D-rings. Do not overcomplicate how you attach the boards; you may need to quickly unattach, so the simpler the better. 

We recommend feeding bungee cords through the carry or grab handles to attach the SUPs together. You may want to make use of the handy D-rings (all GILI Sports boards come with a surplus of D-ring attachment points so you can load up on accessories). Experiment and see what works best for you and your crew. 

Paddle Board After Dark For A New Experience 

Nighttime paddle boarding is a super cool experience, given you have the right conditions! For safety purposes, you need to have flat and calm water – waves and fast moving currents add in an element that is best only tackled with proper lighting. 

Set up a head torch and attach some glow sticks to your SUP to light up everything below. You will get a completely new perspective on the water you are paddling on as the nighttime ocean floor and the river bed is lit up. After dark paddling is best over coral reefs, the colors become luminescent.

Camping SUP Hacks

Inflatable paddle board near a hammock on a SUP camping

SUP Camping is the best way to fully immerse yourself in the great outdoors. Pack your inflatable paddle board up with a tent, stove, food, and water, and get out there! Here is a couple of hacks that will make your camping experience even better with your paddle board.

Use Your iSUP As A Camp Bed Mattress

Camping is not always the most luxurious, especially when it comes to sleeping arrangements. So why not make use of the inflatable platform you have in your gear?  

Deflate your paddle board to around 6 PSI for maximum comfort, pull out your sleeping bag, and have the best night’s sleep yet in the wild. Using your iSUP as a mattress has so many benefits:

  • You will be raised off the ground, so won’t get as cold throughout the night
  • It is softer than the ground, so no more stiff backs and sore necks
  • You know where your SUP is while you sleep, so no more restless nights worrying
  • Saves space in your camp

Just remember to inflate the iSUP back up to 15 PSI before you start paddling the next day. This is without a doubt, the best camping life hack to do with a paddle board!

Lean Your SUP Up As An Improvised Windbreak

Setting up camp is an important task, so do not let the wind ruin the experience. Make the most of having a 10/11 foot board on hand and use your SUP as a windbreak! It is a perfect improvisation to keep the campfire lit or stop sand from being blown everywhere. 

How you go about propping up the paddle board depends on where you are. If you’re enjoying a beach day on a sandy stretch, use your paddle to prop up your board by placing the blade in the sand and the handle lodged in the carry handle groove on the SUPs deck. If you are riverside in the woods, use your dry bags and other gear to prop up the paddle board on its side. 

Another added advantage of leaning your SUP up on the rail is you avoid getting sand all over the board. So when it comes down to packing up camp and loading the car up, you will not have to worry about sand and dirt coming home with you!

Summer SUP Hacks

Inflatable paddle board near a camping tent

Paddle boarding in the summer is always fun. Use these hacks to level up your days out on the SUP under the sun.

Fit A Parasol To Your SUP To Have Shade On Board

In the height of summer, the sun may be too strong for you. This could limit the amount of time you get to spend out cruising along the water. What if you could take some shade with you for the paddle? 

Depending on your SUP and accessories, you may be able to fit a parasol/umbrella into a fishing rod holder. Pair this with a kayak seat conversion kit and you will have yourself a super chill set up for a day on the lake that everyone will be jealous of! 

Make The Most Out Of The Sun’s Heat For Drying Your Gear

If you are an inflatable paddle board owner, then drying your gear off before deflating and storing is crucial in maintaining the seams and materials. This is an obvious hack, but worth a mention nonetheless – use the sun to dry your gear! 

However, it is important to note that you do not want to leave your SUP or gear in direct sunlight for too long a period. Overexposure can cause damage. 

Winter SUP Hacks

Just because it is winter does not mean you have to pack away your SUP. 

Preparing Post-Paddle Winter SUP Kits Is Key

This life hack is commonly used across many water sports, especially in the surf world. Having a post-paddle routine with all the warm things is a must! This kit could include:

  • Hot water bottle
  • Coffee flask
  • Warm socks
  • Wooly hat
  • Dry robe/robe towel

What do you have ready and waiting to help warm you up after a winter paddle? Let us know so we can give them a try too! 

Stand Up Paddle Boarding Storage Hacks

GILI inflatable paddle board on gili ceiling rack

Inflatable paddle boards are a life hack in their own right for storage solutions. Simply deflate, roll up, and keep everything together in a handy SUP bag.  

Display And Store Your Paddle Board With A Minimalist Wall Rack

Perhaps you have got a good-looking epoxy SUP. Why not keep it on display in your home? A minimalist wall rack, like the GILI Sports Wall Rack, is not just for storage but also showcases the board like a work of art. 

And let’s face it, what’s not to love about having your pride and joy center of attention? 

Don’t Let Mold Ruin Your Gear

With any water sport, you do need to be conscious of your gear getting damp when in storage. You can dry out your board, wetsuit, and other equipment as best you can, but you can never get rid of all the moisture.  

Get yourself some DampRid packets to go in your iSUP bag or hang with your wetsuit. These silica gel pouches will wick away any remaining moisture and keep away the mold. You can thank us later for this SUP life hack!

Want More Paddle Boarding Tips And Tricks?

So there you have it, 13 of the best insider life hacks to do with a paddle board! As you continue your SUP journey, you’ll discover new tips and tricks of your own. Some are for saving time, others are to make your experience more enjoyable.

Make sure you keep up to date with the latest on the GILI blog for even more helpful advice for paddle boarding and life outdoors.

Abi Leach
Abi Leach

Surfer, paddle boarder, and ocean lover. She loves traveling and discovering new destinations all across the world. When she's not writing, she's exploring the outdoors and enjoying fresh air.


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