Very few things will put a smile on my face as fast as discovering a new body of water and being able to grab my SUP – and have some fun. That is one of the reasons why I love paddling sports as much as I do.
But there’s a bit of a downside to this lifestyle:
Stand-up paddle boards aren’t small and compact by any stretch of the imagination. So, storage can be frustrating at times – but it is oh-so-important when it comes to protecting your board and prolonging its life.
And the worst part is, nobody tells you how to store a paddle board when you buy one. Luckily for you, though, that’s about to change – if you read the rest of this guide, that is.
Storing A Paddle Board – Key Takeaways
- Why correct storage is important; To protect your SUP from the harsh winter weather and excess summer heat, to avoid it being stolen, prolong its life expectancy and keep it in good condition for when you want to paddle again.
- Is outdoor or indoor storage best; If you have the space, storing your board indoors is the best option as it will be protected from the elements and theft. However, if you take appropriate precautions, outdoor storage is still a viable choice.
- Storage options; You have three options when it comes to storing your paddle board: racks, hoists, and stands.
- Storing Inflatables; Avoid garages or areas with inconsistent temperatures. Make sure the board is dry before packing away. Fold loosely to allow air flow, and if storing inflated then reduce the pressure to allow for heat expansion.
- Preparing you board; To store a stand-up paddle board for the long term – remove any accessories, clean it thoroughly, when dry apply a wax or UV protection, and place in a travel bag or storage cover.
- Storage rules; Pick a safe and secure location, out of reach from both children and animals. Store off the ground, in an area away from direct light or heat sources, which isn’t humid, and has consistent temperature. You should also be able to inspect it easily.
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Importance Of Good SUP Storage: 4 Reasons To Store A Paddle Board
Why is SUP storage so important?
While these boards are generally surprisingly durable and robust, they are not exactly created to handle prolonged exposure to the elements. And to be honest, most things would show signs of wear and tear if you just left them out, at the mercy of Mother Nature, for months on end.
That helps me segway to my first point:
Protection From The Elements
The need to protect your SUPs from the harsh winter weather is obvious enough. That said, it is just as essential to keep your boards inside – or at least in the shade – during the hotter months.
Here’s the thing:
Extremely low or high temperatures can be harsh on your board.
Excess heat could cause the board to bend and warp, while the direct sunlight often leads to cracking and fading. So, it’s best to keep your SUPs at room temperature with dry air. That last bit has to do with moisture, which might lead to mold or mildew – and neither is much fun, trust me on that!
Protecting your SUP from the elements is the first – and most important – factor in prolonging its “life expectancy.”
Prevent Damage & Deformity
Exposure to the elements is not the only thing you should worry about here. Taking the weather into consideration when storing your SUP is crucial, don’t get me wrong, but you have two goals here – preventing damage and deformity.
Remember that life expectancy I just mentioned?
Well, not storing your SUP properly opens the doors for all kinds of damage, deformation, dents, and scratches – shortening its lifespan and causing your SUP’s performance to deteriorate.
Security & Theft Protection
Another thing that must be mentioned when it comes to the importance of proper SUP board storage is the fact that SUPs cost a LOT of money – and there is a chance that they might get stolen.
Who in their right mind would go through the trouble of stealing a huge paddle board out of your yard, though?
Well, I’m not saying organized criminals are eye-balling the paddle board you left unattended next to the garage – but why leave it up to chance? Better safe than sorry, as they say.
Lastly, your own safety should be an important factor when it comes to storing your boards – and not just your safety, by the way, but your family’s, too.
Sure, if you have an inflatable board that you can hide somewhere in the corner, there is nothing to worry about here. But leaning a 12-foot, 40-pound hard SUP board against the wall without securing it in any way? That’s a hazard.
It takes one wrong move for it to get knocked over – and the next thing you know, you’re on your way to the hospital.
Indoor Vs. Outdoor Storage – What’s The Best Way To Store A Paddle Board?
When it comes to storing paddle boards, there are two basic options – indoor and outdoor storage.
So, which one should you choose?
The answer to that question is not as straightforward as you might think, and many factors need to be considered here; I can tell you that much.
How much space you have available is absolute number one. Granted, you should think about it before buying a board – but you get the point.
You’ll have plenty of options – from placing the SUPs on a rack and suspending them from a wall to getting a SUP stand, for example. Whatever you choose, figuring out how much space you’re working with before getting a paddle board will save you a lot of trouble.
Oh, and don’t forget:
There’s also the option of storing your SUP outside – but I’ll get to that in a bit.
When it comes to SUP storage solutions, here are my recommendations – starting with indoor paddle board storage:
Indoor SUP Storage 101: How To Store Your SUP In The Garage?
In terms of how to store a paddle board indoors, the best option location-wise is your garage – although, of course, any room with walls and a roof would technically do the trick. A basement, or a spare room also works equally as well. The primary goal is protecting your paddle board from the elements, right?
Well, any indoor space works just fine in that regard- but a garage is idea as its out of the way and usually has less foot traffic, and is built for storage
Then again, garages are typically riddled with ways for you to damage your boards. So, keeping your SUPs safe and secure should be a priority, as well. And while it’s not an official rule, storing the boards off the ground – or strapped to the ceiling – is usually the way to go.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Is it okay to store a paddle board on its end? Technically speaking, it is. And it seems like a good way to save space, doesn’t it? But storing a paddle board on its end typically means that it’s just leaned up against the wall – which I DON’T recommend. If you decide to store the SUP on its end, make sure it’s the sides or tail – never the nose – with a bit of padding for protection.
- Proper weight distribution prevents pressure points, which is a must. Even if you get a SUP rack, stand, or suspension system, remember that gravity will win every time – no matter what. Avoid any pressure points and try to distribute the weight across the entire board – or deformation will be an issue.
- Keep your SUP away from heat. You went through the hassle of protecting your boards from UV rays; that’s great. What you may not realize is that placing your SUPs near heat sources (a furnace, for example) will do just as much damage to their shape. Keep your SUP in a room with a relatively constant temperature and, preferably, low humidity levels to avoid heat-induced warps and deformations.
Can You Store An Inflatable Paddle Board In A Hot Garage?
That depends on your definition of a “hot room.”
Anything above 100 degrees Fahrenheit is out of the question. In other words, if the garage isn’t well insulated or contains a furnace, you’ll need to move your board to a different room.
The air inside can expand due to heat exposure and might actually cause your inflatable SUP to explode.
What if you just don’t have any room to spare inside, though?
No problem. Time for lesson number two:
Outdoors SUP Storage 101: How To Store A Paddle Board Outdoors?
The first thing one must consider when figuring out how to store a paddle board outside is the elements – and how to protect your board from them. Leaving the SUP exposed to sunlight, rain, or even winds – if it’s not properly secured – will damage the board in the long run.
The basic rules of SUP storage always apply – whether you’re storing it inside or outside. That said, outdoor storage doesn’t offer protection from stuff like UV rays, extreme temperatures, and pests – which makes things a bit more challenging.
So, what outdoor spot should you choose?
It depends on your yard – but you should generally look for an area with lots of shade during the day that – preferably – also limits the board’s exposure to the elements and moisture.
Here are some suggestions:
- If you have a deck, use it. If your garage is a bit too cramped for your paddle board, don’t worry – your deck can be a great alternative. The same goes for a covered porch or the eaves of your roof – anything that creates a sheltered area for your board, really.
- Keep your board wrapped in a UV-resistant tarp. If there are no roof-like structures in your yard – or there’s no room under any of them – consider wrapping your SUP in a tarp or building a simple, tent-like, UV-resistant shelter.
- SUP racks, stands, and mounting systems are still an option. If all else fails, getting a freestanding rack or mounting your SUP to a wall or fence is still a viable option. That may keep your board secure – but not safe. So, even if you set up a rack, be sure to lock your SUP and keep it covered at all times.
Storing An Inflatable Paddle Board
Inflatable stand-up paddle boards come with a different set of storage rules attached to them. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the instructions manual usually recommends not to leave your SUP inflated and just lying around somewhere.
That said, storing inflatable SUPs is pretty straightforward:
- Wash the board thoroughly, remove any dirt, salt residue, and sand, and let it dry.
- Deflate it – either fully or by about 20% of the board’s maximum PSI.
- Store it in a cool, dry space, making sure it’s not exposed to direct sunlight.
If you decide to deflate the SUP entirely and pack it in a storage bag, here are a few more tips:
- Leave the valve open.
- Don’t pack it into the bag until you’re certain it’s completely dry.
- Try not to compress the SUP too tightly. Roll it up loosely – squeezing the air out one section at a time – until you make a “SUP burrito.”
Does that mean you shouldn’t ever leave an inflatable paddle board inflated on a rack as you would with a rigid SUP board, though?
Should Paddle Boards Be Stored Inflated?
They can – but with one crucial precaution:
You should deflate it a bit – by roughly 20% – before putting it away.
Keeping your inflatable SUP slightly under the standard PSI limit will prolong its life expectancy – and ensure that it can return to its full PSI potential when the next season rolls around. Deflating it slightly leaves enough room for your board to expand without causing any permanent damage to its structure.
Three Go-To Ways To Store A Stand-Up Paddle Board
Whether you plan on keeping your boards inside or outside, there are a few great SUP storage solutions to choose from – including the following:
On A Rack
By far the most popular option of the bunch, paddle board racks are the best storage solution for anyone with a SUP. There are a few types of racks to consider here, by the way:
- Freestanding Racks – The first one that comes to mind when you hear the words “SUP rack” is probably one of those freestanding racks you would typically see in SUP gear stores. They are the easiest option to set up, too. Just put it together – and your SUP will have a new home soon enough.
- Wall Racks – Wall racks would be option number two, but they provide the same result – with a few additional screws and some holes in your wall, that is. Setting them up is a bit trickier – but they save you some space and tend to look better, too.
- Ceiling Racks – Last but not least, the ceiling rack is a great choice for those who don’t have any room to spare in their house or garage. It’ll be up and out of the way, which is a huge plus for small spaces.
Oh, and you can build one yourself:
So, should you go with a rack?
Well, the ease of getting everything ready might be reason enough for many people – I’m in that group myself, by the way. The simplicity of it makes me prefer this kind of setup over everything else.
Plus, if you have a good-looking SUP, placing it on a rack gives you a chance to “show off” – and keep it on display in the house.
Here are some rules to keep in mind:
- Make sure not to, under any circumstances, overload your rack.
- Keep the weight distribution in check and make sure there are no pressure points that could cause the board to deform.
- Add padding and use straps that will still cradle the board gently but secure it in place, minimizing the risk of scratches.
- If the straps run across the SUP’s body, place it on the rack deck-first to protect the hull.
I know what you are thinking; suspending a paddle board and putting it on a ceiling rack is pretty much the same, right?
Well, no – not exactly. Suspending your SUP board means a couple of things:
First, it’s a tad bit more difficult to set everything up – but having the SUP suspended saves a lot of space and makes it easier to retrieve when needed. As such, they are a highly recommended choice for those who use their paddle boards frequently.
Here’s how I look at it:
If you’re only using your SUP during the season, get yourself a rack; they are simpler and easier to set up. However, if you don’t have a ton of floor space, but still want relatively quick access to your board, get yourself a SUP hoist system.
How does it work?
Instead of just placing the paddle boards on the rack bars, you’re suspending them using a hoist system. So, you can pull on the control rope and lower the board without actually having to climb up and retrieve it – which is definitely more convenient.
Oh, and note that, with this kind of setup, the SUP’s hull should be stored facing up towards the ceiling.
I’ve been going on and on about how SUP racks are quick and easy to set up – and how much I like them. However, that doesn’t mean that SUP stands don’t deserve mention as a paddle board storage method.
They are as simple as you can go SUP-storage-wise without just leaving the boards on the floor. Stands come in two main flavors – vertical and horizontal – and most can be used for indoor and outdoor storage.
They’re the most portable storage solution out of the three. So, if you’re on the go a lot and want to store your paddle board correctly, a lightweight and movable stand will be the right fit.
On a related note, can you store the paddle board upright?
Well, that’s why you have SUP stands:
With the right SUP stand that can handle your paddle board’s weight, you can take advantage of the space-saving upright position. Just make sure it’s properly secured – and you’ll be good to go.
Preparing You Paddle Board For Long-Term Storage: A Few Tips
Long-term stand-up paddle board storage requires a bit more effort on your part. You can’t just throw it in a corner, forget about it for the next few months, and expect that the board will stay in prime condition; it’s just not realistic.
So, before you put it away, be sure to:
- Remove any gear or accessories, such as fins, a SUP leash, camera mount, and fishing rod holders.
- Rinse the board with fresh water, clean it thoroughly, and then rinse again. You can use the 303 Marine Multi-Surface Cleaner or STAR BRITE Ultimate Paddlesports Cleaner & Protect for this. If you have an iSUP, be sure to clean the valves.
- Let the board dry to avoid any mold and mildew growth.
- If you have a fiberglass SUP, consider waxing it before storage.
- Apply a layer of UV-protective spray, like 303 Marine Aerospace Protectant, especially if you’ll be storing the board outside.
- Put the board in a travel bag or use a storage cover for additional protection against stuff like dust, moisture, and pests.
What Rules Can You Follow To Make Sure Your SUP Is Safe?
At the end of the day, paddle board storage comes down to your preferences and the space you have at your disposal. That said, there are a few “rules” I’d like you to remember when deciding where to store a paddle board:
#1 Keep It Somewhere Secure
If there is one thing I’d highlight as crucial here, it’s that your board needs to be safe and secure.
Granted, you don’t have to keep it hidden, but it’s not exactly something you should keep out for everyone walking by to see – and potentially try to steal.
Your garage, coupled with some sort of security system – even if it is a simple chain and padlock or a security cable – is the safest option. But if indoor storage isn’t an option, cover the paddle board and secure it to any solid, non-movable structure in your yard.
I recommend investing in a good cable lock, such as the Master Lock Python Cable Lock – for less than $20 it could save you thousands.
#2 Keep Your Paddle Board Away From Direct Light (Or Covered)
A weather resistant tarp or a board sleeve isn’t a must-have here – but it could help keep your SUPs looking good for a long time.
That said, if you don’t feel like spending more money after buying a board, you might try keeping it in the shade. It’s not ideal – but it’s better than nothing.
Even if you decide to disregard everything else I’ve said, make sure to keep it away from direct sunlight. The thing is, sun exposure can cause a number of issues, including increased internal pressure, bubbling in the epoxy, separation of the deck pad – and a long list of other detrimental problems.
#3 Consider The Humidity
Humidity in the garage or basement – or even inside the house, depending on where you live – is an inevitable part of life. That said, if you have a serious problem with humidity – let alone mold – keep your SUP away from it.
The more they get exposed to such conditions, the higher the risk is of mildew developing within the hollow parts of your SUP.
And you don’t want a moldy SUP, now, do you?
#4 Make Sure The Temperature Is Stable
Don’t worry; these boards can handle a wide range of temperatures – and keeping your paddle boards in a room where the temperatures range from 40 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit should be fine.
The key rule is to keep the SUP somewhere where the temperature is relatively stable. Extreme fluctuations in temperature are a recipe for damage.
This temperature talk brings me to another important lesson:
How To Store A Paddle Board In Winter?
The rule is pretty simple, really:
Keep it away from the cold.
Long-term outdoor paddle board storage – especially if the winters in your area tend to be long and harsh – is a terrible idea. Ideally, you would want to keep your board inside over the winter. If that is not an option, though, the least you can do is wrap your SUP in a tarp (or pack it in a bag) and keep it off the ground.
As for an inflatable SUP, just deflate it, roll it up, and store it somewhere in the house.
#5 Keep Your Boards Off The Ground
It seems logical – and convenient – to just place your board on the ground.
Why would you buy a rack when you can just let gravity do its thing – and keep your paddle board on the ground, right?
Well, not quite:
Keeping the board on the ground is a recipe for dings and scratches – and, in some cases, even hull deformation.
#6 Your SUP Shouldn’t Be Near Pets Or Small Children
Trust me; you don’t want to know about the amount of damage that your pets – and rodents that might find their way to the board – can inflict upon that brand new SUP of yours.
And with small kids, there’s also the issue of safety:
Having the SUP fall over and injure someone – be it your child or family pets – is a risk you don’t want to take.
Now’s the time to play it safe – and keep both pets and children away from your paddleboarding equipment.
#7 Make It Easy To Access
You might not need your SUP all day, every day – but when the weather clears up, you will likely pick it up any chance you get.
So, when making plans and figuring out how to store standup paddle boards, the best course of action is to make them as easily accessible as possible.
One, it makes the board easier to retrieve when needed, without having to dig your way through a bunch of other stuff.
And two, it allows you to check on your board for mold and mildew growth – and other forms of damage – during long-term storage.
Keeping your SUP in the back and out of sight is fine during the winter months – but you’ll regret that decision when it’s finally time to hit the waters if you haven’t checked in on it periodically.
Best Way To Store A Paddle Board: Summary
When it comes to how to store a paddle board, the rules are pretty clear:
- Be sure not to keep your SUPs on the floor, leaned against the wall, or on any other surface where it’s not safely attached to anything.
- Make sure the board is protected against theft and damage.
- Get a SUP rack, suspension system, or wall mounts for organized storage solutions.
- Don’t keep your inflatable boards at their maximum PSI capacity. You need to leave room for heat-induced expansion.
- Both indoor and outdoor paddle board storage can work well – as long as you take the necessary precautions.
- Leaving the SUP on the ground, placing it on a rack or stand that can’t handle its weight, leaving it in the sun or out during the rainy seasons – these things are a no-no.
SUPs are actually pretty tough and durable; that’s a fact. Still, you wouldn’t believe how a bunch of minor damages can accumulate over time!
As long as you follow these best SUP storage practices, it won’t be that hard to keep your SUPs in prime condition for years to come!