So, you’ve made an effort and bought the essential SUP gear. It’s great, but you want to keep your stuff intact and to look better for a long time as possible. Just like other water sports gear, your SUP gear will need a bit of care and maintenance to ensure it maintains its performance, usability, and of course, its good looks.
Most paddle board gear is durable enough and will only require a little bit of care every once in a while. Other items will require regular care and maintenance, particularly after use. The following is a comprehensive list of 4 commonly missed yet simple ways to care for your SUP gears to ensure they stay useful for a long time:
Lubrication and Rust Prevention
Once in a while (think: 3 to 6 months), take WD-40 or some basic household oil and lubricate all metallic pieces on your SUP gears. While most of the metal components on SUP gear are marine-grade stainless steel (Typically SAE 304 and SAE 316), lubrication will keep your equipment working well and ensure the harsh marine environment doesn’t cause any harm to the metallic components.
Additionally, if a non-stainless steel metal comes in contact with the stainless steel components, there’ll be a possibility for galvanic corrosion. To avoid this, ensure you lubricate the metallic pieces after SUPing and before storage. All in all, you’ve got nothing to worry about, but it’s wiser to lubricate metallic components on your SUP gear after use.
Clean the Life Jackets and PFDs
Life jackets and personal floatation devices (PFDS) are designed for flotation and keeping a conscious or unconscious person’s head out of the water, allowing them to breathe. Life jackets are generally more buoyant than PFDs. Despite the differences, the way you care for these SUP gears is quite similar.
The following easy-to-follow steps will help you to take proper care of your life jacket or PFD:
- Rinse your life jacket or PFD with clean water or a hose
- Mix a clean-rinsing detergent with at least 3 gallons (11 liters) of cold water.
- Apply cleaner directly to soiled areas and gently scrub using a soft-bristled brush without applying too much pressure on your gear.
- Dip your life jacket or PFD in a bucket filled with cold water and use a sponge to clean the entire surface and the straps.
- Rinse your gear with a hose or simply in the rinse water
- Allow your life jacket or PFD to dry, and don’t hang it in direct sunlight. A shady and well-ventilated outdoor spot will be better.
- Once dry, you can apply some UV protectant on your gear to prevent sun damage and fading.
Wetsuits and Drysuits Maintenance
Wetsuits and drysuits are essential pieces of your paddle board setup, especially in colder environments. Despite several differences between wetsuits and drysuits, the way you care for these SUP gears will be pretty similar.
The care and maintenance of these items involve cleaning and sometimes repairing if necessary. Below are simple steps to clean and repair your wetsuit or drysuit:
- Find a large container or tub to submerge your suit in the water.
- Mix 2 oz. (4 tablespoons) of wetsuits and drysuits shampoo with 4 gallons (15 liters) of cold water in the container or tub.
- Apply some cleaner on heavily soiled areas
- You can deodorize your wetsuit or drysuit by submerging it in a container filled with a solution of cold water and 1 oz (2 tablespoons) of a microbe-based odor remover. Soak the suit for at least 5 minutes and remove it.
- Rinse your suit with fresh cold water and air dry it completely
- Apply UV protectant to your wetsuit or drysuit to protect it from fading or sun damage.
Note: Always rinse your wetsuit or drysuit immediately after salty water use, and stay away from sharp objects as best as you can.
How to Repair Your Wetsuit or Drysuit
- Clean the repair area using isopropyl alcohol. This will help remove dirt, residue, and body oils that may hinder proper bond.
- For larger holes, apply a removable Scotch tape on the opposite side of the repair area to prevent the adhesive from oozing through the hole.
- Apply a thin layer of repair adhesive (i.e., Aquaseal FD) over the hole, tear, or rip.
- Allow the repair adhesive to keep flat and untouched for about 12 hours.
Use a SUP Bag
Last but not least is buying and using a stand-up paddleboarding bag. There are many ways to protect your SUP gear, the board and other accessories, but the easiest way is to keep them in a SUP bag. This bag has a myriad of purposes, and the main objective is to preserve your gear in pristine shape. The pack also makes it easier and safe to carry your items around.
Taking good care of your paddle board and gear will maintain their elegance and extend their life. If you follow the guidelines in this article, your SUP gear will stay in perfect condition and preserve their value over the years.