So, you’ve purchased your own SUP board, and you’re having a blast. But you can't stand-up paddle if you don't have a board. General maintenance and proper cleaning of your SUP board are a must to keep it in safe working order. Accidents and dings can happen, so let’s go over how to clean your board after a SUP session and what to do if your SUP board needs repairs:
How to Maintain Your SUP Board
After every use, you should rinse your stand-up paddleboard with fresh water, especially if you’re taking your paddleboard into the ocean. The saltwater build-up can leave your board sticky. Since stand-up paddling is an outdoor activity, you can expect some dirt and grime to build up over time.
If you notice that your paddleboard is starting to smell, using a solution of mild dish soap and water to keep your board smelling fresh. You can use a soft bristle brush to remove stubborn dirt, but never use anything abrasive to scrub your board.
2. Beware of Sun Damage
Although your board is durable enough for long stints in the water and in the sun, it wasn’t designed for extreme heat. Don’t leave your board on asphalt or cement because you could essentially cook your board. Leaving your board out in the sun could lead to delamination or compromise the integrity of the board. Excessive heat can also break down other parts of your board, like the traction pad. Store it in the shade when not in use.
3. Use a Paddle Board Bag
If you don’t have one already, get a travel and storage bag for your SUP board. A storage bag is a simple way to protect your board from cuts, snags, dings, and other things that could damage it. Plus, paddleboard bags can double as a carrying device for your SUP board. All of Smooth’s inflatable boards come with a convenient backpack-style travel bag, or you can purchase one separately.
*Allow your board to completely dry before packing your board away. For convenience, you may need to pack up quickly. However, once you get home, be sure to lay out your board in a shaded area to dry before packing away for extended periods to prevent mold or mildew.
Store your SUP board somewhere that doesn’t experience drastic temperature fluctuations and isn’t near anything that could damage it—like sharp tools in a garage. If you’re storing your stand-up paddleboard upright, make sure it’s secured and can’t fall over, as this can cause significant damage as well.
Smooth’s inflatable boards roll up to the size of a large sleeping bag and fit inside a convenient storage bag so you can discreetly store it inside in a closet or under a bed if you wish.
How to Repair Your SUP Board
Life happens. Whether you nick a rock or coral reef or accidentally drop your board, you may occasionally need to make repairs to your board. Some repairs you can do yourself; yet others may require a professional.
First, determine what your board is made of. Most likely, you have either a traditional solid fiberglass or epoxy resin board or an inflatable SUP board. Both require very different repairs:
Fiberglass/Epoxy/Resin Board Repairs
Most solid stand-up paddleboards are made out of layers of fiberglass or epoxy resin. Underneath is usually a foam or wood core. If your board is damaged to the point where you can see the foam or wood core, do not get it wet, as this can make your board waterlogged and potentially create irreversible damage. Many dings to your solid board are cosmetic, but it doesn’t hurt to repair them to prevent further damage. There are several DIY kits out there you can use to fill in minor dings or cracks:
1. Solar/UV Resin
Solar resin (also called UV resin) is exactly as it sounds; it cures with the help of the sun. There’s no need to mix this specific formula, and it hardens quickly (about 5 minutes) when exposed to sunlight. Solar/UV resin is for minor dings that you want to seal up to prevent further damage. It’s a suitable repair kit to keep with you on the go if you need to patch up minor dings quickly. The downside is, this won’t do for large damaged areas.
2. Fiberglass Ding Kit (Resin, Hardener, & Fiberglass)
A standard fiberglass ding repair kit will include resin, hardeners, and a fiberglass cloth for reinforcement. This type of kit is best for significant dings on a fiberglass board (also called a polyester board) that need a little more repair. You’ll have to sand down the damaged area of your board and clean it off before you begin adding your resin. These types of kits require mixing your resin with a hardener and will take longer to cure. However, the extra time is worth it for significant damage since it’s generally stronger than solar repair kits and can cover larger areas.
3. Epoxy Ding Kit (Epoxy Resin & Hardener)
Epoxy SUP boards will require similar repairs to a fiberglass board, but getting the right kit will help. If your board is made of epoxy resin, you’ll want to choose a ding repair kit that also uses epoxy resin. These kits also require sanding, mixing resin with a hardener, and applying it to the damaged parts of your board.
4. Putty Repair Kits
If you’re out in the water and don’t want a ding to ruin your session, consider bringing along a putty repair kit. You can repair minor dings with a special putty repairing compound that can cure quickly in and out of the water.
Inflatable SUP Repairs
Most inflatable SUP boards are made from ultra-durable PVC. So, while dings and cracks won’t happen, leaks and tears are still possible (although unlikely).
*Note: You cannot use the same repair methods on an inflatable board as you would for a solid fiberglass or epoxy SUP board. There are many SUP board patch kits out there, but most likely, they will all include a PVC patch and glue to adhere the patch.
Using Your Inflatable SUP Patch Kit
1. Clean Your Inflatable SUP Board
Start the repair process by cleaning the surface of your SUP. You can clean the area with mild soap and water. Don’t use a cleaning solution that will make it harder for your patch to stick (some cleaners leave a residue, making it hard for the glue to adhere and the patch to stick).
2. Get the Patch Ready
Cut out a piece of the patch from your patch repair kit that will fully cover the damaged area. Wipe the patch with a cloth to ensure that it is clean.
3. Apply the Glue
Your patch kit may come with a brush; if not, use a small painter's brush that you can toss afterward. Apply glue to the patch as well as the damaged portion of the board.
4. Apply the Patch
Put the patch onto the surface of your SUP board and press firmly to adhere and smooth out any lumps.
5. Allow to Dry
Allow at least 24 hours to dry and then clean up the area if needed. Now, get back out on the water!
Proper maintenance of your SUP board will prolong its life. If you don’t feel comfortable making board repairs, it doesn’t hurt to call in a professional. Check out your local surf shop to see if they can do repairs. They’ve seen it all and have the right tools to get your board up and running again so that you can get back out on the water.
For extra durability and convenience, be sure to check out Smooth's inflatable paddle board line. Happy SUPing!