Technically speaking, you only need a SUP board and a paddle – and a life jacket – to get into paddle boarding. These are considered the fundamental components of SUP equipment for a reason.
But there’s a way to make paddle boarding even more fun – and a lot safer, too.
By including some of the best paddle board accessories into the mix.
Some of the items I’ve included in this list are absolute necessities. And others? Well, I won’t lie; others are more on the “nice to have” side of things – although, I should add, that does not make them any less important.
So, if you’re looking to upgrade your paddle boarding equipment, I suggest you stick around!
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Best Paddle Board Accessories: Paddle Boarding Essentials For 2023
Stand-up paddle boarding is a great way to get some exercise and have some fun out on the water. But if you want to make the most of your paddle boarding experience, you need the right SUP gear and accessories.
Just a few essential paddle boarding accessories can make a big difference in your safety, comfort, and enjoyment while paddling. And when it comes to SUP gear, there are a few must-haves that every paddle boarder needs.
Here are 22 of the best paddle board accessories for 2023:
1. Kayak Conversion Kit – Kayak Seat
Stand-up paddleboarding is about – well, standing on your board as you paddle. But that can get tiring at times, which is why it’s so nice to have the option of sitting down when you feel like it.
Now, you could technically just sit directly onto the board – but wouldn’t it be more comfortable if you had a proper seat to support you and add some cushioning?
Yeah, I figured you’d agree with me on that. That’s why I would like to introduce you to your new best friend and one of the top must-have inflatable paddle board accessories – a kayak seat.
THURSO SURF’s SUP-to-kayak seat, for example, is a fantastic choice, featuring an ergonomic design with supportive EVA foam, adjustable straps, and a small, detachable storage bag in the back.
Alternatively, you could opt for a full-blown kayak conversion kit.
This Boardworks Kanaloa kayak conversion kit essentially allows you to transform your board into – well, not quite a kayak, but something resembling one. The best is that it includes an extra blade that turns your single-bladed SUP paddle into a two-blade kayak paddle.
How’s that for convenient?
2. Lightweight SUP Paddle
Remember what I said about your board and paddle being the fundamental parts of your SUP gear list? Well, I’d like to talk a bit more about the latter – your weapon of choice, if you will, as a paddler.
I know that some beginner boards come with a paddle – but I also know that the quality is often less than stellar. And the thing is, you won’t know the true joys of stand-up paddleboarding until you’ve got a lightweight SUP paddle in your hands.
So, may I introduce you to the KIALOA Makai FG – a high-quality SUP paddle constructed out of fiberglass, complete with a nylon-reinforced fiberglass blade!
Alternatively, if you would like to go even lighter and opt for a Carbon fiber paddle shaft, then the Abahub Carbon SUP Paddle – with a fully adjustable, three-piece design – would be a better and more travel-friendly choice.
3. Personal Flotation Device
Did you think I wouldn’t include life jackets on this must-have SUP gear list? I honestly believed you knew me better than that!
All jokes aside, a personal flotation device (PFD for short) is one of the three paddle boarding essentials – that all paddle boarders should own – and the single most important thing besides your SUP board and a paddle.
Sure, stand-up paddle boarding is generally pretty safe – but it’s still a water sport, which means there’s always a risk involved in the equation. And since I want to make sure you get home safe at the end of the day, I insist on you wearing a personal flotation device.
No one expects you to wear those old-fashioned, ugly-looking, awkward-fitting, orange life vests – not when there are sleek, well-fitted PFDs for stand-up paddle boarding available.
Case in point:
The NRS Ninja is a low-profile Type III PFD designed with paddlers in mind, ensuring that you’ll have an unrestricted range of motion while staying comfortable and safe on the water.
And if you are on the slightly larger side, the O’Neill Reactor life vest is an excellent choice. This plus-side PFD will give you the extra flotation you need without sacrificing comfort or mobility.
No matter which PFD you choose, make sure it’s comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time and that it won’t inhibit your paddle boarding performance.
4. Paddle Board Electric Pump
If you’re confused as to why you would ever need to carry around an electric pump when you go paddle boarding, that’s because you don’t need one. This section isn’t for you; it’s for people who opted for an inflatable SUP.
So, if you have a rigid SUP board, just keep on scrolling – but if you have an iSUP, hear me out:
While I do agree that inflatable boards are convenient in many other aspects, manual inflation is a lot of work – especially, if like me, you have several inflatable paddle boards to inflate.
And who wants to waste all their time and energy on that, am I right? “Work smarter, not harder” – and all that jazz.
Anyways, back to the point:
An electric pump will be your best friend. So, I’d like you to consider adding the OutdoorMaster THE SHARK to your paddle boarding equipment.
With the automatic dual-stage operation, an active cooling system, and a full set of nozzles – among other things – it’s one of the best electric pumps I’ve tried so far.
Pumping multiple boards was a breeze, thanks to this little beauty and we were shocked at just how quiet it was. And trust me when I say, this isn’t a statement you can make about most electric paddle board pumps!
It also makes light work of deflating your SUPS at the end of the paddling session – so wins around – overal, a great SUP accessory!
5. SUP Cooler Box
Do I need to explain why having a SUP cooler box could be a smart idea on a hot summer afternoon? Yeah, I hope not.
But just to ensure we’re all on the same page here, I’ll state the obvious, anyway:
A SUP cooler box is a simple solution to a very common problem – ensuring that your drinks and food don’t overheat in direct sunlight.
If you want to keep your snacks and beverages (non-alcoholic, of course) as cool and refreshing as possible, you will need a SUP cooler box, plain and simple. And trust me, you’ll appreciate a cold drink after a few hours of paddling in the sun.
On that note, may I suggest checking out the THURSO SURF SUP cooler box?
With a capacity to fit up to 20 cans, triple-layer construction with a PVC leak-proof interior, and a mesh pocket, this thing is worth its weight in gold and will keep your drinks ice cold for hours
6. Fishing Rod Holder
I’d say this one’s pretty self-explanatory.
If you want to try fishing from your SUP, you’re going to need a fishing rod – among other things, of course – which automatically means you’ll need a way to keep it in place, too.
Switching from your paddle to the fishing rod, and vice versa, can be tricky – and you don’t want to risk losing it in the water, do you?
Enter fishing rod holders:
The Scotty #230 Powerlock Rod Holder is designed to be multi-functional and fully adjustable – and it can be installed on your hard SUP using a standard gear track system or a drill-in mount base, whatever works for you.
Of course, if you have an inflatable SUP, this fishing rod holder won’t cut it. You need something that can be mounted without drilling any holes – which is where this Scotty Glue-On Mount might be a better choice.
7. Paddle Board Cart
Okay, it’s time to talk a bit more about how you plan to carry your board – or boards, plural – from your vehicle to the water. And trust me, it’s often much trickier than it sounds.
You generally have a couple of options here:
A SUP carry strap – which, by the way, is also included in this list – is one of them. But when you have to carry your SUP board over a longer distance – especially over rough terrain – while also hauling other items, a simple shoulder strap probably won’t cut it.
It’s time to call for backup in the form of a paddle board cart.
Since we’re already here, I figured I should recommend a go-to of mine, COR Surf’s Adjustable Stand Up Paddleboard Cart.
Constructed out of aluminum, it’s both lightweight and durable – and capable of accommodating boards of all sizes. Plus, it features foam bumpers that will protect your board during transport – which is a nice touch.
8. Paddle Holder
The more money you spend on a paddle, the more evident it becomes that it, too, requires some form of “protection” while on the water. And here, by protection, I actually mean some way to “secure” it to the board when you need to free up your hands.
For instance, if you have to grab your fishing rod or want to snap some photos with your phone, that also means you’ll have to put your paddle down. And on SUPs, there’s not much to prevent it from rolling straight off into the water.
That’s why installing a paddle holder might be a good idea.
You don’t need anything fancy, either. This simple YYST SUP Paddle Keeper employs clips that snap onto D-rings or bungee cords and straps that wrap around your paddle. Plus, it requires no drilling – which is a definite plus.
9. Paddle Board Carry Strap
And finally, we get to the previously mentioned paddle board carrying strap. I might have made it seem as if they’re not really practical and that, nine times out of ten, you’re better off just getting a SUP cart.
That’s far from the truth, though.
When you just need a quick way to carry it to the water, paddle board carry straps can make the whole thing a lot easier. I mean, you won’t have to deal with the SUP slipping around or digging into your hip any longer – and that alone is reason enough to use these straps.
Of course, you want a paddle board carry strap that’s made of quality materials, adjustable, and padded so that it doesn’t dig into your shoulders.
And that’s why I generally recommend the OCEANBROAD SUP Paddle Board Carry Strap.
It features adjustable, two-inch-wide straps – wide enough to prevent discomfort – with neoprene padding that prevents it from slipping. Oh, and to add to the convenience, it also boasts a Velcro paddle holder.
Pretty neat, huh?
10. Board Bag
Here’s another paddle board accessory that could prove quite helpful if your plan is to travel with your SUP – a board bag. Before you get a chance to ask why you’d need one of these, l want to remind you that your SUP board is an investment.
And after spending quite a bit of money on your board, you probably want to make it last – which also involves protecting it from dirt and debris, the elements, and dings and scratches.
That’s where a paddle board bag comes in:
It’s the perfect way to protect your SUP from anything that could damage it – both during storage and transportation – which, in turn, keeps it in top shape for longer.
Besides, it makes traveling with a paddle board more convenient since the bag usually features additional pockets to store all your accessories you might bring along. It’s just neat to have all your essentials in one place.
On that note, I recommend the Abahub Premium SUP Travel Bag. It is made of premium-quality materials – a water-resistant PE shell with 600D reinforcements and a foam core – has a padded neoprene strap and features two pockets, including an external one for your SUP accessories.
11. Deck Bag
The thing about SUP boards is that, despite having an average load limit of a couple of hundred pounds, they don’t really offer any storage solutions. I mean, we are talking about a board – you can’t expect it to have an actual storage area.
So, what do you do with all your stuff, then?
You invest in a high-quality deck bag, of course!
Whether you’re going on a short afternoon cruise, day oup SUP fishing or a full-blown touring expedition, you want to have one of these secured on your SUP. Otherwise, you won’t have any way to store your other gear, snacks, and valuables – simple as that.
The Sea to Summit SUP Deck Bag is my trusty companion on the water. It’s large enough to fit water bottles, some snacks, sunscreen, and other smaller items. With self-adhesive lash points, this waterproof deck bag is made specifically for standing up paddle board decks and may be positioned exactly where you want it.
Oh, and it includes a free waterproof phone case, too.
12. Dry Bag
Yup, this one literally does what the name implies – it keeps your stuff dry. And yes, that is pretty darn important if you plan on bringing valuables – such as your smartphone, camera, keys, or ID card – on your outing.
Plus, it keeps your spare clothes dry, too.
In essence, a dry bag is there to “protect” all those items that must not – under any circumstance – get wet.
My advice is:
Don’t cheap out on an essential item like this one. You want to have a dry bag you can rely on – and any initial savings could actually cost you a lot in the future, should the bag fail and your valuables suffer water damage.
That’s a worst-case scenario right there.
Also make sure you know to close you dry bags properly, check the video below for a few tips;
I’m a big fan of MARCHWAY’s floating dry bag. I might not trust this roll-top dry bag with my life – but I would definitely trust it with my wallet and smartphone. And that’s all you could ask for from a dry bag, really.
But, if you are looking for something smaller which can be worn then I recommend checking out these top waterproof waist packs.
13. SUP Leash
Next on the must-have SUP gear list is a paddle board leash – another one of those things you might not think you need, but trust me, you do.
Much like a PFD, a SUP leash is an essential piece of paddle boarding equipment that you should never go paddling without.
Why would a leash be such a big deal, though?
Well, as you’re aware, the waters can be somewhat unpredictable. Should you fall off the board and end up in the water, this simple but oh-so-important accessory will ensure that you don’t get separated from your board. And, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen people go out on the water without a leash, only to watch them swim after their boards as it floats downstream
The only way to prevent your SUP from drifting away (and ensure that you can get back on it) is to be physically attached to it – and that’s where a SUP leash comes in.
On that note, I generally recommend a coiled leash over “regular,” straight ones. My go-to these days is the Vamo 10′ Coiled SUP Leash.
It features a padded neoprene cuff – complete with a quick-release tab and a key pocket – and it stretches up to five times the coiled length, for a maximum of 10 feet. Oh, and it’s available in a few different colors.
14. SUP Landing Mat
Okay, this piece of SUP equipment isn’t technically for you – it’s for your board. More specifically, it’s for your inflatable paddle board.
Now, I should tell you, right off the bat, that iSUPs can be surprisingly tough and durable. It’s not as if it will pop like a giant balloon at first sight of something sharp. However, inflatable SUPs still require careful handling.
And that brings me to something called a SUP landing mat.
It essentially acts as a beach blanket but bigger – big enough to fit a full-sized SUP on it – and is designed to protect your board from hard surfaces, like concrete, and any dirt and debris.
For instance, a SUP landing mat would come in particularly handy when you are setting up your inflatable board – and at the end of the day when you’re ready to deflate it and pack it up.
The NIXY Landing Mat is a fantastic choice. It’s large enough to fit most SUPs but still weighs a mere 1.2 pounds and fits into a small bag. Plus, it’s multi-functional and doubles as a beach mat that accommodates up to six people!
15. Paddle Board Anchor Kit
You might’ve never thought about adding an anchor kit to your paddle board equipment – but the truth is, it could come in handy from time to time. And if you’re into SUP fishing or SUP yoga then they really are an essential accessory to own.
Remember, stand-up paddle boarding isn’t just about covering long distances on your board.
Sometimes, you want to relax and enjoy the view, go fishing, or do some light SUP yoga. And all of these scenarios require you to keep your board in place and prevent it from drifting off due to the wind and currents.
That’s where a paddle board anchor kit comes in.
Anchors for SUPs are generally pretty compact and lightweight, this one from Best Marine being a prime example of that. It weighs in at only 3.5 pounds and comes with the necessary trolley kit accessories, including rope, carabiner clips, and a buoy ball.
And since most kayak anchors work for paddle boards, too, you can find more options here!
16. Roof Rack
I already talked about the importance of having a board bag when transporting your SUP boards to the water – let alone traveling with them. Unless you live right by the water, hauling your board will be something to think about here.
Speaking of transporting your board, I should probably add that it’s not something you could just throw on the backseat of your car – well, unless you have an inflatable board, of course. But that is a whole different discussion.
The point is:
You’ll need a roof rack for paddle boards. Otherwise, traveling anywhere with your board will be a frustrating – if not flat-out impossible – ordeal.
This SUPDawg Rooftop-Mounted Rack from YAKIMA is a great choice – capable of carrying two paddle boards at a time. Plus, it features integrated rollers for easier loading, soft padding along the cradle, and an adjustable slider that will fit SUPs up to 36 inches wide.
17. SUP Lock
Yes, there is such a thing as a SUP lock. Surprised? Well, you really shouldn’t be – paddle board theft is an actual thing, and it happens more often than one might assume.
If you ask me, you have two options here:
You either invest in a SUP lock, or you risk having to invest in a whole new board every time you leave it unattended to grab a quick lunch or take a bathroom break.
And the former seems a lot more reasonable, doesn’t it?
It doesn’t need to be “fancy.” As long as you choose an effective SUP lock that allows you to tie your board to a tree or a roof rack, you’ll have a reliable SUP security system – and the peace of mind that comes with it.
On that note, I recommend the Deluxe SUP kit from DOCKsLOCKs with their patented anti-theft security system. It includes everything you’ll need to lock your standup paddle board – plus a lock for your paddle.
18. Waterproof Phone Case
Yeah, yeah, I already convinced you to get a dry bag for your SUP – and now, I’m telling you that it won’t be enough. I mean, it can be enough – if you don’t intend on taking your phone out of the bag and snapping photos, that is.
The risk of dropping your smartphone in the water (because where else would it possibly end up) and never seeing it again is real. And even if you somehow manage to retrieve it, there’s a chance that it might not work.
So, if you hope to use your smartphone safely, a waterproof phone case – like this one from Hiearcool, for example – is worth adding to your list of SUP accessories.
I like the Hiearcool one because it’s designed to accommodate a wider range of phones, has an IPX8 waterproof rating and is fully submersible, and doesn’t affect the touch screen functions or block the camera.
19. SUP Rack (Storage Rack)
Have you thought about where (and how) you plan on storing your SUP board? I mean, I guess that is not such a big deal with an inflatable SUP. When deflated, they can fit under the bed or in the closet.
Good luck trying to pull that off with a full-sized rigid board, though.
That brings me to my next point:
You should consider investing in a SUP rack for storage.
Since we’re already here, I’d like to recommend the Suspenz SUP Rack. It uses a cradling strap system and a steel frame to evenly distribute the SUP’s weight and prevent pressure points that might form during long-term storage.
You can even attach it to a free-standing rack – if you have one.
On a related note, maybe some of these kayak storage solutions could work for your SUP, too?
20. Waterproof Speaker
A little bit of music makes any outing infinitely better. There is something special about cruising down a river, paddling to the beat of your favorite song on a summer afternoon; just trust me on that.
It simply melts all the worries and stress away.
The tricky part – well, at least for paddlers – is finding a portable Bluetooth speaker that sounds good and can survive close encounters with the water.
I’ve gone through several reportedly waterproof speakers – and I say “reportedly” because a few failed the first time some water splashed onto them – until I finally settled on the JBL Clip 3.
And, well, it’s been my go-to ever since.
It is completely waterproof, with an IPX7 rating, has a built-in rechargeable battery that offers up to 10 hours of playback time, and features a nifty carabiner so that you can clip it onto your PFD or deck bag.
Of course, a waterproof speaker isn’t a crucial piece of paddle boarding equipment – but it sure makes things a lot more fun.
21. Action Camera And Mount
There are so many reasons to try stand-up paddle boarding this summer. Besides reducing your stress levels, spending time outside, and getting fit in the process, there’s also the fact that you’ll get to take some cool shots of you and your board in action.
Hey, there’s no shame in wanting to show off a bit and share your most epic SUP moments with friends and family.
Sure, your phone would suffice – but you’ll spend more time fiddling with it than paddling. Yeah, I figured that might be a deal-breaker.
So, may I introduce you to the ultimate action camera, the GoPro Hero 9?
It has a 23.6 MP sensor for capturing 20 MP photos and 5K video – with HyperSmooth 3.0 video stabilization, by the way – a rear touch-screen, front display, and it supports live streaming. Plus, it’s waterproof.
Already have an action camera? Then you’re likely going to need a proper mount for it – which is where this Bodhi Floaty Suction Cup Mount comes in.
And yes, this action camera mount works on inflatable SUPs, too.
I’m all for hitting the water at night. There’s something so tranquil about such outings, and it sure beats navigating your way through crowded waterways.
It genuinely is an experience like no other.
But if you’re someone who enjoys paddling at nighttime, then it’s critical to follow a few rules and be cautious during your time on the water.
Rule number one:
See and be seen.
And by that, I mean – equip your SUP board with proper navigation lights.
That sounds like something that’s reserved for larger boats – but it’s not. If you’re participating in marine traffic – even as a recreational boater – you need to follow the “rules of the water.” That is even more crucial if you’re doing so in low-light conditions, where visibility is severely limited.
You and your board will be hard to spot in the dark without navigation lights – and that increases the risk of accidents.
Paddle Board Gear: Quick Summary
That was a long read, huh? Well, if it’s any consolation, it took me WAY longer to put this whole thing together.
All jokes aside, though, it’s time to conclude this list of the best paddle board accessories. But before I do, I’d like to share one more nugget of SUP wisdom with you:
You seriously don’t need to go and get every single item featured on this list. Sure, I recommend – and personally use – most of this stuff, but realistically speaking, you don’t need all of it.
It’s more about picking the right paddle board accessories to suit and support your paddling adventures – whether you’re a beginner or an experienced SUP’er.
At the end of the day, your stand up paddle board gear should meet your needs.
So, think about which of these would be a must-have in terms of your SUP gear – and which are more along the lines of “nice to have but not really essential” – and choose accordingly.
With that being said, I hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to reach out – I’d love to hear from you. Until then, happy paddling!