Going away for a SUP weekend trip is a great way to practice your board skills while enjoying some time in the great outdoors. Camping out under the stars and building a fire to gather around after a day paddling out on the water is awesome fun, but be prepared. Take this first step to make sure your SUP weekend trip goes to plan and you don’t end up in trouble. Packing the right equipment and taking the necessary precautions will ensure that your first Stand Up Paddleboarding adventure won’t be your last.
First Things First: The Right Board
A touring SUP board is what you need, forget your racer or wave riding board. You need a large board so that you are stable with all your gear on it too, and so that the board forgives you when you are tired and off-balance. Consider a touring board of 14 foot or more and one that has space to store your gear on too. Even a small tent and minimal supplies will probably weight no less than 40 lbs so you need a board that will hold the load.
What to Pack: Keep it Light
Start with the camping essentials and pack everything in a drybag; a tent, sleeping bag, torch, foldaway stove, matches, utility tool, you know the drill. Now think carefully about what else you really need to bring. If you are definitely going to fish bring your rod and tackle, but if you just might fish don’t bother. Same goes for anything else you just might use. More weight will mean harder paddling and decreased stability on your board so don’t make things harder for yourself. Keep clothing down to a bare minimum, one non-paddling outfit is enough. If you want to take alcohol, ditch the packs of beer in favour of a small bottle of rum or whiskey. Packing water purification tablets or a filter will eliminate the need to carry lots of water, but research ahead to make sure the fresh water from the lake is not contaminated. Take only what you know you’ll eat, so plan a weekend recipe plan and stick to it.
The Dress Rehearsal
Whatever you do, never drive out into the wilderness without checking that you can handle everything you want to take on your SUP board. Before the trip head to your nearest water spot and get your SUP out on the water with all your gear packed onto it. Call it a dress rehearsal, dry run, whatever you like. At least now you will know the best way to store and fasten your gear to your board, if you can really handle the weight, and will also have time to reduce weight if necessary.
It is up to you where you decide to go and that is half of the fun, but if you are stuck for ideas then here are a couple for you. Over in Mono County, California, is a town called Lee Vining, and right next to this town is Mono Lake. It is a great beginner spot and you can use the town as a base. You might even meet other SUP boarders out doing the same thing. If you live further north then try out Cooper Lake in Washington State, another favourite weekend paddle destination for SUP boarders. Other than that, pick up a map and start exploring!
Last on the List
Once you have everything planned out, tell a friend of family member where you’re going and when you will be back. Provide as much detail in your itinerary as possible, leave your mobile phone number with them and make sure it is fully charged before you leave. Even buy a portable battery pack to recharge it while away from mains power. If anything goes wrong on your trip this small safety precaution could save your life.