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By now, you’re an expert paddle boarder, yearning for the next challenge, the next new experience. So, you decide to go out at night. While paddle boarding at night brings a new element of adventure to the sport, it is important to take certain precautionary measures to ensure a safe time on the water.
One of the most important accessories you’ll need is a SUP light. Not only will you be able to navigate your board more effectively, but a light also makes it easier for boats to spot you so they can keep a safe distance. And, depending on your location and the model of light, you might catch a glimpse of the aquatic nightlife!
Buying An SUP Light
SUP lights are a necessity if you’re going to go out at night. In fact, the U.S. Coast Guard regulations require paddle boarders to have some form of light if they are out after sunset. If you are going to buy an SUP light, the first choice to make is whether you want the light above or underwater. Underwater lights are made for safety and visibility, making you much easier to spot, and illuminate the water just around you. Above water lights have slightly lower visibility, but are more effective for navigation.
In a rush, here’s a comparison of some of the light systems we’ll be reviewing today:
|PoHo Surf Shop Northern Lights SUP & Kayak LED Light System||Prime||Get Details|
|Light & Motion SOLA Dive 800 S/F Black Underwater Light||Prime||Get Details|
|VITCHELO Black Headlamp Flashlight - Red Safety Light - 6 Light Modes - Super Bright IPX6 Waterproof Adjustable Head Light - 3 AAA Batteries - Running, Jogging, Camping, Hiking, Cycling - Kids, Adults||Prime||Get Details|
|Innovative Lighting - 560-1110 Portable LED Bow Light with Suction Cup||Prime||Get Details|
|Botepon Marine Boat Bow Lights, Red and Green Led Navigation Lights, Kayak Accessories, Marine Safety Lights Battery Operated for Boat Pontoon Kayak Yacht Motorboat Vessel Dinghy Catamaran||Prime||Get Details|
Underwater SUP Lights:
Since we began reviewing paddle boarding nighttime equipment the availability of lighting equipment has really declined. The options for illuminating beneath your board have really dwindled. If you wanted to have some kind of light that attaches to the bottom or sides of your board so that the water beneath you is illuminated as you ride you will have few options and most of them are designed predominantly for kayaks.
Poho Underwater LED System
If you are more interested in paddling out during the night and hand holding your light while swimming underwater there are many really good options. Why? Because this parallels the activities of snorklers and scuba divers. If you want an amazing underwater swimming experience check out this handheld light.
Light & Motion SOLA Dive Lights:
The Sola Dive Light is the priciest option on this list, but it also has the most options, settings, bells and whistles. It’s not made specifically for paddle boarding, (it’s made with scuba divers in mind) but it is an excellent option for navigation and visibility. Once attached to the hand with its wrist strap, this waterproof light can be used for an assortment of tasks, with an 800 lumen floodlight and 500 lumen spotlight. Most reviewers recommend the 800 lumen light, however, since it provides much more light coverage of a wider area. Its rechargeable battery has multiple power settings, lasting from 70-280 minutes. The only possible drawback to this option is that it might take some time getting used to paddling while shining the light, as it is on your wrist.
In sum, this light is bright, comfortable to wear, waterproof, durable, and provides a great option for night-time navigation.
You could also strap it to the front of your board, but at these types of price points you had better be careful!
Above Water SUP Lights:
Vitchelo V800 Headlamp:
The Vitchelo V800 is an excellent option for paddleboarders on a budget. It is one of the more affordable lighting options on this list, but nonetheless a good choice.
Unlike the Sola Dive Light, the Vitchelo Headlamp keeps your hands free. It’s 168 lumen LED bulbs cast a light as far as 360 feet, giving you ample time to see, react, steer, and navigate on the water. It has a white and red light option (the red light also provides an S.O.S. flashing light,), and you can adjust the brightness to your preference. It takes 3 AAA batteries, with up to 120 hours of battery life on its dimmest setting.
While the full title of the product does include “waterproof,” it is only waterproof up to a certain point, so it is really more water resistant. It will survive splashes of water, but probably not a dive.
Innovative Bow Light
Botepon Marine Lights
If you are just looking to paddle out once or twice a season in the dark and want to start off with a really inexpensive option you might consider these Botepon Marine Lights. Providing red/green illumination they server as a safety signal to other boaters in the water. They are one of the most affordable ways to stay safe paddling at night.
On a Budget? Don’t Worry!
In all honesty, SUP lights can be pretty expensive. But, you shouldn’t let the price discourage you from trying night-time paddle boarding. It’s definitely a whole different experience, one that if you’re up for it, can be a great adventure. There are many options out there, ranging all sorts of prices, while still providing the necessary safety precautions.
If some of the higher-tier lights are out of your price budget, I would recommend a headlamp or flashlight for navigation. Just remember that flashlights can easily roll right off the deck of your board.
Waterproof LED strip lights are a cheaper, but effective choice for visibility, and can be attached to your board. The options are limitless.
SUP Lights, Final Notes:
When choosing the best option for you, keep in mind:
- Underwater lights are best for making your board visible, and some models can even allow you to see underwater wildlife. Most underwater options were designed specifically for SUPs.
- Above water lights are great for navigation. They typically have a more focused beam, allowing you to see farther as you steer your board. There aren’t as many above water options made exclusively for SUPs, but they still work just as well for their purpose.
Not only are SUP lights a necessity for a night out on the water, but they also enhance your experience! Safe paddling, folks!