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Stand up paddle boards can be a pain to move from place to place. Some distances are short enough not to use a car, but long enough to be a hassle. Here’s the good news: there are tons of modes of transportation for your board!
Multiple contraptions exist for the purpose of moving your board, such as: carts, wheels, straps, and the roof of your very own car. There are also specific steps to follow for carrying your board yourself.
Carts are made to move your board shorter distances. You just strap on your board and wheel away! SUP carts generally carry the board on its side, perpendicular to the ground. Some carts carry just one board, while others can carry two or more.
Ultimately, you want a good quality cart with sturdy wheels for sandy beaches, or in case you encounter some rugged terrain. Most carts also come with suction cup handles that you attach to the nose of the board to pull it along. Make sure the fin of the SUP is always facing up, to eliminate the risk of scratching it along the ground.
SUP carts can range anywhere from 100 to 200 dollars. You can make your own cart for a lot less money, but if you’re not handy with tools (I don’t blame you), buying a cart is a good investment.
Making Your Own Cart
I know what you might be thinking right now – why would you want to make your own cart? I can understand this. But keep in mind that standard SUP carts can cost anywhere from 100 to 200 bucks. Making your own cart is less expensive and definitely worth it!
To make your own cart, you’ll need to take a trip to the local hardware store for some PVC pipe, wheels, cords, and some other cheap supplies.
If you’re up for the benefits of making your own cart, here is a step-by-step procedure with all the supplies you’ll need:
SUP wheels are really just a different type of paddle board cart. If you want a lighter, more manageable mode of transportation for your board, you might want to invest in some SUP wheels.
Wheels generally carry the board parallel to the ground. With wheels, you can walk your board to the water with an attached handle. Most SUP wheels and carts come with handles, but if not you will need to buy them separately (more on transport handles later).
For an even easier way of transporting your SUP, you can also attach the nose of the board to the back of your bicycle and bike your board to the water. Also, similarly to carts, make sure the fin of the board is facing up so that it will not be scratched.
For more about SUP wheels, check out this website: http://www.supwheels.com/
There are a variety of transport handles that attach to your board and can be used along with carts and wheels:
- Suction cup handles: This type of handle attaches to the nose of the board, so you can pull it along with an SUP cart or a pair of SUP wheels. You can also attach it to the middle of the board and carry it yourself. Heavy-duty suction cup handles work well with heavier boards as well.
- Straps/netting: There are a variety of straps and netting that have attached handles. They can wrap around the nose of the board so that you can pull your board along with a cart/wheels.
- You can also improvise with bungee cords, ropes, hooks, etc. Just make sure everything is all locked in place before you go anywhere!
Straps and Slings
SUP straps attach to your board and allow you to carry the board kind of like a handbag. They are already pretty inexpensive, so splurging on some heavy-duty straps is a good idea.
- Straps: SUP straps are single straps that wrap around your board and allow you to carry the board on your shoulder. Thick, high-quality straps with sufficient padding under the cam buckles will protect your board from scratches.
- Slings: SUP slings wrap and fit around your board and have an attached shoulder strap to carry the board like a handbag. They can also come with straps to hold your paddle, and various pockets and storage compartments!
How to Pick Up and Carry Your SUP
Don’t be deceived, SUP boards are not easy to carry. Their awkward shape and size makes them difficult to pick up. However, there are several ways you can lift up and carry the board yourself without breaking your back!
Built-In Transport Handle:
Almost every paddle board has a built-in transport handle in the middle. Simply carrying it under one of your arms like a surfboard is a good technique. However, this could hurt or get tiring after a while and is not ideal for long distances.
The tail-lift technique:
- Start in a squatting position, lift the board from its tail while starting to stand, and work your hands down the sides of the board.
- Holding the middle sides of the board, place the top of your head in the middle of the board.
- Lift the board up on your head and carry it that way.
- Do the reverse to set the board down on the ground.
The downside of this technique is that it can wear away the nose of the board after a while, from digging it into the sand, dirt or rocks.
The shoulder carry:
If you don’t like the feeling of carrying your board on your head:
- Do the same procedure as the tail-lift technique, but instead of carrying it on your head, slide the board down to your shoulder.
- One important thing to know about this technique: always put the board on the shoulder that is farthest from heavy traffic. You don’t want the huge paddle board to block your view of the roads.
To reduce the risk of wearing down the nose of the board in the sand, basically you lift the board up like a canoe:
- Place the board on the ground (fin-side down)
- Grab the board on the sides in the middle, then lift and swing the board upside-down on your head.
Here are some visual representations of these paddle boarding transportation techniques:
Transporting Your SUP with a Car
If you’re making a long distance trip with your board and you’re wondering how to carry it, your car will help you. Even though roof racks are an awesome way to get to your favorite paddling retreat, there are some other ways to safely get your board there.
Cars With Roof Racks
If your car comes with built-in roof racks, here is how to attach your SUP to the roof:
- Place your board fin-first and fin-up on the roof over the windshield.
- You can secure the paddles on the inside of the car into the roof handles.
- Use cam straps/ropes to tie the board down. (Twist the straps so they don’t whistle in the wind)
Cars Without Roof Racks
If your car is not equipped with built-in roof racks, you can still strap your board to the roof.
Here is a video showing exactly how to do this:
Also, make sure the fin is pointing up when you strap the board to the roof. You don’t want the fin or your car to get scratched while transporting your board.
Hopefully, with this article, you’ll spend less time with paddle board transportation and more time on the water! Have fun paddling!