Proper board maintenance is an important, yet often overlooked aspect of owning a stand up paddleboard. Many paddlers, particularly those who regularly spend time paddling in the ocean, know it is a good idea to rinse off their boards with fresh water after use. Top SUP racers frequently apply OnIt Pro’s Blue Goo and Extreme Cream to their boards prior to competitions in order to reduce the amount of friction and give them an extra edge. The benefits of doing so are recognized within the SUP racing community and recreational paddlers can glean valuable insights from this practice in order to extend the life of their equipment.
The Benefits of Maintaining a Clean Stand Up Paddleboard
- Reseal Your Board: The exterior surface of your board will break down over time. As your board sits unprotected day after day, year after year, the color will fade with oxidation. The finish coat breaks down allowing water to slowly penetrate. This process is known as water migration and over time it will add weight and disrupt the balance of your board. Regular cleaning with a specialized cleaning product designed for a marine environment will reseal your board and prevent this from occurring.
- Improve Your Glide: A clean board is a faster board. A dirty board creates friction in the water thereby slowing you down. Even if you are not a racer, achieving a better glide by maintaining a clean board will enhance your paddling experience.
- Longer Lasting: SUPs are expensive. Protect your investment by giving it the best chance to last a long time, prevent paint oxidization, removing paddle scuffs and preventing water damage.
- Greater Resale Value: Selling your board may not be the first thing on your mind, however, just as with any other product, proper maintenance will undoubtedly increase its resale value.
Cleaning Products to Avoid
Never apply household or automotive cleaners and polishes to your stand up paddleboard. Some of these products may break down your board’s exterior. Others, such as automotive waxes, will create a layer of friction and hinder your board’s performance. Your board may look great after initially applying household or automotive cleaners, but these products will do far more harm than good over time. Equally important, household and automotive cleaners are not suitable for the marine environment and will emit harmful pollutants into the water.
Additional Board Maintenance Tips
- Never leave your SUP in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. This is particularly true if you own a carbon fiber board. Direct sunlight will heat your board and build up internal pressure causing your board to warp or even explode.
- Never apply wax to the bottom as this creates friction and will be difficult to remove.
- Do not apply any stickers or tape to areas below the waterline as they will disrupt the flow of water and slow you down.
- Rinse your stand up paddleboard with fresh water after use.
- Do not place your board under a tree where sap may drop and stick to your board.
- Do not overtighten the straps when securing your board to a vehicle. Doing so can cause cracks which will allow water to seep into your board.
- Transport and store your boards with the bottom facing up. The tops of the rails and deck pad are generally stronger and more protected than the finely tuned bottom surface which can endure pressure dings from bearing the weight of your board, particularly if the straps are too tight.