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sup gear

SUPboarder team rider Peter Kosinski has recently won the Battle of the Bay in Ireland. Peter as we know, is a top SUP racer who trains hard and has secured many podium finishes. For Peter having the right kit is just as important as being race fit. Competing in the inflatable only event last weekend meant Peter had to exchange his usual Starboard 12’6’’ hard race board for a Starboard iSUP. Going into the race Peter knew he had some tough board competition. Here Peter tells SUPboarder his thoughts on the new 2015 Starboard Astro racer…

“Last Sunday the first ever Dublin City river race took place in the heart of Dublin City. A inflatable only race for logistical reasons. A total number of 40+ paddlers took to the River Liffey for a difficult and challenging race due to a strong wind and an emptying tide.

Many different boards were on the water from all the big name brands. I knew the Red Paddle Co. Elite Racer was going to be the board to beat with any paddler on it. It’s rocker stiffening system and proven track record. (Sam Ross has raced the board in some of the biggest races in the world and beaten a lot of carbon race boards)

Luckily Starboard sent me the new 2015 Astro Racer. I have paddled all three generations of Starboard inflatables and knew that it would be tough to beat the Red Elite as it has been the market leader for some years. This is were I need to put a side note. (Honestly most inflatable 12’6 race boards are probably all the same speed due to a number of reasons. The flat bottom shapes, inability to create a bow to cut the water and they are all full of air which is not exactly solid under any pressure!)

Starboard have concentrated on four new elements with their new astro boards which has created a board with the best response I have ever felt out of an inflatable. I felt this response was the factor which contributed to my 1st place finish after a tough battle with none other then Keith McGuirk
on a Red Elite. 😉

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-Firstly when I picked up the board it was perfectly balanced through the handle. A good sign that it is not twisted. Showing that Starboards drive for quality still remains.

-The dual stringer technology which is a piece of composite material running from the tail to the standing area. Stiffening up the mid section for a reduction of flex in the board.

-2+1 rail band technology creating thick rails with shape. These rails are 70% thicker then last years and you can feel it immediately as the board responds through choppy conditions with a solid feel.

-The addition of the US fin box. Allowing me to use my K4 weed fin as the river was filled with debris and seaweed.

These small elements combined to put the new Astro board on par with the Red Elite. Most of the accessories are similar as well so it’s a matter of trying the two boards yourself and find what suits you.”

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There are lots of iSUP race boards on the market today, and constant developments are improving their performance each year. Starboard’s Astro Racer is obviously going to be a tough board to beat this year in the inflatable class. So if you’re thinking about buying an inflatable race board this summer, get down to your local shop and try some out. It’s always important to make the right decision and try before you buy.

Stay up to date with Peter K on his blog here and find out more about racing and SUPing from the man himself at his SUP school here. And for more information about the Starboard Astro Racer visit Starboard’s website here.

2015 the year of the Touring Board

As SUP brands have released their 2015 board ranges it’s clear to see that they all have some new board shapes and styles, to fit a new style of paddler. With the development of SUP over the years there has been a need for a board to fit a gap in the market. Previously a general flat water paddler had the choice between a 10′ 5” to 12′ all-round style board with a traditional longboard template, or go for a longer thinner 12’6″style raceboard.

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The all-round SUP is averagely 11′ in length with a traditional shape- rounded nose, thinner in the tail, and enough rocker at the nose and tail to get over the bumps and catch some waves. This is a fantastic shape and size board if you’re not worried about paddling fast or having a board that is super efficient to paddle on flat water. Great for catching some waves with and putting the kids/dog on the front.  Can handle open water OK but does slap on the water because of its flatter rounded nose.
The average board usage 10% Race/Distance – 50% Cruising/Fun –  40% Surf.

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The Raceboard sized at 12’6’’ or 14’ is obviously much longer than the all-round board, making it much faster with way more glide. And with its flatter bottom shape and wave piercing nose it does cut through all water conditions with ease. But being generally much narrower (around 26’’-28’’) it’s less stable than the all-round boards. Purely built for going fast with as little effort as possible.
The average board usage 85% Race/Distance – 10% Cruising/Fun –  5% Surf.

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But what happens when you’re the sort of paddler who paddles on flat water 90% of the time, still wants to paddle fast and have a board that is efficient but doesn’t necessarily want to go down the longer, narrower elite/raceboard route?  Well… a few years ago there were few board choices, but now almost every brand has a board that would suit this type of SUPboarder… and it’s called ‘The Touring board.

What is a Touring board and why is it different?

A Touring board is a board that takes the best aspects of both an all-round and a race board producing a board that is stable, easy to paddle, generally shorter in length and therefore easy to transport (from the allround board) and yet still fast, with good tracking and glide due to the raceboard outline and wave piercing nose.

Who is the Touring designed for?

All of the above features put on to one board makes the Touring board an absolutely fantastic board choice for many paddlers in many different conditions. Whether it be paddling open water, coastal cruising, estuary paddling or catching the occasional wave. A Touring board is easy to paddle and therefore a great board choice for fitness paddling and improving your technique, without putting too much stain on the body. It’s good glide and tracking also makes it fast and a great first time board for a new paddler. But like with any board you have to look at what type of paddling you plan on doing most of the time, to make the best board choice for you. Be realistic about your paddling. Even if you like the look of a new 9’0’’ if you’re going to be paddling it on flat water 90% of the time, then it might not be the right board for you. But if you plan to head to the beach to catch a wave a few times a year but otherwise plan to stick to the flat then a Touring board could well be the board for you.
The average board usage 60% Race/Distance – 30% Cruising/Fun –  10% Surf.

5 questions to ask yourself to help find out if a touring board is for you:

  1. Do you want something that is easy to paddle and fast?
  2. Do you go SUP surfing only afew times a year?
  3. Do you plan to try a race this year?
  4. Do you like exploring around the corner?
  5. Do you like putting some miles under your board?

If you answer yes to these question then you should definitely head to your local SUP shop/school and give a Touring board a try.

So… you’ve had a go at SUP and decided it’s the sport for you. After renting/borrowing a mates board for a while you’ve now decided to put your hand in your pocket and buy your own board. This is when you are faced with the toughest question that all first time SUPboarder buyers have. Not whether to buy a 12’6 or an 11′. It’s whether to buy an inflatable or hard SUP?

Here are SUPboarders top 5 tips to help you make that right decision…

What sort of paddler are you? And what do you want to use your SUP for?

Are you a performance, general or seasonal paddler? Are you planning to race, surf, do downwinders, fish, or just cruise? You can do it all on an iSUP, but if you’re looking to progress to the more performance side of the sport then a hard board might be a better choice (unless you’re thinking white water!)

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Feature image : Check out how Steve Wood gets his SUP to his local paddling spot!
How do you plan to transport your SUP?

Transport with an iSUP is simple. Just chuck the rucksack in the boot of your car, or put it on your back and walk, bike or catch the bus/train to the beach. Transporting a hard SUP is not quite so easy. Whatever size hard board if you’re wanting to transport it any distance you’ll need wheels!

How do you plan to store your SUP?

Hard SUPs are big (even the small ones!) So unless you’ve got a big garage or van, or a large secure outside area to store your board, then an iSUP may be more practical. All you need is a cupboard with an iSUP! Storage may well be the deciding factor when deciding inflatable or hard.

What is your SUP budget?

Like a lot of things in life, it comes down to money! With the huge growth in SUP over the last few years there are now a lot more used SUPs on the market. Conditions of used hard SUPs can vary hugely and should be reflected in the price. You’ll get what you pay for! iSUPs however, generally only look tired and well used on one part… the deck pad. And therefore tend to hold their value regardless of age. New kit prices have also changed over the last few years with many good hard boards coming down in price and iSUPs going up in price due to R&D in iSUP technology. In SUPboarders full hard or inflatable feature in 2012 the iSUP was the cheaper option, and not always the case today.

If moneys not a problem then there’s definitely a place for both!

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How rough are you on your kit?

iSUPs can withstand much harsher treatment than a hard SUP. So if you’re a bit heavy handed with your kit, and are planning to let the kids and dog climb all over it, then an iSUP will probably suit you better than a hard board. It will certainly last longer!

It all comes down to ‘try before you buy’ and considering all of the above.

For more information about hard or inflatable check out SUPboarders full feature here.

 

 

 

 

This summer the ultimate SUP toy has to be an XL iSUP! All your mates on one board, sharing one party wave or cruising up your local river, has to be the ultimate in social paddling. The Fly Air XL from Fanatic is a real eye catcher with its bright yellow deck and super big swallow tail, which will give it more control on the waves. But then when it comes to waves if you do drop in on somebody (accidentally!) they are not likely to argue with you if there are 10 guys on your board! SUP schools all around the country will be turning heads on the beach this year with one of these in their SUP school/club.

More information from Fanatic SUP below.

XL Fun! Why paddle alone when you can have loads of fun with up to 7 friends on one giant Paddleboard! Designed by C4 Waterman and tested in the toughest waves of Hawaii and Australia, the Fly Air XL can be used at your local break for super fun waveriding, or on flat water and river tours. The Fly XL is supplied with multiple handles for easy carrying and for holding on when going faster or down a wave. Easily inflatable, stiff and stable, it comes with 2 Bravo standard pumps, and deflates quickly, rolling up into a compact size for easy transportation. Made of strong, durable, heavy-duty Single Layer Technology, the Fly Air XL is just perfect for a bigger group of friends, paddle groups or school classes to have fun on – no matter if tours, races or going down the wave, it ́s just the ideal Fun/Familyboard for more people!

  •  Heavy Duty Single Layer Technology
  •  Supplied with 2 Bravo SUP Standard Pumps
  •  Multiple handles for easy transport/holding on
  •  Heavy duty, durable Tarpaulin PVC
  •  Stiff and stable in all water conditions
  •  Stainless steel D-ring attachments
  •  Inflates 8-12 psi
  •  Deflates quickly
  • Rolls up for portability

          Board

      Vol.

             Width

        Length

       Technology

       Fittings

Fly Air XL 17′ x 78.5″

    1600 l

     78.5″ / 199.4 cm

     17′ / 518 cm

      Single Layer

       No Fins

Fanatic Fly Air Inflable XL For more information about the Fly Air Inflatable XL from Fanatic and their other boards visit their website here.

Photo Greg Dennis
Photo Greg Dennis

When most people think about SUP, they think about a board and a paddle. A leash is often overlooked and seen as an accessory not a necessity. And it’s easy to see why. It’s easy to forget about the potential consequences of not wearing a leash until you really need one!  Most of us like to take risks, that’s why we SUP. It can be exhilarating and scary. But is it really worth risking your life for? Do you know what your leash is really for and what the potential consequences are by not wearing one?

Leash Up for SUP ASI

There are plenty of excuses you’ll hear from someone not wearing a leash including;

It gets caught on weed
It causes drag
It’s dangerous in moving white water
It’s awkward to put on
I don’t want a cold wet ankle!
I don’t need one as I don’t fall in
I’m not surfing so don’t need one
I didn’t know I needed one
I always paddle with friends
I wear a buoyancy aid so don’t need a leash too
They’re expensive
I forgot it
I can always keep control of my board so don’t need one
I can swim
It will ruin the picture
I don’t like wearing a leash
The dog ate it!!

We’ve heard them all but there really is NO EXCUSE for not wearing a leash when you’re paddleboarding. A leash is not just a money making accessory. It’s there to save your life.

Why wear a leash?
Your board is like a massive buoyancy aid. A leash stops your board gliding or being blown away from you, when you fall in. This means your board is only ever a leash length away making it quick and easy for you to hold on to and climb back on. This might not sound such a big deal when you’re paddling in warm water with no wind. But when you’re in cold water watching your board blowing away from you it’s not quite so much fun and could be fatal. It’s amazing the effect a light breeze can have on your detached board, making it glide away from you in no time.  Have you tried swimming after your board holding a paddle?!!! And when we say swim we mean really swim? It’s not as easy as you may think. And if you’re wearing a buoyancy aid it’s virtually impossible. Add to that the possibility of cold water shock or hypothermia and a board you can’t reach is no use to you at all. It’s all very well saying a mate will catch it for you and bring it back. But that might just be too late. Wearing a leash means you can always get back on your board and get paddling again quickly.

Peter and Marie’s look back at BOP
Wearing a leash was mandatory at the 2014 BOP.  Photo of Marie Buchanan by Crispin Jones

Being a responsible paddleboarder means looking out for others safety too. A paddleboard is a big and potentially dangerous piece of equipment when loose in the surf or among a group of other paddleboarders. A leash gives you some control over your board when you fall off.

SUPboarder is firmly behind ensuring wherever you paddle you wear a leash, making sure you wear the correct type of leash and release system for the paddling you are doing.

There are many different types of leash available on the market, so what ever type of paddling you’re doing you can find a suitable one.

Normal (non coiled) leashes – for use in flat water or surf
Coiled leashes – advised for flat water and racing
Quick release leashes – for white or moving water

If you don’t know what leash is best for you, go to your local shop or SUP Club and they’ll be able to advise you.

Unfortunately it’s taken some paddleboarders a ‘near fatal experience’ to really understand the importance of always wearing a leash. We spoke to some well known paddlers and asked them to share their experiences of not wearing a leash.  Lets learn from these near misses and ensure we keep SUP safe and accident free.

 Sean White – Director WeSUP Paddleboard Centre
4 years ago, me and my buddies were about 10 miles into our paddle through Loch Ness and decided to stop for lunch, following a short break we got back on the water, excited about the wind and swell that had picked up… So excited that I forgot to attach my leash.
We were all wearing just 2mm paddle suits as we were not expecting to face the challenging conditions or to fall into the 4 degree cold water… But I did. The wind and wind swell quickly pushed my board out of reach, leaving me swimming to catch it. I couldn’t but my paddle buddies thankfully caught my board and I managed to swim to it. I was in the water for about 6 minutes and reached stage 1 hypothermia. If my buddies were not on hand to support me, I’m sure I would have drowned that day. It could have all been prevented if I had taken just 6 seconds to put my leash on… Lesson learned.
Check out the WeSUP video of this trip here.  It could have been a very different experience if Sean was not so lucky.
Paul Simmons & Marie Buchanan – Starboard Team riders.
A number of years ago when we were first enjoying the thrills of downwind paddling Marie Buchanan and I were about to set off on an eight mile paddle in around 20 knots of wind. The walk from the car park to the launch beach is around five minutes so when near the beach Marie shouted:
“I’ve forgotten my leash”
I just replied:
“Don’t worry, I’ll look out for you”. A few miles into the downwinder I was a few hundred metres  ahead and glanced back, to see Marie separated from her board. The wind was blowing the board faster than she could swim so I had to turn around and stop her board to enable her to catch up. It was scary to see how easily this happened in relatively tame conditions. She wasn’t panicking but was certainly a little shocked to see how easily a very controlled situation quickly changed to a vulnerable one, relying on someone else to avoid being over a mile out to sea with a very long swim.Lesson most definitely learned: we now use leashes on ALL coastal paddling even in relatively calm conditions.
Photo Greg Dennis
Photo Greg Dennis

Why is it so important? What’s the bigger picture?
At present there is no legal requirement to wear a leash or buoyancy aid when paddleboarding in the UK. But that could all change. All it will take is for there to be a fatal SUP related incident where someone is not wearing a leash and it could well become mandatory along with buoyancy aids, carrying spare paddles, flares, first aid kits etc… There are obviously times when it’s sensible to carry the above e.g if embarking on a longer distance paddle. But for the majority of us everyday, social paddlers, it would ruin the simplicity of SUP, which is exactly what appeals most to many of us about the sport.

So come on. Lets keep it simple. Don’t be stupid. Always wear a leash when you SUP. A leash is a necessity not an accessory.
Let us know your thoughts about leashes. SUPboarder would like to hear your arguments for and against.

 

We review the Aqua Pro full carbon paddle from Aquaite. A company that bases itself on making beautiful products from natural, sustainable materials.

“We have been incredibly impressed by these paddles, very light and beautifully finished. The Aqua Pro is a good paddle for an all round paddler looking to get the most out of their paddle without breaking their back or bank balance.”
  • Full carbon SUP Paddle. Shaft, handle and blade material: 100% 3K twist pre-preg carbon fibre
  • Blade veneer: Sustainable bamboo + Epoxy glass (Note – the blade is still 100% carbon, just with the bamboo veneer over the top of the carbon)
  • Quick find colour. Both ends of the paddle are painted with PANTONE Neon 805 – the most visible colour in the water
  • Dry carbon molded, and clear resin coated for a durable, high gloss finish
  • Weight : Aqua Pro (Fixed): 0.4-0.5 kg
  • Paddle blade area: 49cm x 21cm

Exclusive offer – Enter ‘SBM’ at the checkout on the Aquaite site, and get one of their paddles for £199.99 – saving £59.99 on either the Onda Pro Travel or Aqua Pro Fixed.

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For more information about Aquaite and their product range visit their website here.

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SUP Shop

When buying your first SUP it’s important to consider;
– Your SUP ability level

Are you a complete beginner who’s never stepped on a SUP before, or do you already have some paddling experience and are now looking to buy your own board? This will determine the size and type of board you’re looking for, whether it be a larger beginner board, an all-round board, or a more advanced specialist board. One of the biggest faults is going too small too soon (often because it fits easier in the car!)

– Your size (weight and height)

Whether you’re 60kg, or 160kg will influence what is the most appropriate size and volume board. Generally a lighter person can use a smaller board, and a larger person requires a larger board with more volume. However it also obviously depends on your SUP ability level too.

– What do you plan to use your SUP for?

There are many different types of SUP boards on the market. Some are designed for good all-round use and others are for more specialist disciplines e.g racing, surfing, whitewater. It’s important to consider what sort of paddling you will be doing most of to ensure you choose the most appropriate type of board.

– How often will you be getting on the water?

If you’re going to be getting out on the water every weekend you’re likely going to improve much quicker than somebody who gets out only a few times a year. Therefore you might want to buy a SUP that is suitable for not only your current ability level but which will also allow you to progress and not outgrow your board too soon.

SUP transport– How do you plan to transport/store your SUP?

If you have a large van and a large garage then you won’t be restricted by space and your choices of SUP are endless. However if you have a moped and one empty cupboard under the stairs then you’ll have to think more carefully and an iSUP may be a more appropriate choice! Find out more about iSUPs v hard SUPs HERE.

– Who else will be using your SUP?

If you’re planning to take your kids or dog onboard too, or share your SUP with your partner who’s at a different SUP level, then it’s important to consider this too when choosing what size board to go for.

– Try before you buy

There’s no better way to get a feel for a board than trying it out on the water for yourself. So paddle as many different boards as possible in a variety of water states, to find out what shape and size you like the feel of. The best way to do this is to demo as many boards as you can at your local SUP shop or club/school or keep an eye out for a SUP demo day near you. Check out the SUPboarder SUP club/school directory and events calendar to find out whats going on near you.

– Talk to other SUPboarders

Make the most of others SUP knowledge and experience, especially if they’re a similar size and SUP ability to yourself. Everybody who owns a SUP will have had experience of buying their first board so they will more than likely have some useful tips too.

– New or used?

Whether you’re going for a new or used board it’s important to make sure it’s the right board for you and not just the right price! Obviously when buying a new board you can be confident that it’s in good condition with a full warranty. But with a used board it’s important to check the board closely to make sure you know what you’re buying and are aware of any damage to the board e.g dents, cracks and areas of delamination (usually caused by water getting inside the board through damage to the outer surface causing separation of the layers) By pushing your thumb down on the board surface it should feel hard all over. If it feels spongy or soft in one area delamination may have occured. Often making the choice between buying a new or used SUP comes down to money! So make sure you’re clear about how much you plan to spend before you start looking!

– Where to buy?

A good SUP retailer should be able to clearly talk you through the boards they have for sale and advise you on their suitability for you by considering all of the above factors. Many retailers sell both new and used SUP’s giving you lot of choice. Or if you know what you’re looking for then you can often pick up some great deals on used SUP’s sold privately. Check out SUPboarder classifieds HERE.

Summers here and there’s no better time to buy your first SUP. So happy shopping and happy paddling.

Inflatable SUP or hard SUP?… that’s the topic of discussion between many paddlers, and one that many find hard to answer.

You’ve probably heard some people say they will only ever paddle a hard board, and then others say an iSUP (inflatable SUP) is the way to go.  So who’s right? Well to put it simply, there is a time and a place for both. But one thing is for sure… you will see many of each type of board on the water this year.

Choosing between an iSUP or a hard board really comes down to the following;

  • What sort of paddler are you? And what do you want to use your SUP for?
  • How do you plan to transport your SUP?
  • Where do you plan to store your SUP?
  • What is your SUP budget?
  • How rough are you on your equipment?!!
What sort of paddler are you? And what do you want to use your SUP for?

You need to think about what you want to do on, and achieve from your stand up paddleboard.

BOP Racing

The performance paddler

If you want to race at a high level, and enter sprint, distance and BOP (battle of the paddle) events, it will be very hard to find one board that suits all conditions. Hence, you see top racers with a line up of boards on the beach! These are generally of lightweight carbon construction, making them stiffer and more responsive. Although some of the race iSUP boards are up there with glass fiber race boards in the speed stakes, they do suffer when it comes to racing in swell or off the beach, due to the boards flexing slightly. Any flex will decrease the overall speed of the board. If you are racing seriously no doubt you will have a few boards in your collection anyway. But in the flat water events, taking place on lakes and rivers, there is really no reason why you shouldn’t see an iSUP on the podium this year.

For the performance SUP surfer there are so many variables to consider, such as rocker line, rail shape, bottom profile, fin setup and volume size. iSUP’s do not have the variety of bottom or rails shapes like a hard board, and therefore you can not expect them to perform like a hard board. However that doesn’t mean you can’t surf on an iSUP. Of course you can… you’re just unlikely to win the world tour on one!




The general paddler (that’s most of us!)

Does this sound like you? Do you want to paddle every weekend or as much as you can? If so, then this is where you fit right in the middle of the inflatable / hard board mix. You could have an iSUP or you could have a hard board. Infact, many of you have both!  The surf SUPer has their hard performance SUP, and also an iSUP for cruising up the rivers when it’s flat. The racer has their carbon hard board for the weekend race, or putting the miles in up the river or downwinder. But you don’t want the kids jumping on your race machine with your dog and their mates, so you have an iSUP as well for family use. If you think that you are going to get into paddleboarding but have to decide on one board, the best thing you could do is to demo or rent both boards from your local SUP shop/school and go paddling. You will get a feel for each of the boards and how they paddle, and that will help you make a decision.

The summer season paddler

You’re the one who gets out paddling on those nice sunny days or when you’re on holiday. Your board choice is unlikely to come down to performance, but more personal preference regarding the feel of the board, and practicality. So as mentioned before, the best thing to do is to demo/rent both styles of boards and just try them out for feel. And then think about the storage and transportation issues!

Summer sun

 How do you plan to transport your SUP?

Transporting an iSUP is definitely easier than a hard SUP. You don’t have to have a roof rack or large van. Just deflate it, pack it in its bag and put it in the boot of the car. Also if you like to travel abroad, then flying with an iSUP is a joy. No worries about whether your boards going to come out of the plane in one piece! And no excess board charges. Just book it on as a normal bag and off you go.  Also, walking with a backpack to your secret spot a mile along the coast, is alot easier than with a hard board in your hand.

However, if you’re lucky enough to live right by the water, or are already set up with a roof rack or large car/van then a hard board is no problem (just remember the roof rack straps!!)

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Got a SUP for sale or looking for a secondhand Paddleboard for the new season?

SUPboarder is pleased to announce the launch of its new classifieds page, where you can sell your secondhand SUP, paddles or stand up paddleboard accessories FOR FREE! Check out the SUP FOR SALE page, post anything SUP stuff you have for sale and search for a SUP bargain, in a number of different categories.

Selling?

Add any gear you have for sale to the easy to use database.  No login is required and you can easily edit your adverts using a advert confirmation code we will email you.  Adverts are ‘live’ for 60 days, if you haven’t sold your paddle board  by this point we will email you to remind you to renew your advert.

Selling your second hand SUP is as simple as it could be.

Buying?

Browse the SUP FOR SALE page , or search categories and keywords; you can even ask the SUPboarder community for the gear you are looking for via the WANTED category.

Visit the SUPboarder Classifieds click here.