Have you ever been curious how far you’ve gone, how fast your average or top speed was and how long you’ve paddled? Stop guesstimating. Onboard GPS—whether on a smartphone, watch or other device—tracks your every move, provides feedback and can even help navigate. You can view your progress in real time, or analyze your session post-paddle to improve next time.
Bring ‘em and stroke to the beat. Rocking out during fitness training is known to increase concentration, lower perception of effort and leave athletes feeling more positive. Performance benefits of up to 15 percent have been recorded by the United Kingdom’s Brunel University. There are many waterproof devices that allow you groove and glide, from tiny players that clip on your rash guard and pair with headphones to waterproof speakers.
Some of the best places to paddle require a long walk to the water’s edge with all of your gear. No one wants to be exhausted from a long hike before hitting the water. Look for a comfortable set of straps that create a sling around your board, allowing you to efficiently shoulder carry your board to the water’s edge hands-free. Many can be adjusted to fit boards of different sizes, and some will carry your paddle too.
Carry your iPhone and electronic car keys without getting them wet. There are so many affordable styles and sizes to choose from, there’s no excuse not to have a couple. Smaller bags often have a cord so paddlers can loop them over their neck and store the package safely under a paddling top.
Others can be strapped around a bicep for easy access to changing the station on Spotify or accepting a call during a “board meeting.”
How many times have you paddled to a spot that you thought would be a great place to throw a line in and catch your dinner? Strap a cooler aboard. You can use an ice chest as a seat while you fish and keep your catch cold. With the explosion of paddleboard fishing, many coolers are made specifically for boards, even including helpful features like rod holders. If fishing isn’t your thing, an ice chest allows for cold drinks and gourmet picnics even on the hottest days.
Not everyone lives near open water year-round. Whether you love getting out on calm ponds or intense surf waves, you can keep your body primed with a balance trainer. Popularized by skiers and surfers, a balance trainer is a modified seesaw. A user stands with feet at opposite ends of a board with a fulcrum underneath and tries to keep the edges of the deck from touching the ground. It develops balance, coordination and core strength. There are many trainers on the market—from easy designs used in rehabilitation for the elderly to steeper and speedier models used by professional athletes.
Author of How To Increase Your Stand Up Paddling Performance, elite coach Suzie Cooney keeps a trunk full of these paddleboard accessories (plus many more) on Maui where she trains. www.suzietrainsmaui.com