As you are probably aware with Summer upon us and Christmas approaching very rapidly, business for us has been ramping up. I have been spending a lot of time on the water discussing boards with customers of late and the same questions have been arising. The most common question is related to the best board care practice, so I thought it would be a good idea to write a post about this to help clarify the best board care techniques for your beloved SUP.
Question No. 1: Should I rinse my board off with fresh water after use?
Yes, if possible. Salt water can assist in aging some products quite rapidly so if you have access to some fresh water, a rinse is a great idea. Even once every couple of outings is good practice.
The next question is quite interesting and is a bit new to me. I have been doing some research on it recently. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment I would love to hear your experiences.
Question No. 2: Should I dry my board before I put it in my board bag?
The answer is yes, give it a quick towel dry or air dry before bagging. I have been reading about this lately. Apparently if your board is left in a board bag wet it can start a reaction called osmosis which can cause small bubbles to form in the glass on the surface of your board. This appears to be more of a problem in humid climates also on boards that are not used very regularly so are in the bag wet for long periods. It appears some brands have been having quite a few issues with this, I am yet to experience it. All our boards (except for our endurance boards) have a clear finishing coat so this may help to prevent the problem. (I am guilty of not drying my boards as I am so busy doing lessons and board trials etc, I will have to improve my practice).
Question No. 3: I have heard that you should keep your SUP out of extreme heat! What’s the deal with this as it is a product made for the beach in summer!???
Most SUP’s (this includes ours) are constructed from an EPS core (expanded polystyrene) coated in fibre glass and epoxy resin with bamboo of course. Polystyrene foam is used instead of polyurethane foam as it is a hell of a lot lighter. As SUP’s are so large, the lightest products must be used otherwise we would not be able to carry them. Polystyrene contains a lot of air. Depending on the density of the foam this can be around 70% and even more in some products! When the air in the foam heats up it expands which puts a hell of a lot of pressure on the hard-outer shell of the SUP. To prevent damage, all EPS / Epoxy SUP’s should be fitted with an air vent. The air vent allows the gases to escape from the board (allows the board to breath) to try to prevent the internal pressure build up. Our boards, and most modern boards, have a self-breathing vent which takes care of this process for you and helps to prolong the life of your board. Continued exposure to extreme heat can cause boards to delaminate which is when the hard-outer core pulls away from the foam creating a large bubble in the glass. Fortunately, we have not experienced this with any of our boards, but it could be possible. Please note that this is mainly when the board is exposed to powerful UV rays from the sun, hot cloudy days don’t seem to be too bad. Please check the following list of preventative measures that can help to prolong the life of your board.
Question No. 4: So why don’t I need an air vent in my EPS / epoxy surfboard?
This is quite simple. As a surfboard is generally shorter, narrower, and thinner than a SUP the amount of air movement inside the board is not as great which means less pressure on the hard-outer structure of the board. This smaller amount of air movement is manageable for the board. It is still good practice to keep your epoxy surfboards cool to help prolong their life as well.
In the early days of EPS / epoxy construction prior to the use of air vents, usually on wind surfers, it was not uncommon for some boards to pop due to excessive air expansion! This did even occur when the boards were taken to higher altitudes in planes for example!
Question No. 5: How should I care for all my other products? Bag, paddle, leash etc?
Once again, a fresh water wash every now and again is highly recommended (I must admit I get a bit slack on this when I am busy). Our newer board bags can zip right open, so it is a good practice to open right up and hose out now and again. Sand in the bag can act like sand paper on the finish of the board when sliding it in and out of the bag. Be sure to dry the bag well before returning the board to the bag for storage.
A fresh water rinse is also great for your paddle and leash etc. from time to time. Also with the black carbon paddles, it is a good idea not to store them for long periods of time in extremely hot condition. Enclosed parked cars on a hot summers day can get very hot.
Before storage over the cold winter months wash your gear out well and air dry. Wet sandy products stored for months are a recipe for disaster. There is nothing worse than gummed up zips on board bags or mould growth on deck grips and bags!
This is a very hard question to answer as I don’t know how each person is going to care for their product. All I can say is if you follow these guidelines you will get many years of fun from your SUP. Love your SUP and it will give you many years of love in return.
If you have any questions or you have any tips you would like to add, please contact me or leave a comment.
The Pressure System endurance range of paddle boards are an amazing thing. I have spent a hell of a lot of time this year using my PS storm front race for training. The main reason was that we had the Pambula surf club’s pub to club race back in September, but I also became extremely addicted to the fitness side of things and the ultimate feeling of achievement when completing a long-distance session. Another attraction has been that I have noticed a massive improvement in my sup surfing. The reason for this improvement, I think, is because 1. the race boards are so narrow that they really improve your balance 2. During a session you’re paddling in all conditions, strong wind, strong currents etc. and you need to be able to adapt to all conditions quickly, thus helping to develop your resilience. 3. As you are consistently pushing yourself to improve your time, you focus more on your stroke technique and over time develop a nice efficient, flowing rhythm which enables the board to surge through the water with greater force (in the surf this makes it easier to catch waves and allows you to paddle through larger conditions). But by far the best part of my winter training experience has been finding the zone. For those of you who don’t know what or where the zone is, it is a magical place that I would love to be permanently positioned. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of hard work to find it and it can disappear as quickly as it arrived. You find this place when everything around you, including you, is working in the same perfect flow.
Let me explain a little more about this. If you want to reach this place, it requires a hell of a lot of practice. Firstly, you need to perfect your stroke technique and get your body very comfortable on the board. You enter the zone when you’re flying along, and your stroke just feels like the natural movement of your body. There is absolutely no splash when the paddle enters the water and even less when it exits. The board is sliding through the water producing a powerful surge of curling waves off the bow on every stroke and the tail of the board is producing a fan of perfectly lined wake. But ultimately, it’s what’s going on inside your head that really counts. During this period, you are completely focused. You have no idea what is going on around you and your body is functioning like a well-oiled machine. Time appears to stand still. Your senses are performing at 100%. Dopamine and serotonin are flowing and it’s a pain free blissful ride. Welcome to the zone.
The zone is like any good thing in life, it does not come easy, but the reward is amazing and horribly addictive. Endurance paddling is like everything else in life it has its peaks and valleys and we have all heard the saying that life has its ups and downs, well that is one of the laws of the universe and this fact will never change. The zone usually appears right after the hard bit. The bit where it really hurts. The bit where the little voice inside your head is saying “I must stop now! You don’t have to go the whole 10km every time you hit the water big fella! Come on the car is just over there let’s call it a day”. Its when you push through this hard bit that the zone will appear. The tough bit is you never know how long the hard part is going to last. Anyway, I have gotten to a point where I have developed a way that I can find the zone more often and stay there for longer. I carry my phone in my pocket with my headphones on playing the album Come with Us by the Chemical Brothers, I found this music works a treat when loud! I also have my GPS tracker on so every km a voice cuts into the music and gives me a time for the km I have just completed plus a total distance time. This technique really helps me to maintain focus and gives me time goals every km to beat.
The trick in developing stamina is to remember that if you do the hard yards you will reap the rewards when you enter the zone. The mysterious thing about the zone is that it sneaks up on you very quietly and you’re usually deeply entrenched in it before you even realise it is upon you. Finally, yes, I have tried a few good drugs in my younger days, but I have to say you cannot beat a good hit from a natural high. A good session in the zone can leave you sitting on cloud nine for many hours and in some circumstances even days. The best part is that it is free and extremely good for you! All it costs is a hell of a lot of hard work and commitment!
We not only sell a wide range of stand up paddle boards, we also run summer SUP lessons and tours in beautiful Merimbula. You can link directly to our lessons website from our SUP lessons page.
or go to merimbulasuplessons.com.au