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SUPing Gear

Ya might be thinking:

What should I get?

What size should I get?

What shape should I get?

What other gear is needed?

Where should I get my gear from?

What gear is Rozyboom using?

Your list might be going on and on and on and on.


There are so many options and it can be overwhelming to even start. I get it, because I have been there before. That's why I created this page. I want to provide you with all the knowledge I have gained SUPing over the years. Plus, help set you up for success, since I know having the right gear can make or break someones experience.


So let's talk gear!

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What to Get?

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SUPing has exploded the past few years. Started off with just a few board companies. Now of days, there are tons of brands offering a variety of boards. I like to figure out what body of water you will be on and/or what style of riding you are looking to do. SUPing has something from flatwater, surfing, whitewater, yoga, multi-day expedition, fishing, and the list goes on and on. Thankfully, a bunch of boards can use for multiple style of riding, which I'm a huge fan of a board that can handle whatever I can throw at it.

Let's dig a little more

Hard or inflatable board?

This is totally a personal preferance and really comes down to how and where you can store a board. When you have something 12+ feet long and 2-3+ feet across really takes up a lot of space. They both have their own advantages and I always like to get people on both. Even though, I am bias towards inflatables.


Hard Boards: by nature will be stiff, bow shaped to cut the water like a boat or a canoe (good for tracking), and ready to hit the water at any time. Typically, see them at lake home, cabin, rental board, or training in the ocean.


Inflatables Boards: are forgiving, float on top of the water, durable, and great to travel with. I have one in my Jeep ready to blow up and hit the water anytime I find open water.

Kiss for my love

As I mentioned, I am biased towards inflatables for few main reason. The ease of always having one with me when traveling and how durable they are. Ya might be thinking, Durable but it's inflatable. The Hala Gear brand I use, took materials used on whitewater rafts to form their boards. So right away they are able to bounce off rocks, sticks, docks, each other, and really whatever is in the water, as long as it is not a super sharp point. Even if you manage to get a hole in it, you can use the patch kit or send it into to be professionally patched. I have a 6 year old board (photo above) with two patches and it is still going strong. With a hardboard if you hit a rock (or really anything) you have the potential to take a chuck out of the board or even break it in half. Yes, you can repair it but it's more of a process. 


What Size and Shape?


After you figure out if you want a hard or inflatable board, you now get to look at all the different shapes and sizes. Each serves it's own purpose. Some are great at multiple styles of riding too. Said that, one does not want to take a small surf style board on a multi-day adventure. You can do it, but you will struggle with big open water or those windy days. 


Size: Yes, your height and weight somewhat plays a factor when picking out a board. Example, my buddy who is 6'4" 250 lbs should not be on a smaller board (unless surfing), because his displacement is going to be higher. One needs to match their displacement with the volume of the board. Heavier person and/or loaded with lots of gear would need to get a higher volume (longer and/or wider) board. This will retain the board's shape, keep ya on top of the water, and helps the board track properly. Otherwise, you are not going to be efficient with your strokes and constantly fighting the board. If you are too heavy, you will be plowing water instead of gliding/cutting the water. So good rule of thumb: Bigger person or lots of gear needs a bigger board. Unless surfing, but that's different animal. 


Shape: There are ton of ways to enjoy the water. Knowing what style you water you are looking to take on really helps pick out the right shape. Whitewater, flatwater, rivers, lakes, ocean, surfing, yoga, multi-person, multi-day trips, fishing, and so much more. When you come across boards they really are broken down into these categorizes: Whitewater, Flatwater, and Surfing for the most part.

Whitewater: is typically a smaller (not always) and wider board with a rocker profile. They places the rider more in the center to rear of the board to gain the most stability and maneuverability. Short or no fins to make sure it doesn't get hung up in rapids. Extra handles and D-rings for towing/recovery. Typically made of the strongest materials available too, since they are going to take a beating.

Flatwater: tend to be longer and narrower boards. With a longer center fin, since tracking is super important. Nothing worse then a board that wont stay straight when paddling across a lake. Less of a rocker profile allowing more of the board to be in constant contact with the water. Commonly classified in the all-around board category. Great for for multi-day trips too, because they have more deck space and tie down spots. Yoga/SUPfishing boards fall into this category too, but will be a bit wider to help with stability. 


Surfing: These boards come in a variety of shapes. You will see more hardboard options too, with all the wave parks popping up. Riders are standing next to a wave, paddle/jump out, and rip it up. Just like traditional ocean surfing, people love to ride short and/or long boards depending on their riding style. Yes, you can surf in the ocean with these boards too.


What other gear?


Alrighty you have your board picked out and ready to hit the water! Right? Not exactly. You need a few more things first. Depending on the brand/board you get depends if it came with a paddle. If not, you need a paddle. I also would recommend few other things like a PFD (life jacket), leash, paddling shoes and clothing, dry bag(s), and some safety gear.

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Paddles

They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, adjustable, break-away, fixed, material composition, and probably some options I don't even know about. 90% of them will be adjustable, with only a few brands that offer cut to length. Adjustable, meaning the T handle releases the shaft allowing you to pick that length you want. Length depends on what style of riding you are doing and you can play around with what works best for you. Paddles blades do come in different shapes, which matches what style of water you are running. Some will be large wide blades allowing more contact with the water for better power transfer in your stroke. Longer more narrow blades are common on river paddles, since you don't need as much power transfer and use it more like a rudder (steering). Most paddles are made of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and/or aluminum. There are a few wooden paddle out there too. Travel paddles break in half (or more) allowing it to pack into the board bag, making traveling much easier. 


Photo below shows ya a few different paddle option out there. Travel, break-away, river, fixed, and a special double blade paddle (left to right)

Got 4 pallets from a buddy, some other scrap wood, and a few screws.

PFD - Personal Flotation Device - Life Jacket


Just like the name says, this is a flotation device that can save your life. Making sure you get a proper fitting PFD is key. Again, tons of brands out there and styles of jacket too. There are 5 different classes for approved U.S. Coast Guard PFDs. Style of water you are on will dictate what PFD is the best choice over another. Get into a store and try a bunch on. Pockets, how it fits across the chest, and arm opening is vastly different. Front entry, side entry, or pull-over are the most common. There are a few SUP specific jackets out there, with a ton of kayaking/canoe specific jackets. These tend to have larger arm opening to prevent rubbing when paddling. They also have different pocket placement and other safety applications (if applicable). I am a HUGE fan of Astral Design PFDs since they are built for paddlers. One is not required to wear a PFD, but it's a super good idea when on moving and cold water. Flatwater, out doing yoga, or on a easy going paddle is totally your call if you want to wear one. If you don't have it on, make sure it's within reaching distance and is not hooked to anything. 

Nice to just drag it across the snow
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Leash


Commonly seen on surfers ankles out in the ocean. Keeps the rider connected to the board in the event of a fall. Nothing sucks more then when you fall in, while pushing your board away from you, and you have to swim to get it. Even more of an issue on moving water or out on the ocean. Said all of that, a leash is a great idea to have! There are a few types out on the market that attached to your ankle or PFD. They come in different lengths and are either straight body or coil up. Most straight body style are used on flatwater or out on the ocean, typical surf board leash. Coiled are great for whitewater, shorter individuals, and those not wanting extra drag or snag potential in the water. There are even releasable leashes, which are my favorite and I personally think the safest out there. The bonus to a releasable is when/if you get yourself in a sticky situation, your board is pulling you into a dangerous situation, you can pull the release and separate yourself from the board. This can be a life saver! That is why I love Hala's Releasable coiled leash, which you can attached to your PRD or use the ankle attachment. I attach my leash to my PFD whenever I am on moving water, windy days, or not feeling 100% out on the water. Either way, a leash is always on my board ready to be used.

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Paddle Clothing and Footwear

Staying warm and dry is the name of the game. Being a water sport, you are dealing with life and death out there. Water is not forgiving, can saturate everything you have on, and can cripple you when wearing the wrong gear. Remember, water is typically colder than you and will suck the heat right out of your body. That is not to scare you, but should make you think about the paddle you are about to go on and dress appropriately. 


Paddle Clothing: Swimsuit or comfy water-loving clothing. Materials like polyester, wool, nylon, spandex, and other quick drying blends are ideal. Stay away from Cotton! Wet and/or Dry suits are commonly used in the industry too. That is totally personal preference. I tend to like wetsuits more, but I'm weird and like cold water. I do tend to wear a long sleeve shirt, since I have fair skin and burn quickly. You are out on the water and the sun if hitting you from all angles. Plus, I like to have a physical barrier instead of constantly applying sunscreen. I also typically paddle in pants too, for the same reasons. If super hot out, I will be in board shorts and tend to go for a swim.


Water Shoes/Footwear: Flip flops, barefoot, or water shoes can all be uses. Heck, I have even used boots on my board during winter paddles. Depends on where you're launching from will dictate what you use. You might have to walk across hot asphalt, rocks, sand, mud, and other types of rough terrain to access the water we are going to paddle. Please keep that in mind and pick appropriate footwear for your paddle. I am a huge fan of Astral Designs footwear line. Cold water/winter paddling I will rock waterproof socks with my water shoes or use knee-high Muck style hunting boots. Those boots are 100% waterproof with added insulation.    

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Dry Bag(s)


With paddling comes water. Now of days, everyone has their phone and key fobs with them. So having a dry bag is not a bad idea. Also, it is a great place to toss your water bottle, snack(s), and any extra layers. I also keep my camera, rain jacket, travel towel, and a hammock setup just in case I see a sweet place to post up and take some photos. There are a few different brand out there, but I've had awesome luck with my Sea to Summit Big River and Hydraulic bags/packs. Some of their dry bags have a backpack setup, which is awesome for those multi-day trips. Also, you can pick a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. I like 20L bags for short paddles, 35L for longer or colder weather to fit more layers, and 65+L for multi-day trips. 

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Extra Safety Gear


I always have a throw bag with me when on a river or paddling with multiple people. Throw bags are used to rescue down paddlers or to tow gear (in a pinch). Practicing with a throw bag is key! Aim over their shoulder and past them, that way it actually makes it to the person. Also, taking a Swiftwater rescue course is smart if you plan on ridding rapids and surfing a lot. I strap mine to my dry bag in a easy to access spot. On flatwater or really anytime I paddle I will have a few 12' - 20' NRS straps on/with me too. Great for towing or having to strap gear down, strapping boards to roofs of vehicles, and so much more. They have saved us in a pinch a number of times. I have a paddle knife on my PFD at all times too. This is a non sharp point knife that is great to have when things go south and you simply need to cut your way out. Getting tangled up in weeds, ropes, straps, fishing line, or really anything can happen. A whistle is another thing I put on all my PFDs. Easier to blast that over trying to yell when on a lake or getting pushed down rapids on a river. I tie/clip it to my PFD, but keep it within blowing distance. A few other safety gear I tend to have on me is an emergency blanket, head lamp, and fire starter kit. Ya never know if your paddle ends up being longer than you though, putting you into the night and possibly having to setup an emergency camp.


Below you can see my river knife and whistle on my PFD (left photo). Throw rope on my dry bag, red with reflective +  (middle photo). NRS straps used as a portage strap (right photo)

Now for the hike
Sea to Summit 65L Hydraulic packs for the win! Plus, the RTIC cooler is awesome for bring fresh food
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Where to get your gear?


I am a huge fan of buying directly from a company. Allows the best payback to the company, which they can invest more into their product development and materials. I look for companies that are top tier in their industry, proven quality, back their products, and are environmentally friendly. Yes, you can find deals on Amazon and stuff like that, but all I am going to say is you get what you pay for. When you buy direct it is pretty easy to start a relationship with that company, which has helped me when something breaks. Reach out to them and ask/tell them what you are looking to get. Talking to the gear experts is always awesome way to gain knowledge on technology and/or gear you might not even know about. Said all of this, I also like getting stuff from REI. Awesome company that has a ton of gear, experts to talk with, and one of the best return policies out there. Try something out for a year, if it does not workout, return it.


Over my years of paddling, I have tested and used all sorts of gear.

These three brands I love the most!

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Hala Gear was born out of the rivers in Colorado, Hala has been a front runner for all things SUPing. Their inflatable boards are constructed to take a beating over the years. Yes, I said inflatable! Hala boards are indeed inflatable but are infused with some amazing technology, design and material wise, which is why they offer 3-year warranty on all boards. They backup their 3-year warranty with outstanding customer service from an amazing team. Making a board for everyone and every situation you can think of, all while being able to pack-up in a rolling backpack. Hala has won a number of awards like board of the year, tech for the year, and much more on a number of boards. I have been a Hala Gear Ambassador since 2017 and have loved every minute of being apart of the team. All of my paddle boards, paddles, leashes, pumps, and more are all from Hala Gear.

Astral Designs set their eyes on building the best performing products for wilderness athletes. It’s uncommon to attend a paddling event without seeing their name on athletes PFD or shoes. Astral has always focused on sustainability and their overall environmental impact. Making sure to remove toxic materials like PVC foam from their PFDs and so much more. Heck they have shoes made of hemp and recycle polyester, which I own and love. Their shoes utilize balanced geometry and the stickiest rubber outsole to make sure you have grip on those slippery rocks, yet are non-marking. Oh don’t forget about the water drain holes on their water line too, total game changer. Their life jackets have been the best-in-class for 20+ years. When you get on one, you can tell why. Plus, they invented the breathable life jacket. Every PFD I use is from Astral Designs.

Sea to Summit is a fantastic Western Australia brand started on an antique sewing machine. They have been inspired by epic adventures all over the world throughout the years. From the top of mountains all the way down to the seas, hence the name. Well, the name is from Tim Macartney 1990 expedition, after being the first person to climb Mt. Everest from the Sea to Summit (sea level to peak of Everest). That expedition sparked the concept of needing gear to work for months on end at all altitudes. Sea to Summit is constantly innovating products from the ground up, that are beautiful yet extremely functional, all while providing the dependability you need out of your gear. I probably own more Sea to Summit gear out of any other brand, since they have gear to handle any adventure you can think of. All of the dry sac/bags/packs and most camping, backpacking, travel, and other gear is Sea to Summit.


What does Rozyboom Bring?


It all depends on what style and length of paddle I am going on.

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Click Here to see my packing list :)


Still have questions? Please reach out to me. I LOVE talking gear!