Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt

Where and How to Store Your Board

Every new standup paddler remembers the moment after buying their very first board–all shiny and wonderful–when they wonder to themselves, "OK, now where am I going to put this when I'm not in the water?"

Big boards can be a big problem when not afloat. When it comes to effective board storage, you're fighting a two-front battle: first is easy access. You want to be able to just grab your board and go. Simple, efficient access can often make the difference between getting wet or staying dry. The risk of injury to both board and body by pulling a 12-footer down from high garage rafters is enough to cool any paddler's ardor. But just as important is caring for the board itself.

That's the second battle: keeping your board out of direct sunlight as often as possible. The standard polystyrene/epoxy/composite construction of most standup paddleboards makes them much more durable than a conventional surfboard. This goes for custom polystyrene/epoxy boards too, with their super-light core allowing for many more layers of fiberglass. But this core also presents a problem: they're less dense than a conventional polyurethane core and contain much more air, which expands when heated. That's bad news for a skinned structure. These days, most standups feature some sort of one-way valve to combat this expansion, but that's just to avoid catastrophe.

The easiest method for board storage is to buy or build a rack system (if you're resourceful enough to build a rack you probably don't need to be reading this). The effectiveness of each storage option depends on the space available and number of boards. A garage is a good place to start. Few dwellings come with garages tall enough to accommodate an upright 14-foot race board, which means we're talking about a wall mount that holds your board(s) horizontally. Most come with up to four braces that extend perpendicularly from two vertically mounted wall plates, spaced approximately eight feet apart. The board(s) are then laid across these braces, stacked from top to bottom in order of length—you don't want to be deadlifting your longest board from an awkward crouch. Only have one board? Single board wall mounts are available, most utilizing an angled hanger system into which the board is laid rail-down into the hook. Mount it at chest level to make it easy to get your board in and out.

Let's say you have no garage or suitable shed, but an outside space—a carport, eave or trellis—that is shady all day. You can store your boards horizontally, or if you have the vertical space, turn the same racks horizontal and mount them to studs so the boards stand upright between the braces. Use a strap or rope to keep the boards from falling out sideways, and make sure to lay down some sort of padding for the tails so you don't damage them. More boards are probably dinged in storage than in the water, and age more quickly when left out in the sun. Proper storage and a good board bag will greatly lengthen your baby's life span.

See Also:

Gear Garage: Caring For Your Paddle

Gear Garage: Patching Your Board at Home