I spent years of my life worrying if my car would be stolen while I was out paddling. Every time I crouched over, looked both ways to check if I was being watched and tucked my keys under my bumper, I wondered if this would finally be the time my car was broken into. Maybe the fact that my rig was a waxy rust-bucket deterred any would-be thieves.

I eventually got a new (to me) vehicle and with it, a key vault that attaches to my trailer hitch and locks my keys in a box requiring a four-digit code. My anxiety has been reduced to almost nothing. To help you feel the same, here are three tips for leaving your car worry-free while you're out on the water.

1. Park near people. Parking in that shady spot at the end of the street? Think again. The more people are around, the smaller the chance that someone's going to be creeping around your rig.

2. Don't advertise. Keep your wallet, your phone, your watch and anything else of value out of sight. If your glove box locks, put expensive items in there, or just hide them under a seat.

3. Don't hide your key on your car. A key box has made my time on the water that much more relaxing (we like the KeyVault from Kanulock, $45). If you don't want to drop the dough on one of these wonders, take your key with you into the water on a necklace or attached to the elastic band in the key pocket that every wetsuit comes with. In a pinch, you can wrap your key in a towel and leave it on the beach, but a thief could be watching you do that too. In our experience, peace of mind makes all the difference. -Will Taylor

More SUP Gear Hacks:

Transporting Big Boards with A Small Car

Finding the Right Fins

A Case for the Cure