Photo Robert Zaleski

Photo Robert Zaleski


Standup starters have a few choices when it comes to paddles. In general, wider blade profiles and longer lengths favor longer, more powerful strokes used by distance touring paddlers and racers, while slimmer blade profiles and shorter lengths favor the more dynamic, shorter cadence strokes used by standup surfers. Paddles range from around 65-90 inches and paddlers should add 5-10 inches to their height to determine the right length. There's plenty of high-quality, high-value paddle options to get you on the water.

Werner Carve Paddle Standup Paddleboard Paddle boarding Stand up

Pictured: Werner's Carve paddle is perfect for beginners of every ilk; don't worry about baby-ing this fiberglass beauty either. ($219, 26.5 oz.,


Standup open-ocean cruisers should seriously consider emergency floatation. New USCG regulations officially classify standup paddleboards outside of surf zones as "vessels," meaning all standup paddlers are legally required to wear or carry a PFD in most waterways.

MTI Fluid Belt Back Life jacket Stand up Paddle board Standup Paddleboard PFD

Pictured: MTI's Fluid Belt Pack sits comfortably around the waist and instantly inflates into a Type III life jacket when you need it. ($100,

Protection from the sun is your next big concern. Nobody wants to come off their board looking like a tomato, and constantly subjecting your full body to the sun’s harsh reflection off the water is a recipe for skin problems.

Dakine Storm neo-Insulator Sun Protection Sun Screen Sunscreen Standup Paddleboard Stand up Paddle Board

Pictured: Dakine's Storm Neo-Insulator keeps your core covered with a thin layer of super-stretchy 1.5-mm neoprene while blocking the sun and cutting the wind. ($46,