Stand-up paddleboards are the subject of a lot of summertime abuse—especially from cottage guests who “may not have the best control of their paddle,” notes Johno Foster, a paddle sports sales rep based in the Ottawa Valley. Wear and tear is often prominent on the sides of the board, known as the rails, from errant strokes. Small dings are mostly cosmetic, but violent hits can eventually expose the board’s moisture-sensitive core and cause it to swell or delaminate.
Do the repairs in the off-season, so your board will be ready for the water in the spring. A surface guard—look for products labelled ‘rail tape’ or ‘helicopter tape’—applied along the rails, is the easiest solution to prevent dings if any existing damage is minimal. For deeper gouges, Foster suggests that you apply two-part epoxy putty (such as Surftech’s Ding Dough) when the board is dry. Once the repair has cured, sand it down, and match the colour with touch-up paint from an automotive store.
Now is also a good time to inspect the foam pad on the deck of the SUP. If the edges are lifting, “clean out any debris, and use an adhesive like contact cement to glue it back down,” says Foster.
Some paddlers wax their boards for greater speed; according to Bram Rutherford, the assistant store manager of Deep Cove Outdoors in North Vancouver, this theory is really “more voodoo than anything.” A UV-blocker, such as 303 Aerospace Protectant (check outdoor stores), is more useful.