11 Essential Items To Buy BEFORE You Get A Paddle Board Rental

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So you’re thinking of getting a paddle board rental, right? This is an amazing way to test out this incredible sport and get all the health benefits with your friends without all the commitment of buying the equipment.

But there are a few essential items that you really should consider buying BEFORE you get a paddle board rental because they are rarely provided by the rental company (or the equipment is dirty or low quality).

But first let’s get into why it’s a smart move to look for a paddle board rental when you’re first getting into the amazing sport of stand-up paddleboard (SUP).

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Why Getting A Paddle Board Rental Is A Smart Move:

Renting a paddleboard is an excellent option for beginners, occasional paddlers, or travelers who don’t want to invest in purchasing their own board. It allows you to enjoy the thrill of paddleboarding without the long-term commitment or the need for storage space.

Renting also gives you the flexibility to try different types of boards and sizes, helping you discover your preferences before making a purchase. There are so many different choices around boards, paddles, life jackets and other equipment that it can get overwhelming when you’re first getting your feet wet in the sport.

Factors to Consider Before Renting a Paddleboard

Before diving into the essential items you should buy, let’s consider some crucial factors when renting a paddleboard.

Skill Level and ExperienceYour skill level and experience play a vital role in determining the type of paddleboard you should rent. Beginners should for wider and more stable boards, while experienced paddlers might prefer narrower and faster models. It’s important to communicate your skill level to the rental company, as they can guide you in selecting the most suitable board. I’d recommend getting a wider board if you’re just looking for a leisurely paddle.
Water Conditions & LocationDifferent water conditions require specific paddleboard designs. If you plan to paddle in calm lakes or rivers, an all-around board will suffice. For surfing, you’ll need a specialized board with more maneuverability. Research the water conditions and location beforehand to ensure you choose the appropriate paddleboard.
Duration of RentalConsider the duration of your rental when planning your paddleboarding adventure. Rental companies often offer hourly, half-day, or full-day rental options. Think about how much time you’ll need on the water to make the most of your experience.
Equipment Provided by Rental CompaniesCheck with the rental company to see what equipment is included in the rental package. Some companies provide additional gear such as personal flotation devices (PFDs) and paddles, while others may only offer the board. Understanding what is provided will help you determine which items you need to purchase separately.

Once you understand all of the above considerations, then my advie for you is to buy a few essential before you go.

Essential Items to Buy Before Getting A Paddle Board Rental:

The reason that you want to buy these items before you get a paddle board rental is because in my experience the rental companies don’t prioritize these items and it will make your paddleboard experience significantly worse.

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Why you should buy these items:

  • Paddle board rental companies are looking to make profits – so they will buy low quality items that aren’t expensive so that they can maintain their profit margins
  • Thousands of people go through the rental companies – So there is significant degradation and wear and tear on certain items
  • It’s NOT uncommon to get things like lice or fungus like athletes foot from the boards or life jackets that the companies provide (thousands of people use them before you)

It’s not necessarily the paddle board rental companies fault, it’s just the way that the business model works.

That’s why, in order to maximize your safety, comfort, and enjoyment while paddleboarding….

Here are the essential items you should consider purchasing.

Essential Item #1: Personal Flotation Device (PFD) Or Lifejacket

A personal flotation device, commonly known as a life jacket, is a must-have item when engaging in any water activity. Even if you’re a confident swimmer, unexpected situations can arise, and a PFD provides an added layer of safety and peace of mind.

Most of the time the life jackets from the rental company are low-quality and hurt you (that’s if they give you one at all) and if you’re planning on paddling in the sea or with children then it’s essential that you have one.

Not to mention – I’ve had countless times where I got a rash from wearing a life jacket that wasn’t cleaned properly (Yikes)

My recommendation for ADULTS: Onyx MoveVent Life Vest

paddle board rental

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– Designed so that it doesn’t obstruct your paddling because it leaves the shoulders open

– Highly visible so that you can be seen by other watercraft even in low light conditions

– Heavy duty and will keep even the heaviest people afloat.

– Also includes a whistle for extra safety

My recommendation for CHILDREN: O’Neill Youth SuperLite USCG Life Vest

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– Lightweight and fits snug on children without cutting off circulation.

– US Coastguard approved and comes from a well-known company (O’Neill).

– Comes in multiple different colors so you won’t have any fights with your kids having the same life jackets.

– Fits children up to 90 pounds with a chest size of 24-26 inches.

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Essential Item #2: Leash

A leash is a crucial accessory that tethers you to the paddleboard, preventing it from drifting away in case you fall off. It ensures that you stay connected to your board, making it easier to retrieve and reducing the risk of losing it.

If you’re in the sea then you could be in a difficult situation if you lose the board and then have to pay a fine to the paddle board rental company.

Along with that, most of the time the rental companies will give you straight leashes that get caught up on weeds and can also be a choking hazard for some people (especially young kids).

My Recommendation: BPS ‘Storm’ 10 Foot SUP Leash

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– Budget option that won’t break the bank (and it’s really comfortable).

– High quality materials and the tight coiling will eliminate drag of the leash and it catching on things.

– Comes with a waterproof waist pouch that you can use to store your phone and car keys while out on the water.

– Quick release tab allows you to quickly take it off in case of emergencies.

Essential Item #3: Paddle

While most rental companies provide paddles, having your own paddle can greatly enhance your paddleboarding experience. A properly fitted paddle that suits your height and paddling style can improve your stroke efficiency and reduce fatigue.

I’ve had multiple instances where the paddle that I got at a paddleboar rental near me didn’t actually fit, and this was so frustrating.

If you’re thinking of getting into the sport then a high-quality paddle could be an amazing purchase for you.

My Recommendation: Super Paddles Elite 12k Bamboo

Where To Buy: Amazon

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Why I Love It:
– It’s featherlight and packs a punch because you’ll be able to get some amazing speed & acceleration with it.

– This paddle is made of high quality materials and a comfortable T grip handle that will keep you comfortable.

– Can be adjusted so that it fits your height perfectly and gives you the best paddling experience.

– Comes with a travel bag and it’s easy to transport (total size is just 41″ when folded up).

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Essential Item #4: High SPF Sunscreen

Spending hours on the water exposes you to the sun’s harmful rays. To protect yourself from sunburn and potential long-term damage, invest in sunscreen with a high SPF.

These will NOT be provided by the paddle board rental company.

My Recommendation: Sun Bum SPF50 Sunscreen

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– Water resistant and high SPF so you can be in and out of the water without worrying about getting burnt.

– It mosturizes the skin and is also non-stick so sand won’t be stuck to you.

– This sunscreen is vegan and it’s great for all skin types (it won’t give you a rash or block your pores).

Essential Item #5: Floating Sunglasses

If you haven’t spent a lot of time in the water then you won’t know that there is a lot of glare coming off the water. That and the combination of salt if you’re not in fresh water can be blinding and will make the experience less enjoyable for you.

That’s why sunglasses are a crucial accessory that you should look into getting (and you should get ones that float so you don’t lose them)

My Recommendation: KUGUAOK Polarized Sports Sunglasses

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– These are stylish, comfortable and have a polarized lens that eliminates all glare from the water.

– It comes with a rope to stop them falling off your face if you fall.

– They float for a while so if they fall off it’s not a disaster to find them again.

paddle board rental

Essential Item #6: Bucket Hat

The next essential item is a bucket hat that also covers your neck. The sun reflects off all the different ripples on the water and it is very easy to get sunburnt. Along with that, you are standing most of the time so the bulk of the suns rays will fall on your neck and shoulders.

So your best option is to focus on protecting them 🙂

My Recommendation: Surf Bucket Hat

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Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– This is a hat that was designed for watersports

– It protects your face and neck from the sun and stays on your head during a wipeout (with the chin straps)

– It has a removable neck flap that you can use for extra protection.

Essential Item #7: Waterproof Bag

Carrying essential items such as your phone, keys, and snacks is really important while paddleboarding. A waterproof bag ensures your valuables stay dry and secure throughout your adventure and it is something that you will be able to use over and over again.

My Recommendation: Skog Å Kust DrySåk

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– Water tight and welded shut so that it’s completely waterproof.

– It floats so if it falls of your board then it won’t sink with your valuables.

– It is reflective and makes you visible in low light (along with being visible if it falls into the water).

– It’s comfortable on your shoulders and folds up into a small bag when you need to travel with it.

Essential Item #8: Waterproof Cellphone Pouch

One of the most common accidents that happens with paddleboarding is getting your phone wet. And I don’t know about you, but I HATE having to replace my phone because it has all your contacts, pictures and everything else that makes your life run effectively.

That’s why it’s essential that you get a waterproof cellphone pouch before you get a paddle board rental.

My Recommendation: Pelican Marine Phone Case

paddle board rental

Where To Buy: Amazon

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Why I Love It:
– It is completely waterproof and you can drop your phone in the water with it without any risk of damage.

– It is designed so that you can still take photos, touch the screen and also use the side buttons without it being a problem.

– This pouch comes with a lanyard that you can hand around your neck or attach to your board.

– You can also use it to take underwater photos (which are amazing).

Essential Item #9: Water Shoes

Water shoes provide grip and protection while walking on uneven or rocky surfaces, both on land and in the water. They also prevent your feet from getting injured by sharp objects or rough terrain when you’re on your SUP.

Plus – thousands of different people touch the paddleboard rentals so there’s a big risk of getting foot fungus and things like athletes foot from the boards.

My Recommendation: Vifuur Water Sports Barefoot Shoe.

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– They are really grippy and fit nicely so you won’t get a chafe.

– Most water shoes are really hard to take off – these aren’t (I’m not sure why but it’s REALLY convenient)

– You can use these water shoes at the beach, swimming pool or anywhere else where there’s water so it will never be a waste of money.

– The sizing is perfect (you can rely on getting the right size if you match your shoe size).

paddle board rental

Essential Item #10: Safety Whistle

A safety whistle is a simple yet effective tool for attracting attention in case of an emergency. It can be used to signal for help or alert nearby vessels or individuals if you need assistance. This is really important if you have children with you when you’re paddleboarding.

My Recommendation: LuxoGear Emergency Whistle With Lanyard

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– It is extremely loud.

– Visible and has a cord that you can attach to your paddleboard so that its there when you need it.

– Low cost but irreplaceable in value.

– It floats so you don’t need to worry about dropping it in the water.

Essential Item #11: Paddle Leash Safety Rod

These are the leashes that attach to your paddle so that you don’t lose them while in the water. This item is essential when you are paddling in the sea because it is REALLY easy to lose your paddle (if you do it’s expensive to cover the costs to the paddle board rental company).

That’s why I always recommend grabbing one of these safety leashes.

My Recommendation: Paddle Leash Safety Bungee Leash

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– The paddle leash prevents your paddle (and other items like fishing rods) from sinking if they fall off your SUP.

– Easy to use because they attach with vulcro.

– They are lightweight and don’t make a noise when hitting against the paddleboard when you’re paddling.

– You get 2x leashes for a great price.

paddle board rental

Essential Item #12: Paddleboard Carrier Straps

When you have to carry a SUP from the paddle board rental company to the water multiple times (or if you’re transporting the board somewhere), then it can get really inconvenient.

That’s why the final esssential item is carrier straps that attach to the paddle board rental and let you carry it on your shoulder.

My Recommendation: The SUP-NOW Paddleboard Carrier

Where To Buy: Amazon

Why I Love It:
– Doesn’t use any plastic pieces (so it won’t break the first time you use it)

– It has a triple padded shoulder pad that is comfortable and won’t cut off all your blood circulation.

– The straps are extremely strong and will hold even the heaviest paddle board rental boards effortlessly.

– They are so amazingly convenient that I wish I bought this from the beginning.


Getting a paddleboard rental opens up a world of exploration and adventure on the water. By considering factors such as your skill level, water conditions, and rental duration, you can make informed decisions when choosing a paddleboard. Additionally, purchasing essential items like a PFD, leash, paddle, sun protection, waterproof bag, water shoes, and safety whistles will enhance your safety and enjoyment during your paddleboarding experience.

Remember, preparation is key to a successful and memorable outing!

Looking for insider guides to some amazing paddle boarding locations?
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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I paddleboard without any prior experience?

Yes, paddleboarding is suitable for beginners. Rental companies often provide beginner-friendly boards and offer basic instructions to help you get started.

How long does it take to learn paddleboarding?

The learning curve for paddleboarding varies from person to person. With proper instruction and practice, most beginners can gain basic skills within a few hours or days.

Do I need a license to rent a paddleboard?

In most locations, you don’t need a license to rent a paddleboard. However, regulations may vary, so it’s best to check with the rental company or local authorities.

Can I paddleboard alone?

Yes, you can paddleboard alone. However, it’s recommended to have a buddy or inform someone about your paddling plans for safety reasons.

Can I use my own equipment when renting a paddleboard?

Some rental companies allow you to use your own equipment, but it’s advisable to check with them beforehand to ensure compatibility and safety compliance.

Remember, when embarking on your paddleboarding journey, safety should always be a priority. Enjoy the tranquility of the water and embrace the exhilarating experience that paddleboarding offers. Happy paddling!

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Jason Watson

My initial goal was to document my paddleboarding experiences with friends and family, but that has evolved into a commitment to share this sport with as many people as possible because of the health benefits & peace of mind it has given me. This sport is not only a great way to see the world, but it also helps us come closer to ourselves. Information gives us strength!

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