View from the Back: Our Boards, Our Cars, Ourselves

Katie Accessories, Columns, Gear, View from the Back Leave a Comment

If my car ended up parked overnight at the mall, it would probably be towed because someone would think a homeless person lived in it. What’s in my car?

  • Screwdriver
  • Locking straps
  • Board lock
  • Non locking straps
  • Long straps
  • Dog life jacket
  • People life jackets (2)
  • Adjustable paddle
  • Regular paddle
  • Rash guards
  • Beach towels
  • Duct tape
  • Vinegar
  • Surf wax
  • First aid kit
  • Instant ice packs
  • Sunscreen (spray, pump, face)
  • Bungee cords
  • Scissors
  • Hats
  • Stickers
  • Dry bags (2)
  • Change of clothes
  • Extra fin
  • Bug spray
  • Electrolyte tabs
  • Shotblocks
  • Spare change
  • Surf leashes (2)
  • Board bags (12’6″ and 14′)
  • Shoes

And that’s just the paddle gear.  The Unfortunate Part of paddleboarding is the gear. Or the fortunate part. Depends on who you ask: the paddler or his or her spouse.

Lock it or Lose it

The main reason I have all of this stuff is to keep the boards safe and in working order. Paddleboarding is sweeping the nation, and because people are starting to know what the boards are, they’re starting to take the boards. If you live near the water, it’s easy for someone to take your board, hop on it, and paddle off. Most of the thefts reported in our neck of the woods have happened near the water. It’s hard to take a board from a mall parking lot unless you’ve planned. It’s easier to take it from a dock. Most of the crimes, though, are crimes of opportunity. An unlocked board disappears. The locks available today would be easy to undo if someone has planned, or if they want to bad enough, but most locks will defeat petty theft. Don’t leave your board sitting around. Even if you have your own dock or your own boat, lock the board to the dock or to a boat railing using a dock lock.

Yakima

The dock lock has a pin that clamps over the bar of metal where you’d string your leash. When the lock is closed, the pin is closed. When you open the lock, you can pull the pin out and open it. The locking cable can be wrapped around the nearest pole. Again, not completely tamper-free, but will prevent petty theft. The docklock costs about $15. It is best for locking the board somewhere other than the car. I have Yakima locking ripcord straps. You can find them online here.  They are excellent for keeping the board on the car overnight or for locking the board while I go shop or eat. These straps have a metal core in them. The locks are at the tightening point. (There’s probably some technical term. I don’t know what it is.) They cost about $80. Pricey, but much less pricey than replacing a $2,500 board. The grand mac daddy of all locking carriers for the car is the Thule SUP Taxi. It costs $219 (and requires you to have the base roof racks already). It is awesome, though, and makes loading your board a cinch. It literally takes 10 seconds to load a board with this. More info here: http://www.thule.com/en-US/US/Products/Watersports/WatersportCarriers/810-SUP-Taxi-Paddleboard-Carrier

SUP Taxi Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 7.43.26 PM

Bag It

Until very recently, I was doing this to my boards:  That’s not advisable. One, they can scratch each other. Two, they can shift and wriggle out of the straps. Three, it looks dumb. Dragging boards around is exhausting. One is bad enough. Two is barely manageable. For me, anyway. Now I have board bags! Board bags come in different lengths, and it’s best to buy the right length for your board. The bags do two things: they protect the boards from the sun and they protect the boards from other objects. Paddleboards are fragile. Most have a fiberglass coating. Hit them hard enough (or breathe on them wrong–in the case of my custom non-epoxy finish Bark) and the fiberglass cracks. That’s called a “ding.” When your board gets a ding it starts to suck up water, which ruins the board from the inside out. Tangent: My friend Susan emailed Jimmy Lewis  when her board got a ding. (This was way back in the day–like three years ago–when we didn’t have board shops around.) He, being the nice guy that he is, called her back and said “You have to suck your ding.” WELL. That doesn’t sound porny or anything. The reason to suck the ding was to determine if the glass was actually cracked. If you sucked and got water or air–basically a lack of resistance–the board was cracked and needed to be fixed. I have never heard this before, but, in theory, it sounds like it could work.

Hands OFF!

All of this brings me to the conclusion of today’s column, which is: DON’T TOUCH MY STUFF. Unless I ask you for help, please don’t help. You will notice that everyone has his or her own way of getting the board on the car. We’re all different heights. We have different board racks. We have different techniques. Some of us are midgets and have boards with no center handle and have developed creative ways to heft. Others of us are amazons practicing the clean and snatch (again, not porny AT ALL) for our own Olympics in our heads, and we will go all steroid-rage on you if you touch our boards at the wrong time and cause us to drop them. The boards look heavy, but they’re not that heavy. They look sturdy, but they’re actually fragile. Unless we ask for help, don’t help. For me, this also goes for my paddle and PFD. Primarily because I’ll lose track of them if I don’t put them in the car myself. Also, those paddles that look like nothing–oh, they cost $300. Break mine and you’re buying me a new one.