ARC Holiday Gift Guide: SUP
Yoga. Fishing. Shooting rapids. What can’t you do on a paddleboard these days? From 14’ touring boards to 5’ play boards, it seems the options in what was once a small recreational category are expanding faster than ever. The world of stand up paddling is growing so fast, it’s hard to keep up, so here are our best ideas for the SUPers on your list. You should find a few good suggestions here for any type of SUP fan.
BIC 10’ Cross Tough-Tec: $660
For someone looking for a great first board, the Cross in Tough-Tec is a perfect place to start. Anyone who’s rented a paddleboard a few times has probably paddled a BIC Cross, as they are favorite with outfitters. They’re stable, predictable, and reassuring, and this trim ten foot version is easy for smaller paddlers to carry. Bic’s Tough-Tec material can stand up to a lot, so you don’t have to worry if you accidentally skim over the occasional rock. Ideal for flatwater rivers and lakes, the Cross is an affordable, quality choice for those ready to break away from rentals.
Badfish Monarch: $899
If you’re shopping for a college student or apartment dweller, or someone who doesn’t drive, take a look at the Badfish Monarch, a versatile, high-quality inflatable that packs down into its own backpack for easy transport. The Monarch glides across flat water and holds its own in riffles and chop. Drop-stitched Exoskeleton construction makes this board rugged and durable. The best part? Everything you need to get started is included in the box. The Monarch is sold with a paddle, leash, and pump, so just throw your PFD in the bag and you’re good to go.
Astral Airbelt: $119.95
Speaking of throwing your PFD in a bag, that’s pretty easy with the Astral Airbelt. It’s packable, lightweight, and ultra-low-profile. The Airbelt is worn around the waist, so it’s completely out of the way when you don’t need it. In the event that you do, simply pull the inflation cord and the belt transforms into a buoyant air bubble. Pull the neck strap over your head and tighten, and you have sufficient floatation for most flatwater swims. Note that inflatable PFDs are only suitable for warm, flat water and confident swimmers, and the CO2 cartridge must be re-armed after a deployment.
Astral Loyak: from $85
Grip is essential for SUPers, so the Astral Loyak makes a great substitute for neoprene booties. Astral’s G-Rubber provides the ultimate grip on wet boards and rocks, and the minimalist sole allows plenty of flex for maximum control. Tough, water-ready canvas uppers dry fast, so you can go from board to bar in style, even if you forget a change of shoes. Offered in men’s and women’s sizing and colors.
Watersports Warehouse Rack Pads: from $38
Rack pads protect boards against scratches and dents from crossbars. These Watersports Warehouse aero rack pads are offered in lengths from 24” to 36”, and we have another version specifically for round/square bars on older racks.
Yakima Supdawg: $299
For unparalleled loading and carrying convenience, the Yakima Supdawg is a purpose-built solution for up to two SUPs or surfboards. It comes rigged out with integrated rollers for easy side-loading. SKS (Same Key System) lock cores keep the boards and the Supdawg mount secured to a base rack, and the integrated straps feature internal steel cables for added theft protection. Best of all, this SUP mount comes fully assembled out of the box. Absolutely no tools or complicated instructions required!
Badfish Re’Leash $69
For those who want to keep a good handle on their board, make sure they have a safe way to do it with the Badfish Re’leash. This river SUP leash borrows the recognizable quick release toggle found in premium rescue vests and combines it with a snap shackle for quick, reliable releases when necessary. Since anyone needing to release a leash will likely be underwater and unable to see, this leash includes a carabiner that snaps onto the user’s PFD so the quick release ball toggle is always within reach and easy to identify by feel. The Re’Leash is offered in 6’ straight and 8’ coiled versions. Both are equipped with universal Velcro board attachments and offer superb visibility thanks to the bright red materials.
Kokatat X-Jacket: $100
Shoulder weather means higher water and happy paddling, but it also means tough decisions on what layers to bring along. Take some of the work out of that process with the Kokatat X-Jacket, a stretchy, UPF 50+ splash resistant top that stores in its own waist pack. It weighs almost nothing and is hardly noticeable when worn around the waist, but it’s there to respond to chill or bright sun whenever you need it. Designed with SUPers in mind, the X-Jacket packs convenience and performance into one lightweight layer perfect for those cool dawn patrols and euphoric first days of summer.