When it comes to paddle sports, kayaking reigns supreme. In 2018, about 16.4 million Americans participated in the sport, beating canoeing for first place.
Stand up paddling, although not as popular, has also seen immense growth in participants in recent years, gaining 1.5 million people’s engagement since 2013.
Reports predict these numbers will only increase in the next few years as more people discover their love for watersports and exploring the great outdoors.
While many participants choose to rent yaks and boards, others decide to purchase them. If you’re one of the lucky few who happens to own one of these bad boys, you probably know that ownership comes with a number of responsibilities.
From transporting your kayak to steering clear of boulders while in the water, taking care of your equipment is a must. When winter rolls around, storage is another thing to consider.
Here are a few ways to ensure proper storage to keep your gear in tip-top shape until you’re ready to use it again.
1. Clean Them First
Before you think about storing away your kayak or paddleboard, it’s essential to rinse and wash it first. This step is especially crucial if you use your gear in saltwater since the salt speeds the corrosion process, eating away at metal bolts and screws over time.
Remove the seat from kayaks and wipe down both the interior and exterior with soapy water. Do the same with your board. Then, rinse and dry thoroughly to prevent mold or other fungi from growing.
2. Check for Damage
After you’ve cleaned and dried your equipment, check for damages or any missing parts. Screws tend to get loose and may fall out over the summer without you even realizing it. Buy any replacement parts before storing your kayak or board so that you’re ready for action come spring.
Additionally, oil all metal parts, including threads and screws to keep them in good, functioning condition. Don’t forget to do the same with your paddles!
3. Find Protective Covering
Once your things are spotless, dry and looking brand new, you’ll want to keep them that way, which means finding a safe place that provides proper shelter or covering.
Leaving your equipment out in the open can cause warping or sun damage. Moreover, you may find unwelcome guests like insects, possums or other critters have made a home of your things when you go to use them again.
4. Store Indoors if Possible
Everyone’s storage area will look different. However, the safest place for your kayak and board is inside. Whether it be a shed, your garage or even a guest room, four walls and a roof are the best protection against rain, snow and everything in between.
If you decide to store your equipment in the garage, be sure to lock the track if you leave for long periods. This step will prevent thieves from breaking in and stealing your gear.
5. Protect Against Thieves
If you plan on storing your stuff in your home, you’ll have to take extra precautions to lock up. Roughly 33% of burglars break in through the front door, so you must secure the main entrance to your house.
You might even want to install an alarm system so that both you and the authorities get notified if someone tries to get in. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially with expensive belongings like a kayak or paddleboard.
6. Hang From the Ceiling
Another way to store your board or kayak indoors is to hang it from the ceiling. You can do this in your garage, basement, shed or even a carport.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure the ceiling is strong enough to hold the weight of your equipment. Once it’s up, however, it’ll be out of the way and won’t take up any floor space. Choose between the more popular rack or straps to hold up your stuff.
7. Avoid Bubble Wrap
You want to protect your board from dents and dings while in storage, and bubble wrap may seem like the answer. However, this plastic may do more harm than good.
Often, it’s a polyurethane resin, which tends to stick to epoxy boards if you leave the materials together for long periods. Moreover, bubble wrap can melt and cook your board if you leave it in the sun or a warm room. Instead, use towels, tarps and other soft items to keep your equipment safe.
8. Designate an Outdoor Area
If you don’t have enough space to store your stuff inside, keeping your kayak and board outside is still a viable option, as long as you cover and position everything properly. Optimally, you would store your equipment on a rack or trailer.
You can also wrap your board in a tarp and lean it against your house. A kayak, however, you’ll want to store on a soft surface, either vertically or propped on its side and wrapped in a tarp to prevent warping and dents.
9. Store at a Marina
Are you having trouble finding a place to store your equipment? Worried your kayak or board won’t be safe? Consider renting out storage space at a marina. Annual fees can cost as little as $100, or you might opt to pay monthly.
Even though it may be more costly than keeping everything at home, you can rest easy knowing your kayak and board are secure and will be in good condition next spring. If you value your water riders, the investment is worth it.
The Consequences of Improper Kayak and Paddle board Storage
As with any other major purchase, your water sports equipment comes with a fair share of responsibility. After spending hundreds of dollars on your kayak and board, you want to make sure they last. As long as you store your gear correctly, it should last you for years to come.
If you don’t adequately cover, wrap, hang and store everything, however, you’ll be incredibly disappointed come spring.
Improper care can result in warping, staining, discoloration and cracking that will ruin your equipment. Paddleboards can break in half if you put too much force or pressure on them.
You may have to spend a pretty penny to get it fixed or purchase a new one — the last thing you want to worry about when warm weather finally rolls around.
Take good care of your equipment, and it’ll take good care of you. When the warm months hit, you’ll be ready to take on the waves, explore the water and have new adventures.