How To Store Your Paddleboard for Winter

Sports travel equipment

When the paddleboarding season ends, the time comes for it to be stored away. Rigid and inflatable paddleboards obviously require different conditions in which they should be kept when not in use. In this article, we will learn how to store your paddleboard for winter or for any type of off-season. Moreover, we will go through all the places you can put a paddleboard and the exact things you have to do before winterizing it.

If you’re looking for a SUP that is easy to carry around and store away, make sure you check out my guide on some of the best inflatable paddleboards on the market for this year! Now, let’s start with the most important question here…

Where to store your SUP

There a couple of key factors that you need to keep in mind when storing your SUP. The very first thing you should do is limit the SUP’s exposure to sunlight. The UV rays are damaging to the paddleboard’s surface and might discolor it, or even worse – ruin its shell.

The second and third factors you should keep an eye on are moisture and temperature. Excess moisture in the storing location of your SUP can increase the rate of mold growth. Apart from smelling bad, mold can also potentially damage and discolor the outer shell of your paddleboard, no matter if it is rigid or inflatable. Too much heat in the storing location can cause your board to delaminate which can make it unusable. Heat also damages the soft shell of inflatable models. Over time, exposure to heat also makes the outer shell brittle which can lead to cracks and bad air retention.

Common places to store your SUP

In terms of the actual storage location, you have two choices:

  • Storing your SUP indoors – Indoor storage is the easiest and safest for your SUP. Garages and tool sheds are the most common locations for rigid SUPs. Some people prefer keeping their inflatable SUPs in a closet since they don’t take up a ton of space when rolled and bagged. Indoor storage also protects the board from UV light and big temperature fluctuations.
  • Storing your SUP outdoors – Storing your stand-up paddle board outside is a bit trickier. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, it is the only alternative. Storing it outside is generally okay if you keep certain things in mind. Most importantly, try to limit exposure to sunlight as much as you can. Look for shaded spots in your yard (or create them). If you can’t find a suitable spot that won’t get a ton of sunlight and moisture, you can wrap your SUP in a weather-resistant tarp to keep it isolated from the elements.

How to store your SUP

There are three common methods used to hang up or store paddleboards. They are mostly used for rigid SUPs, as inflatable ones are often just stored in their deflated and rolled state. The three methods are:

  • Suspend it
  • Put it on a rack
  • Lean the SUP against a wall

Suspend it

Suspending your SUP is the best way to keep your interior space uninterrupted. This method is ideal for garages as it can be put above your car or the other items you store there. Whatever material you choose for your suspension system, make sure that the SUP’s hull faces the ceiling.

Put it on a rack

Racks are also a nice method to store your SUP. Even better, they work great since most racks can house more than one sup. If you don’t have one, they are also relatively easy to make. Some companies even sell pre-made racks that are easy to assemble but can cost a pretty penny. Again, just as with the suspension system, make sure to protect the hull from pressure points or anything else that can damage it.

Lean the SUP against a wall

Lastly, one of the most basic ways to store your SUP is to just lean in against a wall or put it in your closet (if it fits). One major rule to follow here is to never put down your SUP on its nose. If you’re set on leaning it tall, make sure it sits on its tail which is often flat. Leaning the SUP on its side is also okay and won’t damage it. Just in case, you can put something soft beneath it. If you lean it against the wall standing, make sure you secure it somehow so that it doesn’t come down crashing.

For inflatable SUPs, you can do one of three things – roll it, bag it, or store it semi-inflated. Rolling it like a burrito is the same as if you’re rolling an air mattress. Squeeze all the air out and roll the iSUP. When rolled neatly, store it in a place where it won’t have any items laying on it. Most SUPs come with a carrying bag or case. Putting them in their own carrying bag for storage is an excellent choice and makes sure they won’t be affected by the environment around them. If you plan on storing your iSUP outside, using its original bag is the way to go.

Before you decide to use any of these methods for a rigid or inflatable paddleboard, you must first make sure you clean it properly.

Cleaning your SUP before storage

Whatever you do, and whatever type of SUP you have, you must clean it before storing it away. Fortunately, cleaning your SUP is super easy. All you have to do is rinse it with clean fresh water. If you’ve used it a lot in saltwater, you can use a mix of soap and water too.

One important thing to remember is to always dry the SUP well before storing it. This is especially valid for inflatable SUPs that are going to be folded for storage. They develop mold easily unlike rigid SUPs which have no issues drying out even when stored.

Inflated or Deflated?

person inflating a paddleboard

One of the biggest debates with iSUP storage is whether to store them inflated or deflated. While most experts recommend fully deflating them before loosely folding them into a roll, I personally think you should keep a little air inside them. The reason for that is to prevent creasing on the outer shell which can be damaging if it stays like that for months. Being semi-inflated keeps the sup from sharply folding at places, making it safer to store it for longer periods at a time. Another benefit of leaving the SUP semi-inflated is that you won’t have to fully inflate it once you need it.

When you bag your SUP also make sure you thoroughly clean it before that. When folding it, choose an area that won’t damage the outer shell of the SUP (carpet, grass, etc). If you store it together with other big or heavy items, make sure it is on top and nothing heavy is sitting on top of the SUP bag. That can also damage the outer shell.

Click here to learn more about various fun things you can do on your paddleboard once the good weather returns!

Winter Storage Tips

Over the years, I’ve gathered a ton of useful ideas that anyone can use. They will make storing your SUP easier and safer for the SUP itself. Let’s take a look at my favorite storage tips:

  • Try to distribute the weight of the SUP evenly when you store it. Unbalanced SUP can warp or gets its outer shell damaged.
  • Make it a part of your home’s decoration. A lot of people hang their SUPs in places that the board will traditionally fit. That way, you get a storage place for your SUP as well as a cool fixture on your wall or ceiling.
  • Avoid having heavy or sharp items on top of the SUP when stored. Pressure points often leave rigid SUPs intact but are rather damaging for inflatable models.
  • If you store your SUP outdoors, you can use the same UV protection sprays you use on your skin.
  • Put the SUP in a place where it will be easy to take out when you want to use it again. Many people make the mistake of absolutely burrowing their SUP deep into their closets. That way, when spring comes, they have to take everything out in order to get to it.
  • Rinse the SUP with water every time you store it away. Use dishwashing soap and lukewarm water at least 3-4 times a year for a deeper clean.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is theft protection. SUPs, especially inflatable models, are incredibly easy to snatch from easy places. That’s why you should always try to keep them out of sight and out of reach. You can also use the leash loop of your board to thread a sturdy cable through. That will prevent anyone from taking the SUP without untying the rope or cable first. Bike locks also work great for that purpose.

To learn how much weight a paddleboard can hold, visit my article on that topic!

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you store your inflatable SUP inside its bag?

One of the main appeals of inflatable SUPs is that they can be stored inside or outside their bags. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling with it or want to store it for the off-season,

Is there a risk for mold when storing your SUP?

Mold should always be a concern of ours when we store our SUP. The best way to avoid that happening is by cleaning the board thoroughly and making sure it is 100% dry before we store it. This is especially valid for inflatable paddleboards, as they get rolled and can trap humidity in the process.

Should you leave the fins on the paddleboard when storing it?

While this isn’t absolutely necessary, you can remove your board’s fins when you store it on a rack. It is a good habit to occasionally remove the fins to wash them from the saltwater anyway, so storing your board without them is a valid option.

Can you store your SUP in a garage?

Yes, in fact, garages are almost ideal for paddleboards, especially ones that are properly insulated. They maintain relatively low humidity and remain relatively chill during winter, avoiding excess heat exposure to the paddleboard. Most people prefer using a freestanding rack or a ceiling suspension system to hang up their SUP.

If you are interested in getting a roof rack for transporting or storing your SUP, check out my full guide on that topic!

Final Words

Learning how to store your paddleboard for winter is going to be one of the first things you learn after you’re done using it in the summer season. That is why you should consider the storage location, the conditions in which the SUP will be stored, and most importantly – how exactly to store it. Wall racks and ceiling suspension systems are nice but most SUPs will be good even if you lean them on a wall where they won’t get in the way. Inflatable paddleboards are way easier to store but make sure you clean and dry them out completely before folding them away for the off-season!