The best gift for the paddleboarder in your life is the board itself! Aside from the fact that paddleboards are not routine gifts on account of their price, there are plenty of other items that make the experiences in the water fun and safe ones.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of our best paddleboard gift ideas – hopefully giving you some inspiration and for the kind of items that will be genuinely useful and well-loved when put to use.
This list is targeted towards the UK paddleboarder and for both men and women, who will appreciate gifts that help them stay warmer, especially during the colder winter months.
My opinion for most popular gifts for Christmas 2023 will include the C-Monsta Wetsuit Hanger, that has really caught on in the watersports scene as a must have to help dry and look after your wetsuit, booties and gloves. Other ideas we haven’t added to this list could include SUP lessons, or even a watersports based holiday!
If you’re looking to buy technical equipment like a paddle or wetsuit as a gift, we recommend speaking to a specialist paddleboard shop. They’ll be able to give you far more in-depth advise that will be best suited for your gift receiver.
More of a surfer? Then check our article for the best gifts for surfers.
Table of Contents
Fun and useful gifts for stand up paddleboarders (SUP)
Waterproof Changing Robe
Our recommendation: Gorilla Robes
Price: From £89.99 – View on Gorilla Robes website
Favoured by wild swimmers and surfers alike, changing robes make one of the best gifts for paddleboarders. Essentially, they are there to greet anyone who has just been in the water, helping to dry off and insulate their cold, wet owner.
Dry clothes can then easily be slipped on underneath the robe. Sometimes, especially if the water is close by to their car or home, users will turn up to the sea with one of these on, with their swim things underneath, so as to save on the amount of clothing they have to bring along with them.
These warm, waterproof overcoats make them much more suited to the kind of paddle boarding that goes on here in England, where the prospect of rain, for about 48 weeks out of the 52 in a year, is never too far off.
The robe can thus double up as a raincoat, reducing the amount of stuff that the paddleboarder in your life will need to bring to their chosen body of water. Especially for that paddleboarding outside of the summer months, a waterproof swim robe is a gift that will definitely improve the experience of drying off and warming up after the session.
Our recommendation: Northcore Changing Mats
View on Wetsuit Outlet
A great complement to the waterproof changing robe.
If it’s wet out, and there are no changing rooms, putting on clean and dry clothes before and after going in the water can be really quite unpleasant.
Changing with a towel beneath you just doesn’t cut it: slopping all your wetsuit or swim things over something that’s there to get you dry is counterproductive, and obviously your wet body will be dripping, too. But a wetsuit changing mat specifically designed for changing on stops all this from happening, allowing swimmers and watersports enthusiasts alike to get dry in a lot more comfort: with something dry and welcoming beneath their feet, as opposed to sharp pebbles, wet sand, or a dirty quayside pavement.
Like the waterproof changing robes we discussed above, a changing mat will ameliorate the experience of getting dry again after being in the water – an experience that is at best time-consuming, and at worst, actively difficult and grotty. Especially if the paddleboarder in your life has complained about the not-inconsiderable stress of getting changed in a fairly public beach or waterside, a changing mat may well be a good gift for them.
These items will definitely tip the balance in favour of going out on a paddleboarding trip, if the prospect of having to get decent again afterwards was a significant discouraging factor.
Our recommendation: O’Neill Neoprene Beanie
Price: From £23.95 – View on Anns Cottage
For those brisk winter paddle sessions.
Neoprene is the fabric typically used in wetsuits: a neoprene beanie, is basically just a way to extend the insulating and warming properties of a wetsuit to the top part of your head.
Neoprene essentially works by allowing water to permeate through it, but, when snugly fitting around a body (i.e. in a wetsuit), is able to trap a small sliver of water inside the suit. The heat that the body naturally emits (especially during periods of intense physical exertion, like paddle boarding or surfing) warms the trapped water, allowing the wetsuit wearer to stay in the water more comfortable, and for longer periods of time.
As opposed to the more intense wetsuit hoods, neoprene beanies are easy to take on and off, but still keep the top of the head (the part of the body that loses the most heat due to the high density of blood vessels in the brain) insulated while in the water.
A gift like this would subtly but definitely improve the experiences of the paddleboarder in question, particularly if they are interested in extending their boarding seasons beyond the summer months, or extending the amount of time they can safely and warmly spend in the water full stop.
Our recommendation: O’Neill Wetsuit Boots
Check price on Amazon
Another great winter warmer.
Wetsuit boots for paddle boarding have two key functions (and surfing more generally). Their first function is, again, one particularly pertinent to UK paddleboarders: wetsuit boots help to keep users’ feet warm.
The human leg typically has a lot more fat to insulate its key blood vessels and muscles, whereas the human foot does not. But most wetsuits on the market do not cover the foot, allowing them to get colder and colder – particularly if poor circulation of blood is already a bit of a health issue for the paddleboarder or surfer in question.
Wetsuit boots, which are made out of the same insulating neoprene fabric as wetsuits themselves, resolve this problem and are used by anyone serious about going in cold water regularly.
The second function of these boots, however, makes them a gift more specifically appropriate for paddleboarders. They confer extra to their wearers: the grippy plastic on their soles creates more friction than bare feet typically manage. This is particularly useful for longer paddleboarding sessions (for example lengthy explorations of coastlines), where concentration can wane a little bit.
There is a good range of different models to choose from, with some resembling wetsuit shoes as opposed to wetsuit boots. Shoelike options are a little easier to get on and off, but are less insulating – there’s not too much between the two kinds of models, and it’s mostly up to your individual judgement to decide what kind you want to go for.
A Wetsuit Hanger
Our recommendation: C-monsta
Check price on Amazon
One of the more overlooked gifts for paddle boarders, a wetsuit hanger will subtly improve the sometimes annoying and laboursome aspects of paddleboarding: the process of washing and drying out wetsuits after a session in the water.
As we said in our introduction, we think this is one of the best gifts for paddleboarders you could buy for Christmas 2023!
Essentially, it’s a piece of plastic with a rope attached to it. Whereas normal, domestic clothes hangers typically lack a loop-like shape, or have too small a gap for a garment as bulky as a wetsuit, specially designed hangers have the room to hang the wetsuit on. The wetsuit can be folded over the hanger around the waist, allowing it to dry quickly and remain balanced.
They are also a lot stronger than normal hangers, meaning that they can properly take the weight of a large amount of wet neoprene. The rope attached to the plastic c-shape means that the hanger can be used in a variety of different locations: it could easily hang in a shower cubicle, or hung from a porch.
While it may seem a little superfluous to get a specifically designed hanger for a wetsuit, these items allow wetsuits to dry away from non-saltwater clothing, and away from any dirt, helping to keep onshore and offshore clothing at their best.
Silent Air Remover
Our recommendation: Red Paddle Co
Price: From £34.99 – View on Red Paddle Co website
Silent air removers make great gifts for paddleboarders who own their own blow-up board.
Inflatable paddleboards are valued for their portability: they are more easily carried in cars because they can roll up to the size of a sleeping bag, saving people from forking out on special surf racks or hiring a van.
However, this facility of use comes at a labour cost: you have to spend quite a bit of time deflating the board after use, as well as pumping it up before getting in the water. And what’s more, the process of deflation makes a huge amount of noise – paddleboarders typically have to alert anyone nearby of what’s about to happen, especially on more family orientated beaches.
A silent air remover solves both labour and noise problems: a model made by Red Original, for example, is able to deflate a board pumped to 18 pounds per square inch, whilst reducing the loudness of this process from over 130 decibels at the initial point of deflation to under 80 decibels.
An Electric Air Pump
Our recommendation: Outdoor Master Air Pump
Check price on Amazon
Whilst we’re on useful accessories for inflatable stand-up paddleboards, you might want to consider an air pump as a gift, too.
As with the air remover discussed above, it’s important to make sure that the person in question does actually use or own a blow-up type of board. With that said, electric SUP pumps make really useful gifts for paddleboarders.
They massively reduce the amount of energy expended on inflating as opposed to manual ones, meaning that the paddleboarder in question can tire themselves out doing something they love at sea, as opposed to on a trying task on land.
They’re handheld, too, meaning that you can do it easily on the beach, without having to run a lead up to your car or a power socket in a nearby building. Essentially, it makes the process a lot speedier and less logistically demanding – it’s one of those paddle board gifts that will noticeably improve every single outing, but while being suitably marginal a present that it’s not too likely to be something paddleboarders definitely own.
Waist Belt Safety Leash
Our recommendation: Red Paddle Co
Price: From £18.95 – View on Red Paddle Co website
Safety leashes attach the boarder to their board via their ankle are the norm, particularly in representations of popular culture. However, the ankle leash is not necessarily the method of attachment that makes people feel the safest.
A waist safety belt, where the board’s leash is attached to a belt that sits on the user’s waist, offers a potentially safer alternative, perhaps giving more younger or more anxious paddleboarders more confidence in the water. A desire for a more safe connection to the board may also be felt by those paddleboarding in more challenging or changeful bodies of water.
Essentially, a waist belt leash allows wearers to disconnect themselves from their board more quickly and more easily than if they were using an ankle leash: It’s a lot easier to reach down to your waist as opposed to your ankle. Equally, there are models that use different kinds of fastening technology than Velcro, which instantaneously untie the connection between the user and board. For instance, the Red Original model has a quick release toggle, meaning that if the water becomes particularly forceful and unpredictable, and the wearer thinks that they are in danger of being hit by their board or slowed down by it, the process can happen quickly.
A Board Lock
Our recommendation: Red Paddle Co Original
Price: From £32.95 – View on Red Original website
While perhaps one of the gifts for paddleboarders that draws attention to the less nice aspects of the hobby, a board lock makes an excellent present for those who own their own board.
Board locks essentially work in the way that flexible bike locks work: the wire loop is put through the handle (or handles) of the board, and then attached to a stationary or otherwise highly unmoveable thing, like railings or a car.
The locks typically combination use a combination code mechanism, which means that there’s one thing less to worry about losing while out and about paddleboarding.
Some board locks are great enough in length to lock up (or at least immobilise) multiple boards together; the extra wire can be easily wound around a singular board a couple of times to make sure it’s snug and secure.
Car/Van Key Locks
Our recommendation: Ocean and Earth
Price: From £29.95 – View on Boardshop
Another lock! We’re returning once more to one of those paddle board gifts that concerns the unhappy subject of theft.
Car key locks offer a small box with which the user can put their keys while in the water. They use combination locks, so as to avoid the useless situation where the key for the lock also requires its own lock, and then that key also requires a box to keep safe, ad infinitum. This allows drivers to keep their car safe while they are out paddleboarding, massively increasing their freedom and their peace of mind while in the water.
Often, these locks have a padlock feature, too, meaning that they can be attached to hooks in their unlocked beach hut, or to the strap of their bag for easy access when returning back to their car.
A Waterproof Backpack
Our recommendation: Red Paddle Co Original
Price: From £99.95 – View on Red Original website
Many rucksacks and bags are waterproof, of course. But this fact might deter budding paddleboarders from getting one specifically for their hobby: it might seem a decadent or superfluous purchase, given that they probably own one to go to work with, or to accompany them on holiday, or country walks. But this is also why specially designed waterproof backpacks make good paddle boarder gifts, too: people are far less likely to ever buy a rucksack for this one specific purpose, for starters-and they improve any paddle boarder’s experience of their hobby, too.
As we’ve said before (as if it wasn’t fairly obvious!), paddle boarding involves a lot of different kinds of water: the body of water being paddle boarded on, the wet bodies and equipment that come out of the body of water in question afterwards, and, frequently, water from the heavens (rain).
All of these things pose threats to things like phones and dry clothes, ruining them. But a properly, assuredly waterproof bag means that none of these threats are threats, and the owner can just get on with the thing that they love, instead.
Equally, it’s useful to have a bag especially for paddle boarding: it means that other bits of related clobber (indeed, possibly other items on this list) can be kept all together in one place, easily picked up and taken out the door to go on its next paddleboarding adventure.
These kinds of rucksacks can be quite stylish too: make sure to look out for things like seamless zips (where the zip looks like it’s inside out) and fabrics like Gor-Tex; or wax cotton on the bag’s label.
Our recommendation: Aquapack
Check price on Amazon
Aquapacks are another type of item which keeps your possessions safe from watery ruin.
Put simply, they are small plastic pouches in which you can put things like your keys, bank cards, change, and phone, and because they are made of see-through plastic on one side, and opaque grey on the other, it’s easy to see what you’ve put in it, and count it up quickly to check that it’s all still there.
The Aquapack can then be sealed up from water by toggling the switches at the top of the pouch. The item also has a drawstring attached to it, meaning that it can be worn around the neck, possibly allowing valuables to be taken out into the water (if other strategies, or indeed items on this list, aren’t going to work out). This facility also means it’s good for keeping important items safe when in more touristy areas, too-and if the paddleboarder in question was going to take a trip abroad (watersport related or otherwise), they could easily add their passport and tickets into the pouch, too.
Check out our recent review of some great waterproof key pouches.
Paddle Boarding Guide Books
Our recommendation: Lizze Carr – Paddling Britain
Check price on Amazon
A guide book would make a great gift for more advanced and established paddleboarders, especially if they own their own means of transport (or else those who have a particularly can-do attitude to countryside public transport services).
You may also want to consider whether the person owns their own paddleboard, as it’s not always the case that they will be able to hire one, especially in out of season months. These books offer advice on paddleboarding, but mainly explain and discuss paddle boarding routes that are particularly beautiful or otherwise noteworthy.
They often talk about inland routes (i.e. in lakes or rivers) as well as the more familiar coastal trips, which might be especially inspiring if the paddle boarder you are thinking of buying for only does one type of paddle boarding, or is known to frequent one particular area or body of water quite doggedly.
Paddleboard guide books can also offer more locally specific knowledge about weather or tides, as well as any laws that might be different across the UK (i.e. Scotland might have different laws about using private rivers than in England or Wales).
A Rash Vest
Our recommendation: Quiksilver Rash Vests
Price: From £25.00 – View on Quiksilver
For the warm summer days.
Rash vests are a great way to protect your body from the assault of the sea and sand while at the beach when it’s not appropriate or possible to wear a wetsuit: they are close fitting tops made from lycra.
They’re a lot less bulky than wetsuits, too, but, in some (usually more spendy) designs, rash vests are lined with fleeces, thus approximating some of the insulating facilities of those larger neoprene garments.
Rash vests are really good to have to hand in summer months, especially if you are quite worried about sunburn.
They come in a range of different designs and colours, meaning that they would make good paddleboard gifts for all kinds of different tastes and age groups, and will definitely come in useful.
A Surf SUP Leash
Our recommendation: Ocean and Earth SUP Surf Leash
Price: From £25.95 – View on sup.co.uk
A leash to try SUP surfing on waves!
For those who are buying for someone who owns their own paddleboard, a SUP specific leash is a great shout. While they almost certainly have a leash for their board, there’s no telling if it’s one favoured by paddleboarders – this is a notable problem when buying second hand.
Generally, SUP leashes are coiled and are longer in length to match the considerable greater length of the paddleboard. However, a surf SUP leash is straight, this is because when you fall off the wave, you don’t want the coiled leash to act like a spring and have the board come flying at you when you’re in the water.
It’s also useful to have a spare leash around: not only are they liable to get lost in motion or left at the beach, but having a new one in case one breaks in use means that the day isn’t entirely ruined for the paddleboarder you have in mind, either.
Strap On Roof Racks
Our recommendation: Frostfire Moonracks
Check price on Amazon
Strap on roof racks are convenient for all kinds of reasons. If the paddleboarder owns a car or van, it may be the case that the model doesn’t have roof gutters (ridges along the top side of the car that allow permanent roof racks to be attached), or, simply, that they don’t want the look of their car to be permanently marred by the presence of roof racks.
Or if the vehicle is hired or borrowed, you simply can’t take the liberty to install some of your own roof racks. Cue strap on roof racks: this piece of technology grips into the seam created by the doors of the vehicle, and are easily taken off again when not needed.
Strap on roof racks are of course only appropriate gifts for paddleboarders who own their own equipment but will broaden the horizons of such people massively, allowing them to drive further afield, while still keeping safe behind the wheel: paddleboards are, by design, very long, meaning that it would be difficult to pack even just one into a car without serious visibility and functionality problems for the driver.
A Surf Bucket Hat
Our recommendation: FCS Essentials
Price: From £24.95 – View on Shore
On a sunny day I always paddle with a bucket hat to stop my face, ears and neck burning up!
Despite all we’ve said about the amount of rain in the United Kingdom, there is still a danger of getting sunburn or heatstroke while paddleboarding, particularly if you are out on the water for a long time.
Even in pretty overcast conditions, there is a large amount of UV light reaching the earth’s surface in the summer months. And water reflects these rays, heightening the effects of the sun for those paddleboarding or swimming in it. In light of all this, it’s important not to overlook sun protection measures, and hats are very much part of this.
Bucket hats designed specifically for surfing activities typically have chinstraps, meaning that it’s a lot more difficult to lose in the water. These kinds of hats also fulfil all the usual sunhat functions like improving visibility and preventing exhaustion and dehydration from the sun-two things which are obviously a lot more dangerous while offshore.
Surf bucket hats would be especially valued gifts for paddleboarders who like to go on long journeys, as well as those who might overlook the dangers posed by the sun.
A Pair of Polarized Sunglasses
Our recommendation: Dirty Dog
Check price on Amazon
We’re going to keep the sunny theme for a little bit, and recommend sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses, in particular, make great gifts for paddleboarders. Polarization reduces the amount of glare reflected off specific (often highly reflective) objects and into your eyes, thus allowing you to see comfortably, and reducing the chance of developing headaches or migraines.
The sea, as we’ve established, is highly reflective, meaning that being around it for prolonged periods of time can cause vision problems, whatever the weather is doing. Quite a lot of the models sold in watersport shops will have a neoprene cord attached to the ends of the temples, meaning that they are less likely to get lost. If the pair you have in mind do not, it may be a good idea (though by no means a necessary one) to buy one of these cords separately-perhaps this could form a planned joint present with another person. It is also very important to purchase a pair of sunglasses that have UV protection, too. This means that the wearer’s eyes will not get damaged by intense light that still ends up reaching their eyes: because the brain has been convinced that it’s not actually that bright by the sunglasses, the pupils dilate, allowing more light in. This means that damaging UV rays still end up entering the eye and searing the retina, causing all kinds of problems and discomforts.
Essentially, it’s worth getting a good quality pair if you decide that sunglasses are the way you want to go by way of paddleboard gifts. We only get one pair of eyes, after all.
Zinc Sunscreen Sticks
Our recommendation: Sun Zapper Zinc Stick
Check price on Amazon
As well as protecting your eyes while paddleboarding, it’s equally important to protect your skin.
Zinc sunscreen sticks are a great way of protecting sensitive and continuously exposed areas of the body, like the face, or the neck, and thus make great, fairly cheap gifts for paddle boarders.
Zinc works as a physical sunscreen, as opposed to chemical ones like suncream: the particles scatter the damaging ultraviolet radiation, diverting it from the skin on which it sits. The stick form makes the product really easy to apply, and is less likely to unpleasantly explode in your bag and ruin your clothes, valuables, or lunch.
It should be noted, though, that this type of sunscreen does not ‘rub in’: the colour of the sunscreen (typically, but definitely not always, white) will be the colour of the applied area, and more intensely so if applied thickly. While this has its advantages, in the sense that it is obvious when you need to top up your skin’s protection, but it’s not necessarily for everyone.
Also, you may want to check to see if the sunscreen stick is paraben free, if the person you are gift-buying for has sensitive or problematic skin.
There we have it: a list of the best gifts for paddleboarders. Obviously, there’s a lot of different brands to choose from out there, but getting a grasp on the kinds of things that would actually be useful and desired as gifts will have set you in the right direction.
About the author
Watersports Pro is managed by Ollie, who has been in the industry since 2007. A paddleboard and advanced windsurfing instructor, Ollie has travelled the world teaching these sports.
Now based on the South Coast of England, he shares his experience and knowledge on watersportspro.co.uk.