How to Carry Your SUP Board

Posted on May 6, 2021 by Reed Naliboff

Launch your new stand up paddle boarding endeavor smoothly by learning how to safely carry your SUP board. The ability to handle your board with ease is the first step! With a few carrying basics and an overview of basic carry holds, you’ll be on the glittering water in no time.


Averaging over ten feet in length, paddle boards may seem daunting to handle at first. But, with a few preliminary stand up paddle boarding tips, you will soon find yourself striding toward the water with ease. Of course, as with lifting anything large, you want to protect your back and use good carrying techniques. Less obvious, but just as important is awareness of potential wind resistance. A strong crosswind can catch the surface area of your paddle board, making it quite challenging to keep the board steady. If possible, point your board into the wind as you carry it for an easier walk to the water.



All of ISLE’s paddle boards are equipped with a carry handle. Our patented LIFT SUP pop out carry handle is a standard feature on our epoxy boards. LIFT SUP carry handles are designed to eliminate any carry fatigue with its flush handle and slide-out grip. Our inflatable paddle boards are equipped with a rounded carry handle that allows you to comfortably handle your board after it is inflated. For a simple carry, many people prefer to use the carry handle and carry their board alongside their hip and leg. Be sure that the traction pad is facing outward and your leash isn’t dragging behind you.


The Head Carry is a classic surfer carry style and can be easily translated to carrying your stand up paddle board. To position your SUP on your head, first lay it on the ground bottom-side facing up. Lift the tail of the board and carefully walk your hands along the edges of your SUP board until you reach the midpoint between the tail and the nose of the board. Holding the board steady, bend your knees and situate your head in the center of the board. Using your head to bear the weight of the board and your arms to support and balance, lift the board off the ground until it is parallel with the ground, and then straighten your legs. Once your board is in position and balanced on your head, you can make your way to the water or back to the car with ease.


Of course, if you choose an inflatable SUP board like the Pioneer, your carrying options increase! With the convenient option to inflate your paddle board when you get to the water’s edge, the distance you have to actually carry the inflated board decreases dramatically. You’ll still need to be conscious of the wind and protect your back, but with the benefit of a shorter distance to traverse.


If you decide to carry your board inflated, a rounded carry handle included in the design of all of ISLE’s inflatable stand up paddle boards. Designed with neoprene cushioning for ease of use even in cold and wet conditions, the rounded carry handle is a well-appointed detail on our inflatable boards. Another benefit of choosing an inflatable board from ISLE is the paddle holder. Two simple velcro straps along the right side of the board allow you to securely attach your paddle when it’s not in use.


ISLE paddle boards are specifically designed for easy carrying, so once you have the basics in mind, getting out on the water will be easy. Looking for other beginner SUP tips? Check out our SUP 101 Guide.


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