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What to Bring Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

What to Bring Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

Whether you own a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) or you are planning to rent a stand-up paddleboard in Mount Pleasant or at the beach, there are some things you should bring with you when getting on the water. Here is a list of 10 essentials for stand-up paddleboarding in Charleston.

Getting on a stand-up paddleboard is a great way to explore Charleston’s coastal waters. If you are on vacation, renting a SUP or taking a guided tour will be an unforgettable experience. This is true whether you rent a stand-up paddleboard in Mount Pleasant at Shem Creek or you rent a SUP at the beach.

When planning your SUP excursion, you’ll want to plan to bring some things with you. If you’re renting or taking a tour, the outfitter should provide many of the essentials. But, you’ll also need some things of your own to ensure that you can have a comfortable day and capture your memories.

Mount Pleasant is a great place to stand-up paddleboard.

10 Essentials for Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Mount Pleasant or at the Beach

So, what should you bring with you when stand-up paddleboarding? Here are 10 essentials for both novice and experienced paddlers:

1. Personal Floatation Device (PFD)

Stand-up paddleboards are classified as “vessels” by the U.S. Coast Guard. This means that stand-up paddleboarders need to comply with the laws regarding personal floatation devices (PFDs), or life jackets.

In South Carolina, all vessels must have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD onboard. Additionally, as the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) explains, “In South Carolina, any person under twelve years of age must wear a US Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD when on board a class ‘A’ (less than 16 ft. long) boat.” So, while adults and teenagers need to have a PFD with them, children 12 and under must wear a PFD at all times.

Of course, even if you aren’t legally required to wear a PFD, wearing one is still a good idea. This is especially true when stand-up paddleboarding in Charleston’s coastal waters. If you rent a stand-up paddleboard in Mount Pleasant or at the beach (or if you take a guided tour), the outfitter should provide a PFD with your rental. But, it’s a good idea to check when making your reservation just in case.

2. SUP Leash

This is something else that the outfitter should provide when you rent a SUP or take a SUP tour. A SUP leash attaches to the back deck of your stand-up paddleboard and has a thick Velcro strap that you wrap around your ankle. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use your SUP leash. But, if you do, you’ll be glad that you have it. Wearing a leash ensures that your SUP won’t float away from you with the tidal current in the event that you end up in the water.

3. Water-Safe Shoes

Although you’ll most likely want to stand-up paddleboard barefoot, it’s a good idea to bring water-safe shoes with you and store them under the bungees on your SUP’s deck. While this isn’t important everywhere, it is important when launching your SUP from Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant or exploring Charleston’s other coastal areas.

Why? Oyster shells.

There are oyster shells everywhere around Charleston. Even if the area where you’re planning to get off of your SUP looks sandy, there could be oyster shells lurking under the water. If you step on one barefoot, it will hurt, and you may need to cut your SUP excursion short.

4. Waterproof Phone Case

When exploring Charleston’s waters on a stand-up paddleboard, you will want to take photos. This means that you will want to have your phone with you. To make sure your phone doesn’t get ruined, bring a waterproof case, and consider putting it on a lanyard to wear around your neck. That way, you won’t have to worry about dropping it, and you’ll have it at the ready when you need to snap a photo or take a video of a dolphin swimming next to you.

5. Floating Keychain

While we’re being practical, it’s a good idea to invest in a floating keychain as well. If you don’t have one with you, you can buy one for a few dollars at any local gift shop or marine supply store. If you don’t have pockets, you may want to buy a carabiner as well. Whether you live here or you are on vacation, the last thing you want to do is get back from your SUP excursion and realize that your keys are somewhere at the bottom of the ocean or the Charleston Harbor.

6. Water Bottle, Hydration Belt, or Hydration Vest

Stand-up paddleboarding takes effort, and it is important to stay hydrated while you are on the water. While this is true year-round, it is especially true during the hot summer months. You can either bring a water bottle to bungee to your SUP, or you can wear a hydration belt or hydration vest so that you have easy access when you want a drink.

7. Snacks

Along with staying hydrated, you also need to stay fueled. You will burn several hundred calories during a two or three-hour stand-up paddling excursion, and you’ll want to replace these calories so that you stay feeling energetic on the water. A granola bar or another similar snack should do the trick—just be absolutely certain that you keep ahold of your wrapper and throw it away (or recycle it) when you get back to shore.

8. Sunscreen

Since you’ll be spending a couple of hours (or more) on the water, you’ll want to bring sunscreen. This is true regardless of the weather and time of year. As Johns Hopkins Medicine explains, “Wearing sunscreen is one of the best — and easiest — ways to protect your skin’s appearance and health at any age. Used regularly, sunscreen helps prevent sunburn, skin cancer and premature aging.” There are lots of reasons to wear it, and no good reasons not to.

9. Bug Spray

Depending on the weather and time of year, you could find yourself dealing with no-see-ums during your stand-up paddleboard excursion in Charleston, SC. Wearing bug spray will keep them away and allow you to enjoy your time on the water.

10. Appropriate Clothing for the Weather

Along with sunscreen and bug spray, you’ll also want to bring appropriate clothing for the weather. Check the forecast before you go, and keep in mind that the breeze will feel cooler on the water than it does on the land. In the summer months, a bathing suit might be all you need. But, if it’s a bit cooler outside, you may be more comfortable in a water-repelling jacket and pair of pants.

Stand-up paddleboarding in Mount Pleasant, SC

FAQs: Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Mount Pleasant or at the Beach in Charleston

Where Can I Launch My Stand-Up Paddleboard in Mount Pleasant?

If you live in Charleston and are interested in launching your SUP in Mount Pleasant, you can do so at the Shem Creek Public Boat Landing. The boat landing is located at 109 Simmons Street, and there is limited parking available within a short walking distance of the water. This will put you on the inland side of the Coleman Boulevard bridge, and you can either head further inland on Shem Creek or paddle under the bridge toward Crab Bank and the Charleston Harbor.

Where Can I Rent a Stand-Up Paddleboard in Mount Pleasant?

There are two main places to rent a stand-up paddleboard in Mount Pleasant. You can either rent from Nature Adventures on the north side of the creek or Coastal Expeditions, which is located next to the Shem Creek Public Boat Landing. Both of these outfitters offer guided SUP tours in Mount Pleasant on Shem Creek as well.

Can I Rent a Stand-Up Paddleboard at the Beach in Charleston?

In addition to renting a stand-up paddleboard in Mount Pleasant on Shem Creek, you can also rent a SUP at the beach. There are beach rental companies at Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach, and Edisto Beach. You can either rent a SUP for the day; or, if you are spending the week in Charleston, you can reserve a weekly rental for a discounted rate.

Where Can I Paddle My SUP from Mount Pleasant (Shem Creek)?

If you launch your SUP or rent a stand-up paddleboard in Mount Pleasant, you can paddle either direction (or both directions) on Shem Creek. If you head inland, you will weave through the marsh past the docks of waterfront homes. If you head toward the Charleston Harbor—which is the direction most people go—you will pass through the iconic portion of Shem Creek that features prominently in the hit Netflix show Outer Banks, and you can plan to take a break and turn around at the sandbar known as Crab Bank. If you’re renting a SUP, the outfitter can tell you exactly where to go.

Will I See Dolphins Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Mount Pleasant?

There is a good chance that you will see dolphins on Shem Creek when you stand-up paddleboard in Mount Pleasant. While there are no guarantees, dolphins frequent the area, and it definitely is not unusual to see their heads, dorsal fins, and tails breaching the water. Dolphins often travel in groups or with their young; so, if you see one dolphin, you’ll want to keep your eye out for others as well.


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