Standup paddle boards tend to be pretty big and a little awkward to carry. So unlike typical surfboards, you can't always expect to throw them under your arm and start walking. So in this segment, we're going to take a look at some of the better ways to carry your standup paddle board.
Before we look at specific techniques for carrying a board, there are a couple of things that are worth mentioning. First off, whenever you're lifting your board, you need to protect your back by bending your knees and keeping your back straight. Keep in mind that your board is going to catch a lot of wind when you pick it up. So make sure you note the direction the wind is coming from and how hard it's blowing before you pick up your board.
The most basic technique for carrying your standup paddle board is using the carry handle that comes standard on almost all boards. The handle is generally centered on the board so it's balanced when you pick it up. Some handles are even contoured to make them more comfortable to hold. Remember that if there's any wind, it's going to really push your board around. Make sure it's clear around you and that you're holding your board on then downwind side.
For carrying your board a longer distance, to load it on a vehicle or if your board doesn't have a carry handle, you can use the head carry. The advantage of the head carry is that it disperses the weight throughout your whole body instead of putting it all on one arm. But the trick is getting it to your head to begin with. The best way to do this is to lift the tail of the board and walk your hands along the rails until your head is near the center. With your paddle in one hand, you'll then grab both rails and tilt the board into a balanced position on your head.
If you find it uncomfortable to carry the board on your head, you can slide the board to one side so that the rail sits in the crook of your elbow and the board weighs against your shoulder. You can actually get the board into this shoulder-carrying position even more quickly by grabbing the carry handle with one hand and placing your other hand on the bottom of the board. You can then swing the board up and onto your shoulder. The down side of this shoulder-carrying technique is that it blocks your view on one side and the board is in a position to catch more wind.