Tagged "How to?"

How to travel on an airplane with your paddle board?

Posted by Rich Price on

Imagine an 8.6ft and a 11.6ft epoxy bamboo paddle board squeezing in a medium sized shuttle bus that is about 5 minutes away from the airport. Can we make it? They said on the phone it would fit on the bus and they could open the back, if needed, to get it done. Cool! 6:30am in the Morning, the day of our flight; Nope! Me: “Hey, you don’t even have an opening in the back of that bus.” Bus driver: “ Let’s hang it out the side door while it’s still dark and hope we don’t get pulled over.” Wow, we are on an adventure now!! …….Seriously, this really happened

Solace flight to PR

In this post, I’ll hit on my overall experience traveling with my two Solace SUP Boards, paddles and other gear flying to Puerto Rico from Ocean City, Maryland. Also of course, how I packed my boards and paddles to avoid damage, airplane fees and getting around once I was there. I couldn’t really find this information all in one place at the time I traveled in October 2013, so hopefully someone can get some nuggets from my amateur writing, but first hand experience.

My trip started with lots of planning for plane tickets, parking, hotel reservations and finding out what it was going to cost to get these boards to where I wanted to be paddling; the warm Puerto Rican sun! I will spotlight some key information that will help you with your trip if your thinking of flying with your own paddle board.

Cardboard wrap rails on Solace SUP


Having a good board bag and size for your board is key. I found you need some looseness or play in your bag for your size board so you have room to put some extra padding material and paddle gear inside. You could skip the extra material part, but it never hurts to have extra padding to keep your gear from rubbing together and scratching. 10mm padded board bags or more are the best for this type of travel.

I had a paddle bag for my paddles and was able to pack these in the board bags. This helped from being charge extra baggage fees and made it easier with less things to carry. The thickness of this wasn’t as important for me since I was putting it in a padded board bag with extra padding.

I used some foam sheets, cardboard, tape and old stand up deck pads to pad the boards. The foam sheets were good for the top deck and bottom of the board. Then I cut card board to fit and wrap the rails and nose. The old deck pads were nice to stick over the packing material on the tail and nose areas as I have heard they can be the most vulnerable. I had some of these packing materials from my manufacturer who makes my boards but you could get card board boxes for free from a grocery store and other packing material online at Uline or in a store like Wal-Mart. Here are some pics from my madness. I’ve also heard you can cut one of those floating noodles that you use for pools to float with in half to wrap around your board. Haven’t tried it on a SUP, but looks like it could work.

These were priceless on our trip. My friend picked us up in a Toyota Corolla with no rack system on it. I usually forget about things like this but thought about it at the last minute before we left thankfully. I purchase some off of Amazon for $60 and it came with the straps and a pump. When folded, it took up less space than a laptop would. I also had a Yakima bra strap system that is also inexpensive and made it extra secure with tie downs that wrap around the nose and tail of the boards and then another strap hooks under the front bumper and runs the length of the boards and hooking under the rear bumper. The inflatable racks do tend to have some movement so I would definitely use some extra tie downs.

Underwater shot of SUP


This was always something I wondered about and have heard so many different answers. I drove 3 hours from OC, MD because the airport was to small to accommodate my large SUP’s and flew out of Washington, D.C. from Reagan International. I recommend getting to the airport early to check in because you never know what obstacles you will run into. Just like my experience from the hotel to the airport at the beginning of this post. Luckily it work out for me and had a cool bus driver!

Unfortunately, stand up paddle boards do not have there own category yet on most airline websites. So I looked at surfboard and windsurf charges and then emailed the airline to clarify. Most did have kayaks/canoes listed and all seemed to not allow these at all.

Here is information on airline’s that I considered on my trip back in 2014 from there own websites below:

JetBlue www.jetblue.com

Information under surfing equipment states:

One surfboard per case and has to be under 100 lbs

$50 per board each way and count as a checked in bag; excess baggage fees apply

No size restriction stated under surfing equipment

Information under Windsurf equipment states:

Maximum 15 ft in length and has to be under 100 lbs

$50 per board each way for domestic and international flights with some areas restricted

The only thing I could find is a second bag fee of $40 and a section that talks about oversized baggage charges but it doesn’t actually give you a fee schedule.

Delta www.delta.com

Information under surfboards states:

$150 per board each way up to 50 lbs

Maximum on 115 inches in length

$100 additional fee if weight is 51-70 lbs each way

Information under windsurf equipment states:

Same as surfboard but adds a maximum length of 115 inches

United www.united.com

These guys actually had paddle boards listed

Information listed:

$100 per board each way for domestic and has to be under 99.9 lbs

$200 for international

Maxiumum of 115 inches in length

I ended up going with JetBlue as they had reasonable plane tickets and board fees to San Juan, Puerto Rico. I did email JetBlue to confirm the cost of $50 each way for my 8.6 ft and the 11.6 ft boards that I was bringing and they said that it was correct that the charge for me would be $100 both ways for the two boards. Sweet! This is what I paid, but keep reading as I think I got lucky.

Now, they did give me a hard time when I checked in at Reagan International and a even harder time when I was coming back from Puerto Rico. In San Juan the attendants gave me a weird look glancing down at the two very long boards and then looking back up at me while shaking their heads and saying “oh, we are going to have to charge you for oversized baggage” or something along those lines. I was nice and talked them up a bit and showed the email from there company confirming the fees of $50 for each board/each way and what I paid to get there from D.C. They said they would honor the pricing this time but I got lucky and the actual fee should of been $125 for each board/each way…..that’s $500 for a round trip, Ouch! It seemed nobody really knew what the fee’s should of been, but a manager came out and confirmed that $125 for each board/each way is what I should count on next time I travel.

Read more →

How to pick the right stand up paddle board? (SUP)

Posted by Rich Price on

Are you in the market for a stand up paddle board but don't know where to start or what size to buy? When looking at all the different shapes and sizes it can be confusing! This is how I felt when looking for my first board. Here are key questions, information and options you should consider below:

Bamboo Solace SUP boards

What shapes and kinds of stand up paddle (SUP) boards are available?

These are the 4 main categories that are trending right now in the best SUP boards below:

  • All around surf/fitness board
  • Surf performance board
  • Touring board with displacement hull nose
  • Elite racing board with displacement hull nose

Bamboo touring-full carbon solace sup

The key things you should ask yourself:

1) How am I going to use the stand up paddle board?

This can be hard to answer. I wanted to try surfing it back where I am from in Ocean City, MD, although I lived in the Washington, DC area at the time, I knew I would be doing more flat water paddling and maybe some fishing from the SUP (stand up paddle) board. Narrowing my search to a all around surf style or touring board with a displacement hull nose made since for me at the time.

2) How much do I weigh?

This is important because you want the board to be able to float you when you are standing still. A board’s volume (length/width/thickness area) dictates the amount of weight it can float properly. The more advanced paddler looks to get away with lesser volume to enhance performance and a beginner will want more volume to maximize stability. It is good to find a balance that works for your skill level and weight like the skill level multiplier chart shows below using a quick trick called The Guild Factor.

Guild Factor

The Guild Factor (GF) was created by Whitney Guild and is a good guide to let you know if a board’s volume would be right for you. Let’s look at the two major things mentioned above:


We converted the kgs measurements to lbs to make it easier. You want to pick your skill level and multiply that with your weight in lbs. This will give you the board volume that you shouldn’t go below because it may be unstable for your skill level and weight. Going higher than the recommended volume is ok. Especially if you think you will have fishing equipment, beer cooler and or your best friend on the board with you!

So, if you are 210lbs x (a beginner) .9 = 189 liters in volume or more for your new board purchase.

Of course tail shape, rail shape and fins can make a difference in stability but to keep it simple, the guide above is a good rule of thumb. Most good retail websites will have some kind of guide or recommendations that caters to their exact board dimensions to help you choose.

3) What is my experience level on a SUP board?

Going for a smaller SUP board can be tempting for your first purchase because it is easier to store and may cost less, but it can be a mistake. It’s all about having fun. If this is your first board, you want to be able to stand up and paddle comfortably in all conditions of wind, chop and the wake from those jet-skiers that come zooming by you. Going too short too early might discourage you early on and then your board is sitting in the corner collecting dust. Dude, who likes to clean? I have had this scenario happen to me with other sports. Have you?

I would recommend an 10’6” length x 30” width or longer size for a first board depending on your weight. This size and larger are good for flat water, fitness, yoga, fishing and there is a 12’ and under class in many racing events. As your experience grows, you will probably gravitate towards one of those niche’s I mentioned above and add a specialized board to your collection in the future.

4) How much am I willing to spend?

This is a good question and something that I struggled with when buying my first board. I have always been a believer in quality but we all have a budget right?

Through research of about 50 websites, a few local retailers and SIMA (Surf Industry Manufacturers Association), the average retail cost of a new stand up paddle board was close to $1,100 usd.

Before I started Solace SUP Boards, I was just like you and stoked to get my first board. I wasn’t looking for the most expensive SUP, but also from past negative experiences in other sports, I wasn’t looking for the cheapest equipment either. Pay attention to what you are getting in the construction, accessories and guarantees with the board to meet the best value for you. We will talk more in future blogs about construction types.(that could be a long one!)

5) Where am I going to store my board?

Storing your board seems to always be an after thought and can be a challenge. We warn you that you shouldn’t let the storage worry dictate the size board you purchase. After all, if you buy something too small to start, you might get discourage and that’s no fun :( Here are some suggestions/solutions below:

You can find some easy to install wall mount racks and show your board off like artwork in a game room or extra bedroom wall.

Most local SUP board and kayak rental places are offering a storage service for a monthly fee. I have seen an average of $25 per month for this service. This is great since they are usually located on the water where your paddling anyway and you don’t have to worry about transporting your board every time. Man, ding repair can add up!

Do you have a friend or family member that has room? You could let them use the board for letting you keep your SUP at their house. This could save you money and be a win/win scenario. Maybe just a little more wear and tear on the board.

If this information has helped you, please share with your friends and follow our blog. . If you feel you can add something, we encourage comments/questions below. We paddle so we love to talk SUP. Our whole goal is to positively grow stand up paddle boarding and share the stoke!

We will be traveling to Puerto Rico soon for a SUP adventure and will document in upcoming blogs of how to travel with your stand up paddle board (SUP)

See you out on the water.


Read more →

First Time Stand Up Paddling

Posted by Rich Price on

Your first time stand up paddling can be intimidating if your not familiar with your gear and or venturing out by yourself. Most rental places that I remember trying early on would give you any board and say have at it. The one thing that stands out is having my paddle blade turned the wrong way, which is a common mistake. Not until I started paddling with other stand up paddlers did I realize to turn my blade the other way.

Here is Solace SUP's team member, Sarah Alderson, giving some insight on stand up paddling for the first time below. She is a SUP Yoga instructor in the Atlanta, Georgia area at Soulful Yoga & SUP .
Sarah A._SolaceTeam


“What is this thing called SUP, that I keep hearing about”, you say to yourself. SUP is in a technical term Stand Up Paddle Board surfing ‘Hoe he’e Nalu in the Hawaiian language; a sport as an offshoot of surfing, originating from the ancient Polynesian times. A lot of people think of SUP as another form of surfing, and that there’s no way they could do it, “That just sounds way too hard, I couldn’t do that.” However; that is farther from the truth, and anyone can enjoy being on a board. From a personal standpoint, someone that just experienced it for the first time a year ago, does not work out nor has great co-ordination….fell in love the first time and can’t get enough of it! Just getting out on the water, paddling out in a seated position,sometimes anchoring and just laying there enjoying the feeling of the sun on my skin, the wind and the water on my toes does wonders on my mind and body. Other days I get out there paddle the page and do a little yoga; and that is a fun and challenging experience that changes the way you look and feel about yoga; and anyone can do it.

What I’m saying is that anyone; any age, size, shape, strengths, weaknesses and all can get themselves on a board and experience something amazing! As a friend and yoga teacher of mine always says; “my goal is to make yoga and SUP accessible to everyone and make it so that everyone can partake in it and be there to support them so that they receive the amazing benefits: mind and body, of what yoga and SUP can do for you.”

There are various types of boards out there; brands, materials, sizes, shapes, prices and purposes. As you get more into the sport you will learn more about the different benefits andwhat you may like or need for your personal purpose.

Soulful Yoga SUP

Photo Courtesy of Soulful Yoga & SUP

If this is something that you are just trying out for the first time, I would find a place that either does tours, teaches classes, SUP yoga or even private SUP lessons. This the board and items needed to get out there on the water will all be included in the price. My first experience was through a SUP yoga class they provided everything, walked through all of the steps of how to get on and off the board, safety, basic maneuverability and then we went on with our yoga sequence. I believe that this is the way to go as you will have someone there to physically show you how to do everything, answer questions and support you through your first experience.

Once you find a place that has a lot of experience, training and insurance and then you are able to get the options that you want on your SUP experience; get some friends, make it a group thing- the more the better. When you have someone come along with you, it makes it a lot more fun and then you will feel more comfortable that you have someone there that can fall in with you and make great memories with. So grab a friend and get on a board and you will have an experience that you will never forget.

Sometimes we all need to let go of our ego, step out and try something new, something amazing, connect with nature, connect with friends and really just do something that is good for your mind, body and soul; ‘Hoe he’e Nalu’.

- Sarah Alderson

Read more →