If you’ve ever arrived at your paddle destination all excited for a workout or a surf with you buddies, only to realize someone doesn’t have a fin screw, then this is for you. It happens – we forget things. Things break. But keeping a board “first aid kit” or a “save a session” kit in the car can be the difference between a fun time and a disappointing inconvenience.
Here’s a list of items that I keep in the car for those just in case moments. For the smallish things, I keep them in an orange Pelican Case so it’s easy to to spot, and grab and go if I am changing cars or riding with someone. Most of this is SUP specific but puka patches and some of the other items work for OCS and surf skis as well.
1. Fin Screws: I keep several in a little plastic baggie. I prefer the ones that don’t require a screw driver, but I keep those on hand, too, just because fin boxes can be tricky.
2. Extra fin washers: well, duh. These get lost quite easily during an fin install.
3. Small screwdriver/multi-tool: you never know when you or someone else might need one.
4. FCS Fin key AND Screws: for those times when you are using a board with side bite fins, or your buddy has a board with FCS screws. In fact, throw two of these in your kit because they have a habit of going missing all on their own!
5. Extra fin(s): These may not fit in my save a session box but I keep at least one spare fin in the car for that time when I, or someone I am with forgets and shows up ready to paddle without one.
6. Inner Tube Tire pieces: these are great to use as shims if a fin fits loosely in a fin box.
7. Puka Patches: for the unexpected ding. I keep both the smaller and larger sizes on hand. Along with clear, heavy-duty tape too. Most dings occurs when you are transporting the board, so having these at the ready in case you drop your board unloading, you won’t necessarily be stopped from paddling.
8. Sandpaper: to help with the application of the puka patch.
9. Epoxy kit: Puka patches are great for pressure dings, but for something more complex, say a fin box “injury”, Or nose or tail damage you might want something more.
10. Leash plugs/strings: in the event that a leash string breaks, or someone just needs one, having a handful of these guys in your kit, ready, willing and able to attach a leash is always a good idea. Because we never paddle without a leash.
Other things I always have in the car include:
A. Spare leash or two, in the event mine breaks or someone needs one.
B. Spare paddle.
C. Paddle wax
D. Rubber mallet (for fins that don’t want to come out of the fin box)
E. Extra PFD in case someone doesn’t have one.
F. Zip ties and duct tape.
G. Extra straps and extra pads.
For the OC or Surfski, I keep an extra rudder in the car just in case, rudder cable, extra tire inner tubs for shims, extra spring pins for the iakos, among other things.
One thing that can save you a lot of grief is to get in the habit of checking your gear before and after paddle sessions. Check everything for normal wear and tear and any surprise dings or damage. Replace or repair anything that’s obvious immediately. And check your session kit, too, to make sure you have what you need. Replace missing items asap.