There are many activities where you might want your paddleboard to remain stationary on the water. The obvious solution is to buy an anchor specially designed for paddleboards. But how do they work?
To anchor a paddleboard, you just have to drop the anchor off the back of the board to the desired depth and then clip it to the back of the board. The process is exactly the same as a larger vessel. When ready to move on, you just lift the anchor up, wrap up the rope, and store it away again.
The rest of this article will give you all the information you need on what a paddleboard is, how it differs from a standard boat anchor, and what different uses or activities you might want to bring one along for.
What Exactly Is a Paddleboard Anchor?
First, let’s establish exactly what a paddleboard anchor is. No big revelations here; it is just what it sounds like. It is an anchor for a stand-up paddleboard that is attached to a length of line that you can use to keep your SUP in the same place in the water.
They are small, as far as anchors go, and can range anywhere from one pound to over 10 pounds. Many anchors will have multiple arms to “grab” the bottom. Others will be heavier but not have enough arms.
Because of its ability to really hook onto the bottom, the multiple pronged anchors are well suited to areas with higher wind and currents. That snagging ability is excellent when setting the anchor, but it can cause problems when trying to retrieve it.
Anchors that only use their weight to keep your board stable are better for calmer situations like SUP Yoga.
How to Anchor a Paddleboard
Using a SUP anchor is pretty basic. For the simple, weighted anchor, you just drop it to the bottom and clip it to the rear of your board. When you are ready to move on, you just hoist it back onto your board. These types of anchors rarely get snagged. If they do, It’s usually the line and not the anchor causing the problem.
Grappling-type anchors are, in my opinion, better for a sup. You can use a lighter anchor with better results holding the bottom, especially in harsher conditions.
On a sandy bottom, a grappling anchor usually comes up easily. On a rocky bottom or one with dead vegetation, quite often, they get hung up. When this happens, you need to paddle at least directly over the anchor or continue past where you placed it to have it released.
How Exactly Do You Attach an Anchor to Your Sup?
I use a carabiner to clip mine onto the leash loop on the rear of my board. Make sure you get one that is made of quality aluminum, like this one. Otherwise, it will quickly rust in wet environments.
What Size Anchor Should I Get?
You do not need an overly large anchor. A small one around 8 pounds is ideal for most situations. I recommend getting one that has a length of chain between the rope and the anchor, like this one. It allows the anchor to lie more flat on the bottom and just makes it stay better.
Now, let’s go through 5 activities where you might need a paddleboard anchor:
Generally, you will need a paddleboard anchor when you;
- Are fishing in moving water
- Participate in SUP Yoga
- Take pictures
1. Using a SUP Anchor to Fish
So, you’ve found a nice spot where you know the fish are biting, but It’s in a place where the current is flowing pretty well. What do you do? You could drift over the spot with rod in hand, and paddle at the ready by your feet. But this takes a lot of effort if you are moving quickly.
What I like to do is set my anchor upstream of my fishing spot. Once the anchor is holding, I feed the anchor line out until the current brings me over the fish.
Once I have positioned myself, I can just hang my feet over the side and fish my spot at my leisure.
If the fish aren’t biting, you can just use the rope to pull yourself and your board back over the anchor. Release it and move on to the next spot.
2. Using a SUP Anchor to do SUP Yoga
I don’t do SUP Yoga. Heck, I don’t do floor yoga, but I like to do some ab workouts on my board—either way, both activities are made easier with an anchor.
I have actually watched a group of people try to have a SUP Yoga class who weren’t using anchors. I got a pretty good chuckle out of it. You see, they worked and worked paddling into the wind to find a “perfect” spot. It would have been perfect if they had had anchors.
It was tucked into a little cove, out of the Sunday boat traffic. They were momentarily surrounded by marsh grasses and nicely isolated. I was back in the same grasses looking for some Redfish to catch.
When the group stopped and tried to circle the teacher, the wind would blow them either into the grass, or the tide, which was falling, would pull them out of their little cove. It was kind of funny watching a person doing a downward dog swiftly drift past me amidst the tall grasses.
If they had anchors, they would have been able to do their yoga thing without having to paddle back into the wind after every pose. They only got through a few minutes before giving up. They did have the advantage of the wind to their backs on the paddle home.
I guessed they finished their session on the beach and got some SUP anchors before leaving the island.
Just in case you want to read more about the ab exercises I do on my SUP, click here. I go to that same cove (haven’t seen that group again) and get a good workout with my anchor holding my place.
3. Using a SUP Anchor to Take Pictures
I take a lot of pictures for this website. Unfortunately, my camera is not waterproof, and it doesn’t float. I consider myself pretty stable on my SUP, but I get kind of shaky when I’m looking through a viewfinder.
When a photo presents itself, the first thing I do is to slip the anchor into the water. I then drop to my knees to lower my center of gravity, and then I look through the camera.
The anchor allows me to be stable, and I can also set up my tripod with the reduced risk of having it go overboard.
4. Using a SUP Anchor to Relax
This is a big one. I love to take a whole day and go out onto the water. I will pack a lunch, bring a book, and head out.
I like to explore most of the day, but when I’m tired or hungry, I will take a break, and I like to take my breaks while I’m on my SUP. I will find a tree overhanging the river and just set my anchor there.
At this point, I don’t have to worry about floating into the shore or a boat or a swimmer. I can relax. I can read, or eat, or I have been known to take a little cat nap right there on my paddleboard. And, I still haven’t rolled over into the water…yet.
5. Using a SUP Anchor to Snorkel
There are some great places along the NC coast to go snorkeling. I have found a few right near my home. The thing is, you don’t want your board to blow away while you are looking at all those cute little sea creatures.
Setting an anchor is a great way to have a place to swim back to after your masked exploration. It wouldn’t hurt to put a “Diver Down” flag on your board, either.
Let’s face it; a stand-up paddleboard is meant to be paddled. Right? I mean, you don’t go through the trouble of inflating your SUP, strapping it to the roof of your car, lugging it down a path to the water just to sit on it.
Therefore, a SUP anchor is not something that you will take out every time, But if you plan on participating in any of the activities above, I suggest you take one
Just make sure you find one that fits your needs. The one I recommended above is a great all-purpose model. However, if you want to read more on the subject, check out the article I wrote, completely dedicated to discussing paddleboard anchors. Read it here.
Thanks for reading!
I have lived near the coast most of my life and I love all types of watersports. Stand-up Paddleboarding is my favorite way to get out on the water, stay fit, and have fun. I was the founder of FitFunSUP.com