• Nicola Todd-Macnaughton

Taking your SUP abroad

Ever thought about taking your own SUP on holiday abroad? In this blog, David Ross shares his experience of taking two iSUPs to Florida via British Airways. Read on for the full lowdown…

David said:

In the past when I’ve hired SUPs on holiday they have been expensive, old and heavy. So I was keen to take my iSUP on a family holiday to the Gulf Coast of Florida.

We flew from Glasgow with British Airways on the way out and American Airlines on the way back. As neither airline explicitly references travelling with ISUPs on their website (although they do list some weird and wonderful sports equipment), I contacted them by email before travelling to determine rules and cost. Both confirmed that if the dimensions of the board and paddle were within their standard hold luggage size and weight allowance then we could take them as part of our standard allocation without incurring any additional charge. This was great news as the cost of additional luggage can be over £100 per item.

The total weight of a board, paddle and pump was 17kg, which meant that with a 23kg allowance we had 6kg spare for clothes and other items. As the remaining 6kg would be a pretty challenging limit, we made full use of the carry-on allowance and were able to take wheeled cases. This meant, with some careful packing, we were able to take enough gear for our trip.

Despite having the fantastic Red Paddle Co bags (which are fractionally taller than the prescribed maximum height for BA at over 90 cm) we decided to use black samsonite holdalls as they had enough volume, were within the baggage size allowance and could accommodate the additional 6kg of stuff.

From the start to the end of the trip we had absolutely no issues travelling with the iSUP and made full use of it both at the beach. As it is inflatable we also packed it into our hire car on a few occasions to explore inland waterways – not something we could have done with a solid hire board.

All in all taking our own iSUP was definitely worthwhile – all that was required was a little careful packing and a good set of baggage weighing scales. Details as follows:

Board: Red Paddle Co 10’6 Ride MSL

Paddle: Red Paddle Co Carbon Nylon 3 piece

Hold Luggage: Samsonite wheeled holdall 90cm

Cabin Luggage: Eastpak Tranverz S wheeled case.


· Position the paddle at an angle across the bag to make as short as possible and tape foam over each end of the paddle sections to protect them

· Use a couple of extra compression straps or belts to get the board as flat as possible.

· If travelling with more than one board share a pump to provide more space

· In the USA you are required to have a life vest with you on your SUP so take a belt style PFD – but get permission from your airline as they contain a gas canister

· Take a board lock so that you can store them (in the shade) safely without having to deflate after each visit to the beach.