en-SUP with dog and Dog Pad
Anne and I do not have a dog. We ride tours with the SUP, fast and enduring, also with luggage. We know what it's like to ride with 20 kilos of payload. We don't know what it's like when this payload suddenly moves, jumps off the board, runs from front to back, through between your own legs and back again ...
But we have intensively exchanged with people who SUP with their dog. Or who at least try it 😊 Many come to us in the store and want a board with which they can paddle together with the dog. And we notice: as different as the dogs and people are to this, as different are their experiences, opinions and wishes on the subject.
The wish that unites all is: the dog should stay still, stay in the assigned place and enjoy the ride, especially if it is big, please! A paddler attaches for this reason even a laundry basket in front on her board and places her dog in it. Because he loves the water so much that he jumps in permanently. To get him back on his place is laborious, especially since he immediately jumps in again as soon as it is done ... Others find that the claws leave clearly visible marks on the board and on the pad material. Which is of course a pity with a new board. Or the dog slips on the wet, slippery material and finds no grip if the pad material does not go to the front of the nose.
„You talkin' about me?“
Since this joint activity of man and dog is very suitable due to the nature of the matter, equally timed locomotion speed, we have thought about a solution. It is clear to us that with all the different characteristics of man and dog, there is no solution that is exactly right for everyone and solves all problems.
But the "Dog Pad" seems to be quite a good approach:
A dog is always looking for a cozy place, right? What if you simply set him up on the board and that also protects the board? That was the initial spark to the "Dog Pad": The pad is sewn from sturdy, washable Cordura. It is padded. The edges are neatly hemmed. The length is 120 cm. On the bottom are hooks that can be attached to D-rings mounted on the board as well as the handle.
The Dog Pad is perfectly matched to the Lite Venture Inflatable SUP "ULTRA": this board has a total of 9 D-rings at the front. The pad extends from the tip to just before the area of the standing surfaces. Here, the pad is stretched tight on the handle and sits well on the board overall. The board itself is optimized as a sporty touring board that allows for fast touring, but remains stiff and stable even with higher loads. The board comes in two lengths 11'6" x 31" and 12'6 "x30" - on both boards the pad fits perfectly on the front and covers the area of the board that is not covered with pad material.
So much for the theory. We tested it: with Cooper, a pretty big hunk at 43 kilos, 3 years old. Cooper already has SUP experience. He probably doesn't always want to get on the board with the same enthusiasm, but this time he lets himself be convinced with treats. The dog pad seems to suit him, at least he takes a seat right on it and elegantly drapes his long front legs over each other. His look says: All right, let's put it down 😎
And the team sets off. After Cooper's owner Valerie gets used to the board for a short time, it really picks up speed. The little animal stays on the pad until the team lands on the shore again.
We eagerly await the feedback: maybe the pad helps Cooper stay still on the board? At first it seems to be the case. Somehow it acts as his space blanket, doesn't it? At full speed, however, he doesn't want to lie so far forward, because the water splashes up at the bow, he doesn't like that and therefore pulls himself further back towards the center of the board. With his size, he then no longer lies completely on the dog pad, but partly on the foot pad of the board. With his weight, this position also stabilizes the board better, because the center of gravity is more in the middle.
Conclusion: Basically, the Dog Pad is a good solution, because it covers the uncomfortable D-rings and the bungee, forms a flat, padded surface, protects the board and does not slip during paddling. Now, does the pad contribute to whether the dog stays where you want him to stay? That will certainly depend on the nature of the dog and can not be proven for all.
A note on the Board Lite Venture ULTRA: The pads of some boards cover the entire board, in this case a supplementary "Dog Pad" is then not absolutely necessary. Since a continuous glued pad also makes the board heavier and is generally not needed by the driver at this point, we have firmly glued pad material in the ULTRA deliberately nor used where the driver needs it: in the area of the footprint and on the kickpad.
The board can be moved quickly and is stable after a little familiarization. If you usually ride a wider board, you will have to get used to the new balance feeling, but you can paddle faster and with the Lite Venture ULTRA you have a board that allows you to paddle really sporty even without a dog. However, it comes with such a large dog like Cooper already at the limit. Who is less athletic or has a heavy dog that behaves more restless than our test candidate should try it in peace and compare with a wider board.
And what happens to Anne after all this experience? Through the many positive and also funny encounters with dogs and their owners, she comes but again and again on the dog itself and now actually flirts with such an animal. Wait and see - maybe one of us will soon be on the road with six paws on the board ...
Click on the link below to go to the Dog Pad.
And here's the board ULTRA iSUP - the fast touring board that can also carry dogs (or touring luggage) - available in two sizes and three color combinations: