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Best SUP For A Liveaboard Sailboat


Where The Coconuts Grow is sponsored by TOWER PADDLE BOARDS – A local San Diego company with a worldwide online store. We are proud to partner with this SUP manufacturer that you may have seen on ABC’s Shark Tank. They are based out of our hometown in sunny Southern California and we are happy to show some San Diego LOVE!

With a growing popularity among the cruising community, we saw pictures of the Tower iSUPs on several other blogs during the months we spent outfitting our boat. It wasn’t until the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show in 2013 that we became interested in actually buying one. After seeing the boards up close and personal, we decided we needed not one, but TWO 9’10” Adventurer iSUPs! It’s a good thing because we use them all the time now that we’re out cruising around. Click here to read about our first adventure on the paddleboards in the Bahamas.

Now that we’ve had some time to play around with our iSUPs, we’d like to share our experiences with you about the PROS and CONS of buying an Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (iSUP) while living on a sailboat. Check out our Tower Paddle Board review:


– Rigidity

There were two blocks placed underneath each end of an Adventurer 9’10″ inflatable SUP at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. Amazed at the rigidity, I called Peter over to test it out.  It’s designed to hold up to 300lbs when properly inflated and Peter had no trouble keeping his balance while trying to bounce up and down on the center of the board. In the water, the rigidity proves to be just as reliable as long as it’s inflated properly.

– Inflatable

The best part about buying an inflatable SUP is that they roll up nicely. While aware of the long passages we had planned, it was impractical to purchase more gear that would need to be strapped on deck so the fact that these iSUPs can be deflated and stowed neatly in our forward cabin while under way was a major selling point for us. If we are at anchor for awhile, we leave the boards inflated and stowed on deck. On short day sails, the boards are fine on deck, but when we are passagemaking, the boards are deflated and stowed in our forward cabin.

– Size

Tower offers various sizes of inflatable SUPs and several other options for their fiberglass boards. Even at 6′ tall Peter felt comfortable with the 9’10” board instead of the larger 14′ inflatable board. The 9’10” Adventurer iSUP is just small enough for me to carry on shore and to lift up and over the lifelines while deploying or bringing it back on board our boat. It’s also big enough to remain stable on the water while carrying a bunch of gear.

– Accessories

Tower offers a ton of accessories designed specifically to fit their boards. We have attached a Safari Pak to one of our boards for carrying our snorkel and fishing gear. The other board has plenty of room left for Betsy to ride along for an afternoon paddle. All the essentials are available like a pump, adjustable paddle, leashes, extra D-ring hooks, spare fins, fin bolts and traction pads. If you think you’re good enough to not need a leash, at the very least attach some sort of line to the board to be able to secure it to something while not in use but still in the water. We have leashes on both boards but we really only use them to secure the boards to the side of our boat or when visiting friends :)

Boards can be purchased individually or in packages that include the pump and an adjustable paddle. While we purchased the board only, not the package, we still recommend getting the package if you want to be ready to paddle right out of the box. Our inflatable dinghy pump had the same attachment fitting as Tower’s so we thought we didn’t need to spend the extra money on a second pump. Now we wish we had bought Tower’s pump made especially for their boards because our pump lets out too much air as it is being disconnected.

We ended up purchasing paddles with fiberglass handles from another company during a Cyber Monday sale but Tower now offers very nice fiberglass paddles (and other materials) on their site for those interested in upgrading their paddle.

– Convenience

Our favorite part about having two iSUPs on board is that they are so much easier to deploy than our dinghy. We can easily drop a paddle board in the water to go visit a neighboring boat in an anchorage, or take a walk on the beach, or check out a snorkel spot that is farther away than we want to swim. Peter has even taken one of the boards to check us in at Customs and Immigration after a long passage instead going to the hassle of dropping our dinghy and motor.

– Exercise

Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a fantastic way to get in shape. It uses core muscles for balance, upper body as well as leg strength. Access to land may not always be available but in a calm anchorage we can always paddle around for a little exercise. On a windy or choppy day it adds an extra level of challenge to stay standing. For the more adventurous types, some people enjoy SUP yoga and surfing!!


A Tower inflatable SUP costs several hundred dollars less than a regular board, and often much less than competitor inflatable boards. Tower frequently offers online sale pricing so be sure to check back often! **


Domestic orders over $250 or that include a paddle board qualify for free shipping! Shipping is fast and their customer service is exceptional. Shipping is also available worldwide for a fee.



– Fins

Two of the fins remain fixed. The larger center fin on our board must be removed in order to roll the iSUP back up into a nice space-saving bundle because the inflator valve is located at the head of the board. This has since been redesigned and the new Tower boards have the inflator valve at the foot of the board making it easy to start rolling from the head and leave the fin attached. Our boards came with fin screws to attach the center fin which eventually began to rust after just a few months in salt water, even after rinsing with fresh water after every use. The head on the bolt has very shallow grooves making it extremely difficult to tighten or loosen the bolt. The bolt is also easily dropped and may bounce off the deck going overboard – OOPS! Tower also took note of this design flaw and has since replaced the fin screws with plastic fasteners attached with a loop. Problem solved!

– Lack of D-Rings

The board only comes with one D-ring on each end. Additional D-rings or a Safari Pak must be purchased if  you want to attach a bungee cord to the front of the board for carrying gear. They are cheap to buy more but take note before making your purchase to avoid the hassle of ordering twice.

– Discoloration

The glue that binds the PVC seems together begins to turn yellow after just a short while of sun exposure.  This isn’t a Tower-exclusive issue though… any glue used on PVC, such as our dinghy, will become discolored with UV exposure. It’s only a cosmetic flaw but it sure was nice when the board was sparkling white :) After two years in the sun, its hardly noticeable anymore, though it does happen.

– Handle

The webbing installed as a handle in the center of our boards has since disintegrated with UV damage and completely ripped off both boards. Again, Tower took note of this issue and has engineered way better handles out of more durable material for all their new boards. Lucky for everyone else!

After factoring in all of the Pros and Cons, we think the Tower Adventurer iSUP is the best SUP for a living on a sailboat!

**If you or anyone you know is interested in purchasing products from Tower Paddle Boards, PLEASE consider using one of our affiliate links above. Just like many other bloggers, we are part of Tower’s Affiliate Program which tracks where their sales are referred from. Simply access Tower Paddle Boards by clicking through from the links above first. Any subsequent products you search for on Tower’s website during that same internet session will help us out when you complete your purchase. It’s no additional cost to you and it will add a very nice chunk of commission into our cruising fund keeping us afloat for just a little longer. We truly appreciate your support!


Take a look at some of the amazing adventures we’ve had so far:

We go fishing…


We take Betsy for ‘doggie paddle’ sessions…


We play bumper boards seeing who can stay on their board the longest…


We explore caves…


We paddle to secluded beaches…


We race…


We paddle to the best snorkeling spots…


And we cool off…


A special thanks to Mom for capturing some great photos of us playing on our Tower Paddle Boards!!

If you’re interested in further reading, our friend Carolyn has a couple great articles about SUP Paddle Maintenance and how to introduce your dog to SUPing!


We are PROUD to share these awesome products and services with our readers. There are so many different solutions out there for everything we could possibly need, but these are the solutions that work for us.

We gladly accept discounts or samples when a company feels generous enough to support our cause. In return we support the manufacturer or local service by sharing their links and writing about our experience with them. We only seek out sponsorship and affiliate programs from products and services we actually WANT to use and likewise only accept offers for products or services that we WILL use.

We are not paid for any reviews we write or feedback we provide. We simply like to spread the word and share great experiences we have had that could also bring joy to others.

**If you’re in the market for any of our favorite products, please consider using one of our Tower or Amazon Affiliate links!

Paddleboarding and The Blue Hole anchored off White Cay



It was a 19nm sail down to White Cay where we ducked in to set anchor. Peter almost missed the turn as we surfed the boat through the cut. It was pretty clear that it was too shallow to go forward through the next part so we followed the breadcrumbs on the chartplotter from the previous owner in to a sharp turn to starboard and settled in next to another sailboat.

Peter and I took the dogs to shore with the dinghy. There were many small islands and little tiny beaches but not much sand around the islands. Mostly lava rock and no shells. We watched the sunset from our private beach then went to say hello to another ketch anchored nearby.



We got back and had the rests of the snapper caught the day before. It was a rough and rolly anchorage because there was so much current being pushed through from two different locations. That night we swung all the way around over and over. We kept the mizzen up to hopefully point into the wind but the current kept swinging us in circles.

Tuesday 2.18.14 first thing in the morning Gunner told us he needed to go potty and as soon as we got him to the Astroturf on the aft deck, he went pee right away!! Old dogs can learn new tricks!

Leah wanted to go for an adventure on the paddleboards so Peter helped finish getting them ready. We are missing the screw and nut that holds the fin on so he secured it with a zip-tie instead. I was extremely leery of drifting away from the boat with just the paddles. The current was wicked and the night before the guys had trouble swimming back to the boat while carrying their dive gear. As long as the guys followed us in the dinghy for the first part of the paddling I decided to give it a shot.

I had no idea how calm and beautiful it was about to be once we got around the point where the waves were breaking! Finally we were able to move from our knees to standing up and then we paddled through the crystal blue green waters. This really is the stuff dreams are made of.




There were sting rays and bright blue fish swimming under us in the sandy shallows. We saw a few turtles too.



Peter and Josh went back to get the dogs in the dinghy. When they got back to us, I got Betsy out for her first time on a paddleboard! She is such a good water dog :) We weren’t ready to try it with Gunner yet. He was feeling much better but we figured he just might not have the strength yet for something as crazy as that.





After a bit of doggy paddling we got towed over on the paddleboards to the trail that leads to the Blue Hole of Hoffmans Cay.


The four of us and the dogs hiked up the trail until we could see the big hole in the middle of the island. Its something like 600 feet deep and connects to the ocean so its all salt water. We heard Jacques Cousteau discovered it many moons ago.

Peter jumped off the cliff into the deep blue hole and the rest of us climbed down a little further. It was amazing! The edge just dropped off into a deep abyss.


There was a cave like area that had been worn away and tucked up underneath, completely undisturbed in the sand, was written “Journey.” I knew it must have been left by our friends aboard S/V Journey who arrived there just a couple weeks before us. Sailing Journey, we’re right behind you!!


Betsy and Gunner went swimming with the boys and then we hiked back out.






We headed back to the boat then checked out the beach closest to us. Peter and Josh took their Hawaiian slings over to the outside of the island and tried again for some dinner. Peter got one lobster and one unknown species of fish. When we finally filleted it up later that night we discovered the fish had some sort of parasite inside so we tossed the whole thing overboard :( We BBQ’d chicken instead with a tasty little lobster appetizer. Still a pretty good meal for living on the hook!

** Like many other cruisers, we are part of the Tower Paddleboard Affiliate Program. If you decide you want one of these awesome iSUPs too then please help us out and order one by first clicking on the ad banner on the right side our website. Just like the amazon link, if you click through from our site first, we get a percentage of the sale and that helps us stay afloat to enjoy all these amazing adventures!



IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING… We are PROUD to share these awesome products and services with our readers. There are so many different solutions out there for everything we could possibly need, but these are the solutions that work for us.

This post may contain information about a product sponsorship. We gladly accept discounts or samples when a company feels generous enough to support our cause. In return we support the manufacturer or local service by sharing their links and writing about our experience with them. We only seek out sponsorship and affiliate programs from products and services we actually WANT to use and likewise only accept offers for products or services that we WILL use. We are not paid for any reviews we write or feedback we provide. We simply like to spread the word and share great experiences we have had that could also bring joy to others.


**If you’re in the market for any of our favorite products, please consider using one of our Amazon Affiliate product links. Just access Amazon by clicking through from the right-hand sidebar on our website first and any subsequent products you search for during that same internet session will help us out when you complete your purchase. It’s no additional cost to you and puts a small percentage in our cruising kitty. We appreciate your support!

Dreaming of Davits


There are few things our boat didn’t come equipped with, and davits was one of them. A lot of boats have really nice custom stainless steel davit systems off the stern to hold their dinghies out of the water. Not a big deal though, this just means we get to hoist the dinghy up onto the bow when we want to take it out of the water. To us, its a luxury we don’t need right now. It would cost a pretty penny to fabricate a custom davit system for the Mary Christine.

Of course we had to do a couple exploratory fishing trips when we first bought our new vehicle, but then we had to get it out of the salt water ASAP. Even just a few days floating around in this marina was enough for sea life to start growing on the bottom. The algae was super slimy and there were tiny little barnacles starting to grow.

First we had to rig up a makeshift 3-point bridle to provide a little extra support instead of just using a single D-ring for the lifting. Next, we hooked up our main halyard to the D-ring hooks and started to winch the dinghy up out of the water along the side of the boat. The dinghy is roughly 110lbs (with the aluminum floor boards in) so having that winch makes it way easier to raise it up.


A little soap, water and couple of deck brushes took off a majority of the slime.




Up Up and Away! Peter got the dinghy up and over the lifelines while I helped guide it into position on the foredeck. That thing looks frickin HUGE when its up in the air!!

We found an old tannish brown sail cover at the used marine trading store and it just so happened to be long enough and wide enough when opened up all the way to cover our massive 12′ tender. It may not look pretty and some of the edges are a little torn but it’ll do the job!! It was only $20 and it will help protect the PVC from the wicked UV rays that we’re going to be in for a long time. Without some sort of protection, the PVC just doesn’t last very long at all, so we’ve been told. For now, our camo tie down straps will be holding it down. We’ve taken her out in 20knot winds this past weekend and didn’t have a problem at all with the cover coming loose. It’ll work until it doesn’t work anymore ;)


(Did anyone notice we’re getting closer to the waterline? :) After we fill up the fuel tanks and get all the provisioning before setting sail to the Bahamas we should be sitting right at the dark green stripe!)

New Vehicle


Our new secondary means of transportation is finally ready to rock n roll!!

We shopped for a few weeks for a dinghy and motor on Craigslist. I just LOVE Craigslist!! We have sold a combined $6000 worth of stuff back in San Diego not including motorcycles and vehicles. When looking for something specific, it’s the first place we look, and usually someone has just what we need!

When we’re out cruising on a sailboat we need something reliable to get to and from shore. When you live on a boat, a dinghy becomes your “car”. We didn’t need anything real fancy or new, but we did want it to be reliable. As with everything, that’s hard to come by for a reasonable price, let alone finding a steal of a deal.

A couple of important factors were considered: length, material, matched rating for dinghy vs motor, weight, floor type and functionality.

Peter wanted a dink that could hold four people (when we have visitors), two dogs, fishing gear, and/or provisions from a local market. This of course means we need a dinghy that is rated for an engine capable of hauling a load like that.

We wanted to try the aluminum floor since we will have LOTS of fish hooks, plus dogs aboard and need something that will be the least likely to be damaged from hooks or 32 sharp protruding puppy toenails.

PVC material is easier to come by, but Hypalon material is what everyone buys if you are going to be in the tropics. The sun doesn’t warp it or melt the glue as fast and it holds up to the salt better too. This of course would mean spending more money.

We originally wanted a 4-stroke motor but the lighter 2-strokes started looking better and better when we considered having to lift it off to lock it up on our stern every night in the islands. There are indeed thieves who will come swipe off anything that’s easy to grab, especially outboard motors.

We settled on an Advanced Inflatable PVC 12′ (6 person) dinghy with a
Mercury 15hp 2-stroke outboard motor. Anything less than 10′ typically isn’t rated for a 15hp motor and we for sure wanted the extra power of a 15hp. The motor is almost 15 years old but the previous owner kept it meticulously maintained, it looked brand new inside! It’s not too noisy and it’s less than 75lbs which means even I can lift it up or down to Peter when we take it on or off.

12′ of dinghy isn’t exactly ideal for us since we don’t have davits off the stern, and that means it gets hauled onto the bow with a halyard. Once we get it up there, our huge foredeck is reduced to zilch :( Less room for the puppies when they are on guard and less room for us to move about. The good news is that it’s a roll-up with three chambers so we can let some air out of the bow and partially roll it up when we are underway. The aluminum floor is awesome, super sturdy and the inflatable keel seems to help keep us very steady. Did I mention its a nice pretty white color?

The real reason we closed the deal is because of the price. We basically paid for the motor and got the inflatable for free. Turns out the dinghy was defective and was made with a bad batch of glue. It was only put in the water three times before we purchased it and it looked okay, but within a couple days of having it in the marina all the handles, rub rail and transom came off. We kind of had a feeling it would be easier to exchange it than repair the rub rail that had already started coming off the day we bought it, but this just confirmed it. Under warranty, we just had to drive to Ft Lauderdale to get an even newer one. Lucky for us, we were going there anyway to go to the Boat Show!! Now we have a brand new 2013 model, right out of the box and still under warranty, which retails for $1200. Just the motor is worth what we paid for the whole package so we’re pretty stoked. It’s not Hypalon, but we figure we can just beat this one up for the first year or so until we need to buy a new one, then upgrade to a more durable material. The tropics will surely do a number on it but we don’t care so much since it was basically free :)

New toys are always fun and this one seems to be treating us pretty well. The dogs haven’t been for a ride yet but we hope they will like it too!!