Can I leave my paddle board inflated?
The short answer is yes. If you are planning on leaving your paddle board inflated for a week or two between uses, that is perfectly fine for the health of your inflatable SUP.
If you plan to leave your paddle boards inflated between uses, here are some tips to keep the boards in good condition:
- Extreme heat and cold can damage your board so make sure that you store your board in a place where the air temperature would be livable for a person, even in hot weather. A garage is fine, the inside of a hot van sitting in the Sun is not.
- Make sure that you let the board dry completely to prevent mold growth and store it away from direct sunlight to prevent UV rays from causing sun damage.
- Check that your paddle board is stored securely in a place where it won't be blown away by wind or fall over and damage itself or its surroundings.
How long can you leave an inflatable paddle board inflated?
You can leave your paddle board inflated for as long as you want, but if you plan on keeping it inflated for more than a couple weeks, there are some precautions you should take to make sure that your paddle board stays in great shape:
- First, make sure that you don't store heavy objects on your SUP board. Inflated paddle boards are so sturdy and rigid that it may be tempting to start using it as a shelf. Over time, this can damage your board by leaving holes and marks on your deck pad or even deforming the rocker of your board.
- Second, clean your paddle board before putting it into storage. Leaving mud or sand on your board can permanently stain the board and cause abrasion that will decrease the longevity of your inflatable SUP board. Give your paddle board a quick spray down with fresh water after you use it to avoid these issues. Use a gentle soap if you need to get out any tougher stains.
- Third, as mentioned above, make sure that your inflatable SUP board is fully dry and stored in a dry place. Keep your paddle board away from potentially leaky appliances like a garage fridge, boiler, etc. Even if your board is dry when you put it into storage, it could get wet and moldy from a leak inside your home.
- Fourth, for long term storage, consider letting a little air pressure out of the board. This will help relieve some of the pressure on the seams of the PVC material and can help prevent extra stress if temperature fluctuations cause changes in air pressure over time.
Is it better to deflate paddle boards?
As long as you are taking the steps outlined above, it is perfectly OK to leave your inflatable paddle board inflated between uses or for long term storage.
If you plan on deflating your inflatable paddle board and storing it in its storage bag, here are some tips to keep it in great shape:
- First, remove the fins from the fin boxes and any accessories that are attached to your paddle board's accessories mounts or D rings. These can leave divots and marks on your board if they are sticking into the wrong places and the accessories are likely to get damaged. Accessories can also make your board harder to dry and more prone to mold or mildew if you are storing your paddle boards for long periods.
- Second, when storing a paddle board in a board bag, store it laying down instead of standing up. This will spread the weight of the board and anything in the bag onto a large face of the board instead of a few individual pressure points.
- Your inflatable paddle board might have some creases in it when you first pull it out of the board bag but these should go away once your paddle board is fully inflated.
What is the life expectancy of an inflatable stand up paddle board?
Well made inflatable paddle boards can really be a life long purchase. As long as you are taking care of your board and keeping it out of the elements when it's not in use, you can expect your inflatable paddle board to last for the long run.
You may need to occasionally replace certain parts of the board that can degrade over time such as the storage bungees. However, the PVC material that the board is made of should last for many years if the board is being cared for and doesn't have any accidents.
Do I need to wax my paddle board?
If you're using a paddle board with a pad on top, no!
Most paddle boards have a deck pad on the top that provides grip for your feet. If your board has a pad on it, it doesn't need wax. If you happen to have a hard top paddle board, you will need wax for the added traction.
What do you wash SUP with?
Stand up paddle boards can be washed with water and dish soap diluted in water (any gentle soap will do).
If you're using an inflatable, you will want to keep your inflatable paddle board inflated while you wash it. This will make it a lot easier to get move the board around while you're cleaning it and will keep any dirt or mud from collecting in creases of your inflatable SUP.
To wash your stand up paddle board, stand it against a wall or lay it down on the sidewalk or in your driveway. Spray both sides down with a hose to remove any loose dirt. Use a rag to clean off any persistent grime and attack any stains with a bit of soapy water.
Once your entire board is clean, let it dry before storing it. This process is important to protect your board and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species that like to hitch a ride on watercraft.
How do you care for an inflatable paddle board?
There is more to taking care of a paddle board than the storing and cleaning outlined above. An inflatable SUP can last a tremendous amount of time if taken care of properly so one of the biggest threats to the long run health of your paddle board is accidental damage.
Here are some tips to avoid accidental damage to your inflatable SUP:
- Inflate your board to the right PSI
Most inflatable paddle boards will have the recommended and maximum PSI listed on the valve. Underinflating your board can make it unwieldy and dangerous to paddle. Overinflating your board can cause bubbling in the PVC material or even a seam failure where the different layers of PVC are welded together.
Inflating your board to the right PSI is critical for safety and the health of your board
If your paddle board does not have the recommended PSI listed contact the manufacturer of your board for information. A typical recommended air pressure for inflatable paddle boards is 12 to 15 PSI.
- Store your inflatable SUP board securely on windy days
One of the benefits of an inflatable SUP is how light they are. When they are fully inflated, however, their density is low enough that they can be picked up and blown around by sudden gusts of wind.
A paddle board that gets picked up by the wind can pick up a lot of speed and can get damaged if it hits something sharp in the process.
If you are on shore and not using your board, make sure that it is either weight down by gear or tied up to something so that it won't get blown around by the wind.
- Don't rest your board on the fin
Putting all of the weight of the board on the fin can cause damage to the fin box which is difficult to repair. If your fin is already attached, keep your board fin side up when you are on the shore to prevent damage and when you are putting your board in the water, make sure that the water is deep enough that your fin doesn't drag along the bottom.
While paddling, make sure to avoid areas with shallow, rocky bottoms. These can knock a fin loose or cause damage to your fin box, making it much more difficult to paddle safely.