Is It Okay to Leave My Inflatable SUP Board Inflated?
So, here’s the thing about inflatable SUP boards
It’s no secret that you can find inflatable SUP boards on many bodies of water. May it be for rentals or personal use, you can definitely spot one upon hitting the water.
There are plenty of reasons why it’s affordable. It’s portable, sturdy, and quite resistant to a few scuffs and bumps. It’s also one of the more accessible and more affordable variations of SUPs out there. The paddling experience isn’t that different from skimming on the top-tier types.
After long days spent under the beating sun and the waves lapping at your feet, it’s time to pack up and venture home. As you squeeze all of your valuables and luggage into the nooks of your vehicle, you wonder if it’s okay to leave your inflatable SUP board, well, inflated? Not just on the journey home, but as you store it during the off-season. Or maybe you’re set to attend back-to-back SUP adventures.
As always, I got you! I’ll be answering that question asap, complete with a short history lesson and everything you need to know about storing your inflated inflatable paddleboard.
So, if you’re all set to hear the answers to your query (and more!), then let’s paddle on.
Let’s Start with Some History
Yep, history is always a good start for posts like this. You get to appreciate the people who are the reasons stand-up paddleboarding became mainstream. You can take into account how that inflatable SUP board came into your hands. Specifically, we should thank the Hawaiians and their culture. With a life surrounded by the crystal blue expanse, it’s no wonder why surfing, and eventually, SUP is integral to their culture.
But of course, we should also appreciate the minds of the Peruvians. Way back in 3000 B.C., these people were able to build reeds-woven Caballitos de Totora for their fishing needs. It was a small vessel that required a bamboo paddle to glide across the water. This ancestor of the paddleboard pioneered SUP fishing! It’s cool how the pastime/livelihood sank its hooks into modern times.
Let’s travel to the coasts of Hawaii hundreds of years later. British explorer Captain James Cook found his way to the beaches of the island. At the time, the lad was able to witness how Hawaiians centered on SUP and surfing. Their Chief was the best wave rider amongst the people. Therefore, he owned the best board and paddle to ride the majestic waves.
Surfing truly made an impression on the people. In Waikiki, surf instructors Duke Kahanamoku, Leroy, and Bobby Ah Choy were looking for ways to take photographs of their surf students. Well, they found the solution through John “Pops” Ah Choy steering an oversized surfboard using a paddle. To Pops, it was just a relaxing afternoon, but to everyone else, a new watersport began to sparkle in the waters of Hawaii.
Decades later, SUP paved its spot into mainstream sports. The first few years of the 21st century welcomed the sport through the photographs of Dave Kalama and Laird Hamilton surfing in Maui. They shredded the waves with surfboards and paddles! By then, stand-up paddleboards started to become much more accessible to the public. You can even find complete kits on Amazon! And yes, those are of the inflatable SUP board variety.
So let’s talk about that some more and finally get to the most important bit of this article.
Starting with the Answer to Your Most Pressing Questions
Yes, You Can Leave Your Inflatable SUP Board Inflated
It’s more than safe, really! But there are several points that you have to take into consideration. What you have to know is that you have to keep it in a place that protects it from prolonged sun exposure. You also have to take the time to relax the seams among other things. Don’t worry! I’ll elaborate on these later on.
Especially Since It’s More Durable Than It Looks
Now, you might be wondering why it’s safe to keep that inflatable SUP board inflated during the off-season. Isn’t it composed of the same material as inflatable pool toys and floaties? What if it gets damaged by the crude materials surrounding it?
While you should still be aware of the storage space for your board, you can ease your worries. Inflatable SUP boards are made up of military-grade PVC inflatable material. That means that that isn’t some plastic commonly found on flimsy floaties. The composition is specifically designed to endure the constant battering of water on rivers and sharp rocks.
Rest assured that you won’t be easily damaging your board when you leave it inflated. But let’s circle back on the points you should consider to maintain the good condition of your iSUP.
We’re Not Stopping There! Let’s Talk about Storing Your Inflatable SUP Board
So, I’ll be elaborating on those points now. While I agree that you can store your inflated inflatable paddleboard for quite some time, you should still check up on it from time to time. The first thing you need to consider is where you should store your board. Ideally, it should be:
Off the Ground
The first thing you have to do is keep your inflatable SUP board off the ground. These boards are relatively affordable compared to other types, but are still pricey. You wouldn’t want dust, dirt, and other elements sticking onto your board. It can wear the material down while you keep it in storage. I suggest you keep your iSUP on a board rack to be on the safe side.
Away from Sunlight
I’ve mentioned this earlier. The sun’s UV rays can damage your board and affect its lifespan. Specifically, it shortens it. Storing it in an area touched by the sun for prolonged periods can cause discoloration and fading of the colorful graphics should there be any. And you considered those graphics when you paid for your board, right?
Away from Moisture
After ensuring that your board is dry and ready for storage, double-check that your storage location is free from those crannies filled with moisture and holes that drip. Such an environment encourages the growth of mildew and molds that not only damages all of your precious equipment but makes your inflatable SUP board stink. Real bad.
Away from Extreme Heat
This is connected to the damage inflicted by the harsh UV rays. This time you should know that extreme heat not only causes fading of the graphics but also compromises the sturdy, military-grade material your inflatable SUP board is made of.
Here Are Solid Tips to Ensure the Longevity of Your Inflatable SUP Board
I’m all done with storage! Now, let’s move on to the tips and tricks that can keep your inflatable SUP board in tip-top shape. This is a mixture of what you can do before you store your inflated board and what you need to check up on while it’s unused for weeks/months.
Clean Your Inflatable SUP Board Regularly
Leaving your board in its inflated state for a while calls for a few bouts of cleaning. You can make it a habit to rinse your paddleboard with some fresh water after every use. The constant splashing of saltwater on your board wears it out quickly, so be sure to care for your iSUP on a regular basis.
Dry It Up before Storage
Aside from keeping your SUP away from moisture upon storage, you should make sure that the board itself is dry and free from all that water. Remember that all that dampness calls for a lot of bacteria and tons of mold. Not only is that foul, but it also weakens the seams and affects the durability of your board. This brings me to my next concern…
Watch the Glued Seams
Here’s one thing you should always keep in mind once you leave your inflatable SUP board inflated for a lengthy period of time. This state increases the rate of reaction between the glue and PVC. This constant “stretch” can lead to the glue losing its ability to hold the paddleboard’s seams tight. The opposite happens when the board is folded up and tucked in its bag.
You Have to Deflate Once in a While
Well, aside from your need to destress through paddling on an inflatable SUP board, you should also consider deflating it in between uses. As in deflating it completely and rolling it into its storage bag from time to time. Again, keeping it fully inflated affects the seams due to the constant stress. It might wear out much quicker than expected.
Top It off from Time to Time
Since keeping your inflatable SUP board inflated makes it easy to bring out once you’re near the water, you should monitor the changes in air pressure. The heat levels change as the seasons pass, so air is guaranteed to escape. Top it off with some air from time to time if you’re in between consecutive SUP sessions.
And now you have your answer! You can definitely keep your inflatable SUP boards inflated for quite some time. It can withstand bumps and scuffs that ordinary floaties can’t. Of course, these paddleboards are durable and sturdy for storage. You still have to consider a few things, though. Such as the storage location and tips to prolong the lifespans in the inflated state. I admit that it can be a hassle, but you get to maintain good condition if you build a habit!
Still curious about everything else you need to know about leaving your inflatable SUP boards inflated? Then reach out and join the community on Facebook and Instagram. We’re excited to have you!
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