Can I Leave an Inflatable SUP Inflated? Is it OK?

Can I Leave an Inflatable SUP Inflated Is it OK

So, you’ve caught the SUP bug, huh? Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) isn’t just a fabulous way to enjoy the water; it’s a lifestyle! But as you gaze lovingly at your shiny new SUP board, you might wonder, “Can I leave this beauty inflated?” Well, strap on your life jacket, because we’re diving into the world of SUP board care!

To Inflate or Not to Inflate, That is the Question

Now, let’s tackle the big question. Leaving your SUP board inflated seems like a great time-saver, but is it the right move?

Short answer is, Yes! You can now breathe a little because you don’t have to inflate your board every week. This is great news. 

But what’s the catch? Lucky for you, there’s no catch here except that you have to be more mindful of your board. Later, you’ll know why. In the meantime, know that you can leave an inflatable SUP board inflated indefinitely. This is because the material of the board (usually PVC) can withstand more than you think it can. After all, it is used for slightly extreme sports. 

Nonetheless, there’s no problem if you leave your SUP board inflated. In spite of having a different material than hard boards, it’s very similar to the latter when it comes to storage. 

Long wounded answer is that it isn’t as straightforward as you might think. It depends on several factors like storage space, frequency of use, and the type of SUP board you own. Let’s paddle through these considerations.

Pumped Up: The Pros of Keeping Your Board Inflated

  1. Readiness for Action: Keep it inflated, and you’re always a step closer to the water. Spontaneous paddleboarding session? You’re ready!
  2. Stress-Free Setup: No pump, no problem. Avoid the workout before the workout.
  3. Durability in Question: Regular inflation and deflation can wear out your board over time. Less fiddling, more paddling!

Deflated Dreams: Why You Might Want to Let the Air Out

  1. Space-Saving: Let’s be real, not everyone has a garage-sized storage space. Deflating saves precious room.
  2. Long-Term Love: Prolonged inflation can strain the seams and material. Want your SUP board to be a long-term relationship? Treat it right.
  3. Temperature Tantrums: Extreme temperatures and direct sunlight aren’t friends with an inflated SUP. Think shrinkage and warping – not cool!

Storage Wars: Finding the Sweet Spot for Your SUP

Choosing the right storage method for your SUP board is crucial. Whether you decide to keep it inflated or deflated, consider these tips:

  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Sunbathing is for you, not your SUP board.
  • Temperature Matters: Extreme heat or cold? Nope. Find a temperate, shady spot.
  • Safety First: Elevated or hanging storage keeps your board safe from accidental damage.

Usage Patterns: How Often Do You SUP, Bro?

Your paddleboarding frequency plays a big role. Are you a weekend warrior or a once-in-a-blue-moon paddler? More frequent use might mean keeping it inflated makes sense. Less frequent? Deflation might be your path.

Material World: It’s What’s Inside (And Outside) That Counts

Inflatable SUP boards come in various materials, each with its quirks regarding inflation and storage. Understanding your board’s material can guide your decision on whether to keep it inflated.

Can You Leave an Inflatable SUP Board Inflated

How Do You Store an Inflated SUP Board?

Remember the catch you read about earlier? This is it. Even if you’ve gotten away with having to deflate your SUP board, that doesn’t mean that you can just store it anywhere inside or outside your house. SUP board may be durable but they’re not immune to external factors. 

So how do you properly store an inflated SUP board? Here are some tips. 

1. Make sure the board is dry. 

Whether you’re using an inflatable board or a hard board, you always have to make sure that it’s dry before you place it in storage. This is because the moisture that stays on the board can damage the outer body. Of course, the board is not as fragile as that, but if the moisture stays on for so long, then it may seep inside the board. 

If your home is dry and sunny, you can leave your board outside for a few minutes to air dry. You can also speed up the process by just wiping the board with a dry towel. 

2. Reduce the air pressure. 

It’s important to always lessen the air pressure before you store your SUP board. Depressurizing the board will help give some space for the air molecules inside to expand. This way, the whole board isn’t straining to keep the air inside. 

If you’re wondering when air expands, it’s during warm temperatures. So if you live in a warm climate, then it’s always a must to depressurize your board. Just remove some air and lock the board up again. 

3. Know the temperature of your storage space. 

Now that you know what hot temperatures do to air molecules, you know when your board’s air is going to expand. Needless to say, if your place is always hot, then it makes sense to reduce the air inside your board a few times. You can also just let a lot of air out so that it doesn’t reach the maximum PSI of your board. 

Of course, when it’s cold, you don’t need to go through all this trouble. But it helps to know that you should be mindful of how the temperature in your place affects your SUP board. 

4. Don’t put it directly on the floor. 

One of the right ways to store any SUP board is by not placing it directly on the floor. Yes, even if you have a hard board, it should be just sitting on the floor. 

There are so many reasons why you should keep this in mind. First, a board that’s directly on the floor can be bitten by a rat or scratched by a cat. You don’t want any of your pets ruining your board. Second, the dust particles on the floor can damage your board. When these particles get in touch with the board, it can lead to damage. It can also decrease the lifespan of your board. 

5. …and don’t put it directly under the sun either. 

SUP Under the Sun

Aside from the floor, your SUP board shouldn’t be placed under direct sunlight. Other than discoloration, your board can also sustain damage while under UV rays. Apparently, boards are also vulnerable when exposed to too much sunlight. 

If you don’t have space indoors, place your board in a shed or underneath a roof. In short, anything that will give your board some shade. 

6. Place it on a rack. 

For the actual storage, you can either place the board underneath a shade indoors or outdoors. Ideally, you have a rack or some pegs that will keep your board from falling. 

There are many ways to store your inflatable board but it’s better if you have a rack specifically for board storage. Racks are very helpful in keeping your space organized. It can also keep your boards steady so they won’t fall over your pets or your kids. 

7. Store it in a place with little changes in temperature. 

It’s not enough that your board has a rack to rest on. The rack will be useless if your inflatable SUP board is exposed to changes in temperature. 

You’re probably thinking that changes in temperature are only natural. While that is true, what you should avoid are changes wherein there are extreme variations. For example, if it’s sunny in the morning and rainy in the afternoon. These extreme weather changes will leave your board weak and easily breakable. 

8. Deflate it once in a while. 

You may not be happy to hear this but you’re supposed to deflate your board every so often. Say, once or twice every two months. This way, you can release all the air that has been trapped there for days. This will also help give the stitches some rest after constant tension from the air pressure inside. 

If you didn’t notice it yet, the stitches of your SUP board undergo strain whenever the air inside the board expands. Over time (during changes in temperature), the air molecules expand or shrink. This change in the molecules’ sizes adds strain on the stitches. 

By deflating the board once a month, you help the whole board “relax” so that it stays in maximum condition. 

10. Cover your inflatable board with a bag. 

Most inflatable SUP boards come with a bag where you place the deflated board. If it has a bag for that, then place it inside whenever you deflate it. 

On the other hand, if it comes with a sleeve that you can drape all over the board when it’s inflated, don’t forget to use that either. Covering your board will not just protect it from harsh chemicals in the air, it can also prevent it from having scratches and dents. 

Some Useful Tips in Caring for Your Inflatable SUP Board

Inflatable SUP Care

If you can leave your inflatable SUP board inflated, then what else should you be worried about, right? Wrong. Just because your board is durable doesn’t mean that it will stay that way if you don’t care for it properly. Here are some useful tips to extend the service life of your board. 

First, always keep your board dry. It’s a little ironic that an inflatable SUP board can’t be left with some moisture on it, but that’s how it is. If you really want to take care of your board, you have to rinse it with fresh water then dry it out in the sun or with a towel. 

Second, deflate your paddleboard regularly. This needs to be mentioned a second time because a lot of people forget that they have to do this at least once a month. Deflating your board will help relax the seams that keep your inflatable board together. When they break, you’ll have to buy a new board again. 

Another helpful tip is to reduce the air that’s inside the board. Before you place it on the rack or before you put a sleeve on, let some air out. 

It also helps to know when you plan on paddleboarding again. Why? Because if your next session is a month from now, you should definitely deflate the board. It may be an inconvenience but that’s the price you have to pay when you chose an inflatable SUP board. Besides, deflating it now will help keep your board in good condition. 

Lastly, inflate your board every once in a while. It may not be too obvious, but over time, air escapes through the seams of your paddleboard. To make sure that your board isn’t soft when you use it, pump some air until you reach its allowed PSI. 

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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