Whether you are just starting out with inflatable paddle board, or a legendary paddler with great accomplishments, it doesn’t mean you have a complete grasp of how to use paddleboards. Over the past 2 months, we have interviewed 100 paddlers through social media, and it turned out that 85% of the paddlers are extremely lack of paddle board knowledge and skills. Proper usage of paddleboards can greatly avoid problems, improve experiences, and prolong the life of the iSUP. Here are some tips on how to properly inflate and deflate your paddleboard.
How to choose the air pump?
A good air pump is more functional, and it can lead to an easier inflation with high efficiency. The paddleboard we purchase from the market generally comes with a hand pump. However, hand pumps can be different too. The available products are generally divided into two categories: one way-pump and two-way pump (both with a dashboard).
Two-way pump has both inflating and deflating functions, which makes pumping easier and more efficient. According to air pump manufacturer, two-way pump is 10%-20% more efficient than one-way pump.
However, many Amazon sellers include a one-way pump in their paddleboard package to reduce the cost. There’s one thing you can look for when you are shopping for paddleboards: two-way hand pump usually has two air valves, air inlet and air outlet.
There are also hand pumps without a digital display panel on the market, which does not show the psi you are at, making it hard to track.
However, if budget is not an issue, you can always choose an electric pump. It makes inflating so much easier, and you don’t need to do arm work at all. When shopping for an electric pump, make sure it can reach up to at least 15psi, with a stable output after fully charged, has a digital monitor, and can both inflate and deflate. Consider all the scenarios you might need the pump and check if the electric pump connector is compatible with them all. Dual function of battery story and car charger is always a nice option too. Some cheap electric pump might be unstable, and heats up when operating, resulting in paddleboard damage. Keep that in mind and check for work protection function.
How to connect air pump?
Taking the Two-way Pump as an example, we need to fix the tube into the inlet pump. If you can’t tell the difference, you can pump it, then feel it by placing your hand next to the vent.
Many people find that the board leaks immediately after they take off the tube. In this case, the internal structure of the air valve might be damaged, leading to valve failure and shortened lifetime in the long run. The root cause is that the button in air valve is not in inflation mode. To avoid the situation, please check if the white spring button is in pop-state before you connect the air pump. Pop-up button means it is in inflation mode, otherwise, it is in deflation mode.
For beginners, it is important to read through the user manual before inflating the board for the first time. Surveys show that some newbies twist off the entire air valve before inflating the iSUP, which is very wrong. However, there are ways to install the valve back on, which be shared in anohter blogs.
The correct way of connecting pump to air valve is following the port pattern and turn the pipe clockwise onto connection port. However, we found that many novices try to twist it in different directions in order to find the right way when they first started. Trying wrong methods multiple times may cause the air valve to loosen, leading to air leakage around the valve. We have a separate blog on how to check for air valve leakage. It is recommended that you use the wrench from the repair kit to tighten the connection clockwise after you inflate the board to 10 or 12psi.
If you notice air leakage during the inflating process, it is due to the connection position change caused by pumping the air up and down with increased pressure. Please make sure you have tightened the connection part and placed it in a good position. If you have an air pump from a different brand than your paddle board, and they might not be as compatible, you can place an air pump connector in between the pipe and connection port. The connector normally comes with your paddle board purchase, included in the accessory bag.
How much PSI should I inflate to?
“Is my air pump broken? I’ve been pumping consistently, but the indicator pointer does not move.” This is a problem encountered by many beginners. The air pump indicator needs to reach 5psi to start rotating, and it depends on the geographic location and how you operate it as well, so don’t worry.
According to test reports, it is recommended to inflate your paddle board to 10-15 psi, but paddlers can adjust that number based on the actual environmental condition and weight load.
Please do not under inflate or over inflate. Under inflating means that the paddle board does not reach the hardness for regular use and may damage the board under uncontrollable conditions. Please inflate it to at least 10psi to 12psi. What psi is considered too high? It depends on the manufacture process and materials used. The general products on the market can reach up to 15 psi, and the industry leading materials and production can reach up to 20 psi. However, 15 psi has enough hardness and torsion resistance under majority of environmental conditions.
Can I keep the board inflated for a long time?
Surveys show that some paddle rental places always keep the boards inflated for convenience. However, from professional tests, we found that it keeping the board inflated will shorten its lifespan.
If you have the space then you can store your stand up paddleboard inflated. However, it's recommended that you do let out some air to lower the PSI slightly. There isn't a gain from leaving the SUP inflated with full pressure when you aren't using it. Giving the seams a break from full inflation from time to time will keep your inflatable SUP in better shape. When you store your SUP this way, as you go to use it the next time you will only need to top off the air instead of inflate it from scratch.
Deflate efficiently in multiple ways
Please turn the air valve cover counterclockwise and press the white button to ensure it is in deflate state.
After natural deflation completes, there are two ways to continue deflation: kneeling position deflation and hand pump deflation. During keeling position deflation, it is recommended to perform kneeling and rolling repeatedly from the opposite end of the air valve, which can achieve deflating and packing at the same time.
Another method is using the Two-way hand pump. Fix the pipe at the outlet of the air pump, and connect the port clockwise onto the air valve. Use the pump to pump the air out of the paddleboard until it is evacuated. In this way, the air inside can be released as much as possible. The two methods can work well when performed together too.
A durable paddleboard not only requires good material, also proper maintenance
Please pick a soft flat ground for deflation, avoid water, beach, and gravel surfaces. Some paddlers choose the wrong surface for deflating and rolling up the board, resulting in board surface damage by sand and water. Although it does not affect regular use, but it will greatly affect the aesthetics and the service life of the board.
Pungent smell after wintertime
Research show that when paddlers did not clean and maintain the board after summer season, especially when leave it covered with sea water, sand, and mud before sealing it in the storage bag, there will be a pungent smell when you unpack it. A regular cleaning and maintaining is recommended after each use. Keeping it clean and dry before storage is essential to extending a board’s lifetime, especially after you paddle in the sea water.
The inflate and deflate techniques mentioned in this article may not cover everything you need to know, but it’s a nice checklist to get you started. We’d love to see you having a pleasant experience with iSUP, so please feel free to email us if you have any questions or fun experience to share with us.
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