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One of the best things about inflatable SUP boards is that they can be deflated and folded up to save on storage space. If, however, storage isn’t an issue for you then you might begin to question whether it’s worth the effort of deflating your board at all.
The truth is you can store your paddle board inflated as long as you take a few precautions. If you follow these rules, you can, in theory, leave your SUP permanently inflated.
First and foremost, you need to avoid storing anything on top of an inflated board. Over time objects resting on the SUP board will leave dents and dips. This will make the board unbalanced and will make it more susceptible to popping or breaking.
The other thing to be conscious of is the ambient temperature. High temperatures can cause the air inside your paddle board to expand.
If you have a full board in a very hot place, then you’ll find that the expanding air puts strain and stress on the seams and materials. This can cause the board to weaken over time.
Ultimately, there’s no reason why you can’t leave your SUP board inflated indefinitely as long as you take care to store it safely and properly.
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Is it ok to Leave a SUP Inflated?
Yes, you are fine to leave your SUP board inflated so long as you store it correctly.
When we speak of storing correctly, we mean that you store it away from the elements and off the ground, ideally.
If you are going to leave your board inflated, it’s best to store it horizontally on a rack or shelf. There are a few reasons for this.
Firstly, if you store your inflated board on its end, say resting up against a wall, it can become deformed over time.
If all the weight is on the tail of the board, then the tail can crush causing deformation. This can affect the way the board tracks in the water.
Another reason why you should store the board on a shelf or off the ground is to avoid people accidentally stepping on it.
You don’t want heavy items, including people, from putting pressure on the board. When the board is on land it can’t hold as much weight as when it’s in water.
If someone walks on the board, or something heavy falls on the board, then you seriously risk popping or damaging the board.
When it comes to storing your board out of the elements, this means keeping it out of direct sunlight and at a steady temperature.
Direct sunlight exposes your board to UV light. This degrades and weakens your board. Not only does it make the design on your fabric fade, but it can also cause critical failures.
Constant temperatures are important for the fabric and for the air inside your board. Hot temperatures can cause air to expand which can put stress on the seams and fabric.
Constantly changing temperatures can put stress on the materials because it has to constantly shrink or expand depending on the temperature. When hot, the board material will expand slightly as its atoms become more active. In colder temperatures the material shrinks down.
The shrinking and expanding can cause the board to deform and lose its natural shape. It can also make the material more brittle and prone to popping or piercing.
Do Inflatable Paddle Boards Lose Air?
Inflatable paddle boards will, naturally, lose air over time. You won’t notice this loss throughout the day while you’re paddling. However, if you keep the board inflated over a period of days or weeks you will see a difference.
Inflatable paddle boards lose air very slowly over a long period of time. This is natural and not an indication of a fault or damage. It’s just a case of air finding its way out of microscopic holes in the fabric and seams.
What this means is that if you’ve been storing your board for a long time, you’ll probably need to pump it up before you hop on. Make sure you use a pump with an air pressure gauge to make sure that you get the right air pressure.
If you notice that your board is deflating quickly over short periods of time you might want to check the board for rips or tears. It should take months, even years for your board to deflate on its own. If it happens every week then it’s a problem.
Do You Need to Deflate SUP?
You don’t need to deflate your SUP board unless you want to stow it away. Deflating the board allows you to fold it up into the bag and store it in a closet or the trunk of your car.
You may need to deflate your board if you haven’t got a roof rack that can carry the board. This would mean that your only option is to deflate and fold the board so that it fits into your trunk.
If you are going to deflate and store the board then you’ll need to make sure it is clean and dry before you put it back in the bag.
The first thing you need to do is rinse the board. This should be done after every use if you’re paddling in salt water. If you’re paddling in freshwater, you only need to rinse off the board if it’s covered in dirt and debris.
Next, you’ll want to use a non biological, chemical free cleaner to give the board a deep clean. You don’t need to use this every time you rinse off the board. Doing it once a month or once every few rides will prevent build-up and protect your board.
Once you’ve given the board a scrub with the cleaner, you’ll need to rinse it off before you can dry the board.
When drying, try to get the board as dry as possible. Use a towel to wipe away the water rather than leaving the board in the sun to dry.
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I’m an Colorado native, who learned to surf in the Pacific Northwest, and SW Canada. I live inland near the mountains now, and love to get out on my SUP. It’s weird, but I love windy, choppy days as no-one is out and I like the challenge.