Inflatable Paddleboards are the embodiment of compact convenience in the stand up paddle boarding world. That being said, there is still, quite often, reason(s) for keeping them inflated when not on the water. We get a lot of questions about whether this is a good idea or not.
So can you leave your inflatable SUP inflated? Let’s dive right in.
So, why do people leave their iSUPs inflated when not in use? Plenty of reasons, really. Maybe they’re taking a short break or on a long weekend of paddling with no desire to re-pump their board up — you name it. We aren’t going to judge you for not partaking in the hassle of deflating and inflating the board every use (though we will politely nudge you towards one of our favorite electric pumps here). Whatever the reason, there your board is, still inflated.
You can choose to leave your inflatable SUP inflated without damaging the board, but there are some best storage practices you should keep in mind:
Storing an Inflated iSUP – Outside
First and foremost, regardless of the manufacturer, extended sun exposure has negative effects on any paddle board, not just an inflatable.
Storing an inflated iSUP outside can cause sun-faded graphics, peeling sections of pads or mounts, and finally what I like to call pad “pimples” (bubbles really). Those pimples are air bubbles that form between the deck pad and the PVC. When boards are left outside, heat can cause small defects in the glue to expand and form pockets. All of these sun-caused symptoms can affect both hard boards and iSUPs and can detract from the usability and overall appearance of the board.
Another factor to consider (again for any board not just iSUPs) is what the sun can do to the inside of the board. For hard boards, especially those painted black or with a carbon fiber finish, the heat can actually warp and de-laminate parts of the board. I’ve seen boards where the carbon weave has completely separated from the foam inside, or that the whole area has shrunken into the foam creating some wax drip kind of shape. With iSUPs, the end result isn’t any better. All the heat causes air expansion. Air expansion for the inside of the board is like taking the manufacturer recommended PSI and throwing it out the window, and just pumping till you hear something pop. It’s not good. Typically a failure will occur along a seam where the material is at its weakest. I’ve also seen holes and tears through solid parts as well, but that’s probably more due to an existing abrasion, or a manufacturer’s material defect exacerbated by the sun.
Storing an Inflated iSUP – Indoors
What about storing your iSUP indoors? Does the lack of direct sunlight make all the difference? What about a garage area that isn’t insulated like your home might be?
The answer is both Yes and No. The sun’s harmful UV rays do a number on the surface of things but they also transfer that unwanted heat we spoke of above. Even if you’re indoors, that heat transfer can still occur. Just ask your pet who likes to lay in that warm patch of sun on the living room floor. So it’s important to realize that excessive or constant exposure to heat is also a problem for iSUPS. Again, as the pressure inside builds due to warmer and warmer air you run the risk of failure. A good rule of thumb is that if it’s stored indoors out of the sun it’s important to avoid temperature extremes, in either direction hot or cold.
Garage’s and other un-insulated places such as attics and shed’s present more of a problem in terms of extreme temperatures. Without temperature regulation they can often become too hot or cold to leave an inflatable SUP fully inflated. Again we want to stress that excess heat is just as harmful to an iSUP as direct sunlight. All things considered, it’s important to be able to regulate the temperature wherever you leave your fully inflated paddle board and to follow some of our tips below for storing inflated iSUPs.
Tips for Protecting Your Inflatable SUP
So what can you do to protect your board? A simple measure would be to deflate the board each time and carefully cleaning, rolling and storing it in a board bag while not in use.
But deflation and board origami is not the only storage option. You can also:
- Partially deflate the board leaving room for air and heat expansion. However, this will not help with the other external problems caused by the sun such as discoloration, peeling, and pimples.
- Leave the board in a cool shaded area that will not be subject to extreme heat or direct sunlight.
- Leave the board in a place that will be fully in contact with the water. Think tying off to a dock or similar. However partial beaching is not enough surface contact for the proper heat transference. And again you don’t protect your iSUP from the other external problems.
- Purchase an iSUP that has a built in relief valve, such as NRS. Again, this will only help with the overheating inside the board and external sun damage.
- Purchase an electric pump, check out our favorites here, and don’t sweat the effort it takes to inflate, or deflate, your board.
Thanks again for the question everyone and if you can think of anything we missed let us know in the comments below!
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