As someone who loves to paddleboard, I want to make sure I have the best gear, but I’m torn between inflatable paddleboards and hard paddleboards. What I really want to know is how long do inflatable paddleboards last? I decided to do some research to figure out how inflatable paddleboards compare to hard, epoxy paddleboards.
So, how long do inflatable paddleboards last? Inflatable paddleboards can last for 5 to 10 years if they are used properly and carefully maintained. The unique construction of inflatable paddleboards actually makes them much stronger than hard paddleboards.
The key to making sure that your inflatable paddleboard lasts beyond its warranty period is proper maintenance. You need to make sure that you keep it clean, store it properly, and follow proper procedures when inflating and deflating it. Keep in mind that quality matters, too – a cheap inflatable paddleboard won’t have the same longevity as a high-quality board.
How Long Can Your Inflatable Paddleboard Last?
The fact of the matter is that the longevity of your paddleboard is entirely determined by how you use your board and how well you maintain it. That being said, all paddleboards are covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, which means that at a minimum, your board will last the length of your warranty.
Most inflatable paddleboard manufacturers offer a two-year warranty, although a few companies extend that warranty to three years. These warranties typically cover issues like
- Loose valves and valve caps
- Torn seams
However, these warranties are only applicable to manufacturer defects. Any damage resulting from wear and tear, poor handling or bad maintenance is not going to be covered by a warranty. Keep in mind though, that it’s actually very easy to repair your own inflatable paddleboard and most boards come with their own repair kit.
Many top SUP companies offer a generous warranty. This is a great indicator of the companies confidence into their product.
If you think there are some holes, cracks or madly manufactured seams on your paddle board. Do not worry as the odds are the company you bought your SUP from will offer an often generous warranty.
|SUP Make||Warranty||Warranty after Registering|
|Red PaddleCo||12 Months||24 Months|
|Isle Surf & SUP||12 Months||N/A|
|BIC Sports||24 Months||N/A|
|Bluefin Paddle Boards||60 Months||N/A|
What Makes Inflatable Paddleboards So Durable?
Inflatable paddleboards may seem inherently feeble because, like all inflatable gear, they become useless if they are torn or ripped in any way. And when you paddleboard, the chances are pretty good that you’ll scrape your board against hidden rocks, branches, and other debris, so an inflatable doesn’t seem like the safe choice.
However, inflatable paddleboards are actually sturdier than hard boards. The main reason for this is the construction. Inflatable paddleboards are made from military-grade PVC, and higher quality boards routinely feature several layers of this material sewn together to form the body of the paddleboard.
Unlike hard epoxy boards that can get dinged and dented from getting hit or scraped against debris, inflatable paddleboards can absorb those hits without getting damaged.
The PVC material used to make inflatable paddleboards is flexible enough that it doesn’t break or chip the way conventional boards do. However, that same PVC is also stiff and strong enough to give you a firm board that can resist bending and breakage even in whitewater conditions.
How to Make Your Inflatable Paddleboard Last Longer
The most important thing you can do to get the most out of your inflatable paddle board is to pay attention to your maintenance routine. It’s really not hard at all to keep your board in good shape (read my post) if you follow the simple steps below.
- Always Rinse Off Your Board
This might seem really obvious, but it is a point worth making, especially if you like to paddleboard in the ocean. Saltwater can be very damaging to the coating on your paddleboard, so you need to make sure that you rinse it off in freshwater after every use.
Even if you paddleboard in freshwater, you still need to rinse your board to remove muck, grime, and debris.
- Dry Your Board Properly
Once you rinse off your paddleboard, you need to leave it to dry in a spot that is shaded and away from direct sunlight. UV rays can cause your board to fade so it won’t look as nice, but more importantly, they can cause the PVC that makes up your board to degrade. This can lead to tears and punctures, which over time, will make your board dangerous to use.
You don’t need to deflate your board while it’s drying if you plan to use it again the same day. If you’re pressed for time and need to pack your board quickly, you can always use a towel to dry it, although air drying is always better.
- Store Your Board
One of the key advantages of inflatable paddleboards is that they are easy to transport because all you need to do is deflate it, fold it, and stick it in its carrying case. However, you need to make sure you do it the right way.
Always make sure your board is completely dry before you deflate it. After deflation, check the air valves for moisture and debris. You can clean out any debris caught in the air valve with a quick jet of air from an air pump. You can also use a cotton ear swab to get at stubborn dirt. Before folding your board, ensure that the air valves are in the closed and locked position.
Detach the fins from your board before you store it. Fins should be stored separately from your board. Always use the carrying case that came with your board – you could rip it if you try to stuff it into a case that is too small.
Store your board in a cool, dry spot. If you live in a damp climate, it’s a good idea to check your board every few weeks to make sure it’s staying dry. We have 6 more storage tips here.
- Seasonal Scrub
Give your paddleboard a thorough cleaning at least once a year, using a gentle detergent and a freshwater rinse. Most paddleboarders find that dish detergent works great, but you can also use a specially formulated paddleboard cleaning solution like SurfStow Board Wash.
You should also apply a UV protectant to your board. Make sure you don’t use too much – simply spray a little bit of the protectant onto your dry board and buff it on with a soft cloth. Some paddleboard cleansers also come with a built-in protectant coating.
- Repair Damage Immediately
It’s not uncommon for your paddleboard to get a bit nicked and scraped up over the course of a season. This type of damage is typically very minor, but it’s really important to repair such damage as soon as you see it. If you don’t, a small puncture could rapidly turn into a long tear which might not be as easy to fix.
Most cuts and punctures are easy to fix with some Epoxy sealant. All you have to do is apply a bit of sealant to the puncture and let it dry completely, for at least 24 hours. You will need to make sure that your board is clean and thoroughly dry before you make any repairs. If your board has significant damage, you might need to get it professionally repaired.
- Proper Handling
Once again, this might seem like simple common sense, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to handle your board correctly. Always remember that even though your board is made of military-grade PVC, it can still rip if it’s subject to rough handling. Never drag your inflated board along the ground – always lift it up off the ground when you’re moving it. If you’re going to transport your board while it’s still inflated, make sure that it is properly secured so that it can’t move about during transport. Also, make sure that nothing is stored on top of your board at any time and that your valves are closed and locked.
The Aquaglide boards sold on Overton’s site offer a good mid-priced entry in paddle boarding at $799. The Aquaglide Cascade 11’ board is rated to carry up to 230 lbs. It comes in a classic blue, white and gray scheme as a complete kit with everything necessary to get started, it’s a great introduction to the sport of stand up paddle boarding, at a price level between the inexpensive $350 boards, but it won’t break the bank like the $1,500-$2,000 boards. Especially if you are a beginner.
The Connelly Tahoe (from Stand on Liquid) is another mid-priced board from a brand that has been around for quite a long time. For other ideas, check out the Bluefin, iRocker, Decathlon, and Connelly reviews here.
Like almost any other gear-oriented water sports like scuba or jet skis, your paddle board and accessories will last longer with proper care. Better boards will last longer than the inexpensive ones I wrote about in general. But all levels will benefit from proper care. So follow the above maintenance tips to maximize your paddle boarding enjoyment and get more out of your investment.
Be safe and have fun.
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