Many people ask whether it’s okay to leave an inflatable paddle board inflated, rather than deflating it every time you use it. It’s a reasonable question, since many other inflatable things, such as pool floats and air mattresses, can be damaged if left inflated for extended periods.
Should you leave an inflatable paddle board inflated? It is fine to leave an inflatable paddle board inflated; however, it must be stored out of the elements, and since it will naturally lose air pressure as it sits, it must occasionally be “topped off” and air pressure must be checked before use each time.
One of the advantages of an inflatable paddle board is that it can be deflated and packed away, but if you aren’t going on a cross-country trip, it’s fine to leave it full-size. Read on to learn more about how to care for your inflatable paddle board.
Leaving an Inflatable Paddle Board Inflated
It is perfectly safe to leave your inflatable paddle board inflated if you don’t feel like fully deflating and storing it each time you use it. There are a few steps you should take if you’re going to leave it inflated, however, to make sure that it doesn’t get damaged:
- Inflated paddle boards should be stored indoors, either inside the house or in a storage area completely protected from the elements. Leaving your inflated paddle board outdoors could lead to it becoming damaged by the weather.
- Inflated paddle boards should be stored in an area where they are not subject to extreme variations in temperature, such as freezing temperatures or excessive heat. The contraction and expansion of air inside the paddle board can cause excess wear.
- Inflated paddle boards should be stored in the shade, out of direct sunlight. Being left in direct sunlight degrades the plastic in the paddle board, making it more likely to crack or puncture, and can also lead to unsightly fading.
You Need to Deflate the Paddle Board Occasionally
Even if you decide to leave your paddle board inflated most of the time, it will still need to be deflated occasionally so that the plastic is not under constant pressure and stress. This will increase the overall life of your paddle board and reduce wear and tear.
Here are some of the times when you might find it better to roll up and store your inflated paddle board:
- When you are preparing to travel with your paddle board on an airplane and must check it in your luggage, you will want to deflate your paddle board so that it will fit in your luggage.
- If you do not have a safe place to store it that is temperature-stable and protected from the elements, you will want to deflate it so that it is not damaged by changes in temperature or exposure.
- If you are done paddle boarding for the season (such as during the winter months) and will not be bringing it back out for a few months, you might as well deflate it to avoid any issues or potential for damage. Read our thoughts on winter storage and tips for more.
- If you are low on space, you absolutely will want to deflate your paddle board frequently. This is the main advantage of using an inflatable paddle board after all.
- In very hot weather, it is also important to deflate your paddle board slightly. Heat causes air to expand, so if your paddle board is fully inflated and the weather turns hot, it will become over-pressured quickly. This kind of excess pressure can lead to blowouts and punctures.
There’s no physical indicator that a paddle board needs to be deflated, and in fact, paddle boards can be left inflated for months. This is how they are typically stored by companies that rent them out for recreational use and leaving a paddle board inflated in most cases will not hurt it if it’s stored carefully.
It’s important to note that when you are deflating and rolling up your paddle board, you should leave it rolled loosely rather than rolling it as tight as you can. It is tempting to pack the paddle board down as small as possible. However, packing it down too tightly can damage it.
With a little bit of consideration and care, however, inflatable paddle boards can be left inflated for months at a time without risking their condition. Deflating and rolling up a paddle board is mostly done when transporting it for travel.
Inflatable Paddle Boards Are More Durable Than You Think
When people think of inflatables for the water, they typically think of inflatable pool toys and floats. But the plastic used in inflatable paddle boards is not the same kind of plastic used in pool floats. Instead, inflatable paddle boards use military-grade inflatable materials.
These are not the kinds of plastic you find in your backyard pool floats. These are the kinds of inflatable plastics you find in whitewater river rafts designed to be thrown against sharp rocks.
That means that you’re not going to be able to easily damage your inflatable paddle board, especially by leaving it inflated. That being said, there are steps you should take to ensure the continued good condition of your board, especially if you’re packing it away.
How to Prepare your Paddle Board for Deflated Storage
While inflatable paddle boards are
difficult to damage due to their construction and the materials used, they
should still be taken care of so that they avoid getting dinged up, scratched,
or dirty. Because they last for a long time, you want them to stay looking good
With some simple care, your inflatable paddle board can remain in good condition for years. Here are some steps to keep your inflatable paddle board clean and sturdy:
- After use, rinse your entire paddle board with clean running water to remove any loose gravel, mud, or debris. If there is debris ground down into the texture of the plastic on your board or in the seams, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub it clean and rinse.
- If you use your paddle board in saltwater, it is important to rinse your paddle board completely with fresh water afterwards, as saltwater is corrosive and will eventually damage the plastic of the board if left on it for extended periods.
- Use a biodegradable cleaner to soap up your paddle board. Any dish soap or bathroom soap will do, but there are special cleaners made specifically for paddlecraft such as Onitpro Deck Pad Cleaner or ReviveX Pro Cleaner that will also add UV protection.
- After soaping your paddle board, rinse it again completely and make sure all traces of cleaner are gone.
- Dry your paddle board completely with a towel before putting it away. This is especially important if you plan on packing your paddle board away for an extended period without putting it in the water. Leaving it wet will promote mold growth and weaken the seams.
How To Deflate Your Inflatable Paddle Board
If you leave your paddle board inflated all the time, it is likely to eventually sustain some minor damage as well as the natural wear and tear of normal use. Dings, scrapes, and scuffs are normal and will probably happen no matter how well you take care of your paddle board.
To deflate your paddle board and protect it from environmental damage, take the following steps:
- Press the valve pin to the down position and give it a quarter turn to the left. This locks the valve in pin position.
- Once locked in the down position, air will naturally leave the board, and the board will deflate. If you have an air pump, you can reverse the pump hose to deflate the board more quickly and deflate it more completely for tighter storage.
- Roll the board up from the nose to the tail. It’s tempting to roll it as tightly as possible but be careful not to roll it up too tightly—this can put undue strain on the seams and plastic of the board when it’s deflated, and cause weak points later when you re-inflate it.
- Once the paddle board has been completely deflated (either manually or via an air pump) place the valve pin in the up position. This prevents air from re-entering the board.
- Remove the center fin.
- Tie down your board with the paddle board belt that should have come with it. Position it with the deckpad on the inside and the fins on the outside. This helps preserve the deckpad.
- Always store paddle boards completely dry to prevent mold, mildew, or introducing weakness to the seams.
If you take these steps to properly store away your deflated paddle board, you can prevent a lot of wear and tear and keep it looking as close to brand-new as possible. It’s easy to fall into the habit of leaving a paddle board inflated in storage, but this is when a lot of extra wear and tear occurs.
It’s not prudent every single time, especially in the height of the season when you’ll be using your paddle board regularly, but it does add to the lifespan of the board to deflate it and store it when not in use. This reduces pressure on the plastic and helps keep it from breaking down.
If you puncture your paddle board on something, it’s more likely to be something in your storage shed than something in the water, so if you store it while inflated, be careful not to store it near something that might accidentally poke a hole in it.
If you do plan on leaving your board inflated, you want to make sure you understand how to properly inflate it to begin with. I prefer an electric pump for all of our inflatables. This is especially helpful have a large number of toys or multiple iSUPs. Our guide on can you use an electric pump has a couple of recommendations. They can be used to deflate an iSUP as well.
So if you plan on riding frequently, you can feel comfortable about leaving it inflated following the above tips. And since it’s still inflated, get out there, stay safe and have fun!
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