Inflatable paddle boards, or iSUP as they are also known, are an easy and affordable way to start paddle boarding. Widely available on sites like Amazon, and directly from the manufacturers, they are easy to store, easy to transport and can be inflated in as little as 5 minutes so you can park up, blow up your board and be on the water in no time. We take a look at how to inflate a paddle board and what you need to do so.
Most inflatable paddle board packages like this one from Aquaplanet, come with everything you need to operate and care for your board. This includes a manual pump, pictured below.
Connecting the Pump to the Board
Before you start inflating your board, you need to ensure that the valve is up. This is very important. You can click it a couple of times to ascertain the up position or twist (different boards have different valve release mechanisms)
WARNING – If the valve is not up, you will spend time inflating your paddle board, feeling pleased with yourself, only to discover than when you release the pump from the valve you hear that dreaded hissing as the air escapes and your board deflates. This is one of the perils when it comes to how to inflate a paddle board.
Once you are sure that the valve is up, attach the pump hose to the pump ensuring that it is properly tightened so that no air will escape then insert the pump hose into the inflation valve and twist counter clockwise to tighten.
Roll Out Your Board
Make sure the board is rolled out flat with the standing side facing upwards. Then start pumping. The board will take shape pretty quickly but it will take time to get it to the required PSI. There is a gauge on the top of the pump as pictured below. This will not register until you have reached at least 7psi. You will then need to keep pumping until you are in the green zone. On an Aquaplanet Allround paddle board, you will be looking at between 13-17 psi.
It is fairly easy to get the board to around 9 psi but then it gets harder as the board inflates. Those last 30-50 pumps can be quite tough but keep going. You need the dial to be in the green zone.
Can You Over Inflate a Paddle Board?
To be honest, if you are manually pumping, you will do really well to over inflate it. It can be a struggle to actually get the board to sufficiently inflated so you really won’t feel like over inflating it! If you are using an electric pump you need to keep your eye on how inflated your board is. The board can handle being overinflated by 1-2 Psi. You should be aiming for 13-17 psi. It is actually possible to burst one! We don’t recommend trying though!
Once You Have Finished Inflating
When you have pumped the board up to the required inflation, remove the pump. Do this by removing the orange hose from the inflation valve – twisting anti-clockwise to loosen. As long as your valve is up, no air will escape and you can then insert the valve cap and tighten. You’re all set.
Methods of Inflation
While the manual pump that comes with your iSUP is the easiest (and cheapest) way to inflate your paddle board, along with delivering a great workout, there are easier ways.
You could buy an electric pump but you would need to be connected to a power source such as a car. This may be a problem if the car is parked someway from the water as you will need to transport your inflated board. If you do go for an electric pump, the chances are you won’t ever want to use a manual one again.
As with the manual pump, you connect everything in the same way but you don’t do anything else. The pump does the work for you. On some pumps, you can even set the desired psi so that you don’t overinflate the board. If you don’t have this then you need to be careful not to overinflate it.
Deflating Your Board
Some people like to deflate their board after every use and then dry and store the board in the boot of the car. Others like to keep it inflated so that it is ready to go next time. You may want to top up the air, especially if it has been some time since you last used the board.
Once you are ready to deflate the board, undo the valve, you will get a high pressure rush of air that might make you jump. We always warn others around us, especially if on a busy beach that we are going to let the board down. I have made myself jump a few times. Once this initial rush of air has escaped, there will still be a lot of air in the board.
You can encourage the air out by standing on the board carefully, be careful not to pop a seam though. Then walk the air out of the board. Another tip is to kneel on the board and push the air out. Once you are ready to pack the board away, start rolling it, starting at the nose on the opposite end to inflation valve. As you roll (dry and clean as you roll), you will expel any air that is left. You should hear the remaining air coming out of the board as you finish rolling it. Then just pop it back i