When out on the water, your paddle board is subject to salt water, fresh water containing weeds and algae, UV rays of the sun and sand/debris as it is launched/docked. We take a look at how to look after your paddle board in order to help it maintain it for longer.
Salt Water Paddle Boarding
If you paddle on the sea, your paddle board is subjected to salt water which can corrode and weaken the material and seams over time. Not only that but where there is salt water, there is often sand/gravels/pebbles. After a session paddle boarding, you may have to deflate, dry and pack it away on a sandy beach. Unless you have some pretty awesome tactics, it’s going to be pretty difficult to dry and pack your board away without taking some of the beach with you.
In this instance, you may want to transport your board home and rinse and dry before storing it until next time you go boarding. Whatever you choose, you must ensure you wash the salt and sand away before storing the board. The abrasive nature of the salt and the sand can damage the material and weaken the seams.
Fresh Water Paddle Boarding
How to look after your paddle board requires a slightly more relaxed approach for fresh water. Unlike salt water, fresh water won’t cause damage. It is however advisable to rinse off any debris and algae after you have been on the water. You must ensure that you dry the board, especially if you are going to store it away before your next excursion. Tempting as it is to pack it away quickly while wet, it’s not advised. If you do have to make a quick escape; get home and dry the board and all the elements thoroughly
Top tip – always take an old towel/tea towel to dry off your board.
Drying the board while inflated is easiest. We tend to deflate then dry each section as we deflate. This way you can dry both the top and then the bottom as you roll, wiping away any debris, loose grass, algae etc as you go.
If you’re a regular boarder you don’t need to be too obsessive over drying it completely. We just like to keep everything clean and dry after each paddle.
If you’re going to store the board for a period of time then ensure you dry it completely.
What Happens if I Don’t Dry the Board?
If you do leave the board wet and store it for more than a few days, it can encourage bacteria growth, mould and weaken the seams. It will also start to smell. If you leave it in the boot of the car, you will soon notice it!
Cleaning Your Paddle Board
You don’t need to clean your SUP, every time you take it out however, over time you may start to notice that it looks a little dirty – a few stains and spots will occur and you may just want to freshen it up. As part of our tips on how to look after your paddle board, we share our step by step guide:
Step 1 – Rinse first to remove loose debris, algae, sand etc
Step 2 – Use a non biodegradable cleaner without chemicals to clean the board and a non abrasive sponge. Using something like Blue Goo not only is a highly effective cleaner, it can also protect your board against UV rays. You can also try Onitpro Deck Pad Cleaner for the deck pad and Revive Pro Cleaner.
Step 3 – Rinse again
Step 4 – Dry completely and store away
Top Tip: When cleaning the traction pad be sure to scrub very gently so as not to shred the pad.
Storing Your Board
After your board is dry and deflated, you can roll it up and pop it back in the storage bag along with the fin, the paddle, etc.
When rolling, you will find that those boards which come rolled up are easy to roll back into the same shape each time. The folds are remembered so just fold the same way. Don’t over roll and roll from the opposite end to the inflation valve. The fins will be on the outside when you have finished. You should pack the board with the fins facing up. This way, if you carry your paddle board bag on your back, you’ll get won’t dig in!
When you store the bag be sure to keep it in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight.
Can You Leave the Board Inflated?
The short answer is yes but be sure to store it out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry spot. A garage or shed that doesn’t leak for example. if you do store it inflated, check the air pressure before you get back on the water. It’s not unusual, as with bike tyres, for the board to lose air pressure and deflate slightly over time.
Fixing / Repairing the Board
Most inflatable SUPs come with a repair kit for you to fix minor tears and rips yourself. If not, and you choose to buy one, be sure to choose one with patches that match your board. These can occur when you bump into a sharp rock or make contact with sharp stick for example. The trick is not to panic. Get back to dry land and follow these simple steps:
- Apply fresh water over the area to check for a leak – if you can see bubbles, it means that air is indeed escaping from the board
- Deflate the board and clean the area thoroughly before letting it dry completely
- Take the supplied repair kit and apply a layer of glue over the site of the leak
- After 20 minutes apply another layer of glue then repeat this step.
- Use a PVC patch which should be in your repair kit and cut into a rounded shape which is slightly larger than the area of the tear.
- Apply glue to the patch and press down over the leak
- Press hard for a couple of minutes before wiping away any excess glue. Then you must apply something heavy to the patch to weight it down
Do not inflate your SUP for 24 hours – leave the repair to dry completely.
What top tips do you have when it comes to how to look after your paddle board?