After enjoying an epic day SUP boarding in your favorite spot, you eventually need to come to shore and call it a day. Once you make it to land your first instinct might be to toss your board into the cab of your truck and grab some food and drinks, but before you make that dream a reality you have some work to do. After all, cleaning and properly storing your inflatable stand up paddleboard is the best way to keep it in great condition, helping it last for years of adventures to come.
Inflatable SUP boards are lightweight and easy to transport, but they still require basic maintenance and particular care when it comes to cleaning and storage. After reading our step by step guide on how to clean your inflatable SUP board and understanding tips on how to roll and store your board, you should have no problem maintaining your inflatable SUP board and enjoying it for many seasons to come.
Step By Step Guide To Cleaning An Inflatable SUP Board
Step One: Rinse With Water
Use a hose to rinse off all the ocean or lake water from the board. Make sure the hose you are using is connected to fresh water, as salt water will corrode your board.
Step Two: Inspect The Board
This is a great time to check for any scratches or potential problem areas that deserve your repair kit’s attention. It also gives you a chance to see where you might need to apply extra cleaner and elbow grease in the next step.
Tip: Pay particular attention to your fin boxes and valves, as these are small areas where dirt can buildup unnoticed.
Step Three: Apply Cleaner
Apply a cleaner to the SUP board and use a rag or soft bristled scrubber to remove any dirt and residue. There are all sorts of inflatable board cleaners on the market. If your board is not all that dirty, a bit of dish soap and water will also do the trick.
Recommended Product: STAR BRITE Ultimate Paddlesports Cleaner & Protectant With PTEF
This is an effective and easy spray on wipe off cleaner that even has UV protectant built in to keep the outer layer of your SUP looking and feeling new.
Step Four: Rinse Thoroughly
One you give the board a good scrubbing, rinse it off again. Make sure the board is free of soap and suds.
Step Five: Dry The Board
If you plan to store your board for an extended period after you clean it, make sure there is no residual moisture at all. After wiping the board dry, consider leaving it outside on a sunny day, or keeping it inflated for a little while longer in a well-circulated room. If you roll up the board with moisture remaining it can grow mildew and mold, resulting in potential damage.
How To Roll Up Your Inflatable SUP Board For Storage
Use Your Pump To Help You Roll
As you prepare to roll up your board, lay the board flat and place your pump on top of the board near where you are going to start rolling. Roll up the board around the pump. This gives you a spindle of sorts to use to roll up your board. It also keeps all of your equipment in one place.
Roll Board Inwards, Towards Valve and Fins
It works best to roll the board from the nose to the fins. Roll the board inward. This will leave the bottom of the board exposed and the top protected when it is fully rolled. It is best to start at the nose and have the fin and valve area at the end of the roll as this prevents unnecessary pressure from being applied to these more vulnerable areas.
Be Careful Of Your Fin Boxes
Make sure when you are rolling your board there is not too much pressure on the corners of your fin boxes. One way to ensure this isn’t a problem is to fold the end of your board inward from the edge of the fin box, and then roll the rest of the board towards it. No matter which way you decide to roll your board, make sure that there is no strain on these rougher parts of the board.
Storing An Inflatable SUP Board: Inflated Or Deflated?
Perhaps the main reason you opted for an inflatable paddle board was due to your lack of storage space. If this is the case, you should absolutely deflate it and follow the tips below. If, however, you have ample storage space in your home, you might be wondering whether you should deflate your SUP board or leave it inflated before storing it away safely.
Believe it or not, there is little difference in longevity or storage quality if you leave your board inflated versus deflating it. It comes down to a matter of preference. Deflating your board definitely limits the amount of space it takes up in your storage area. Leaving it inflated, however, makes it quicker to grab and head out the water. If you have the space, leaving it inflated on weeks where you use it almost every day might be the best option.
Pro Tip: If you leave your inflatable SUP inflated, release some of the air to lower the PSI. This way if the storage room heats up there is room for the board to expand. This limits any chance of the board popping when it’s not in use.
Tips On Where To Store Your Inflatable SUP Board
Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold
The best place to store your board is in a temperature controlled room. So whether you have a finished basement or a closet with some extra space, try to make it fit in the house. Frequent temperature fluctuations can work to break down the inflatable material, decreasing your board's lifespan.
Darkness Is Your Friend
You might love paddling around in your inflatable SUP when the sun is out and in full effect, but when you store it, let it rest in the dark. UV light is a slow and silent killer of many stand up paddle boards. While many boards have protective coatings to battle UV light, extended exposure will wear away at this coating, and your board is likely to become vulnerable much sooner than if you store it in a dark place.
Dry And Elevated Storage Is Ideal
Don’t store your precious inflatable SUP in a damp basement. Place the board on a shelf, or somewhere above ground level. Flooding, although rare, does happen. This helps prevent any leaks or spills that can occur on the floor of storage areas.
Inflatable SUP boards are a great innovation in water sports. They make SUP boarding accessible to people who don’t have roof racks, large storage units or even cars. As long as you follow these tips on how to clean and store your inflatable SUP you should be paddling with the same board for years to come. After all, wouldn’t you rather spend more time on the water than shopping for a new board?
Tom Gaffey is a travel writer and author who first discovered his love of paddling at his grandparent’s lake house in Massachusetts, where he could be found canoeing endlessly. As an adult he fell in love with SUP boarding while living on Oahu’s North Shore. He also loves exploring in a kayak around some of his favorite places in the world, like Puerto Rico, Montenegro and the hidden shores of Oaxaca.