Home Paddle Boards How do Inflatable Paddle boards Work? Learn if They’re Right for YOU!

How do Inflatable Paddle boards Work? Learn if They’re Right for YOU!

How do Inflatable Paddle boards Work?

How do Inflatable Paddle boards Work?

When you’re thinking about paddle boards, you aren’t envisioning inflatables—but you absolutely should. Though the traditional, most popular type of paddle board is crafted from sturdy, solid fiberglass, inflatable paddle boards are just as fun to use. In fact, inflatables function like their solid counterparts, and getting started with one is simple.

Pump Your Paddleboard Full of Air Before You’re Ready to Hit the Water

To get started with an inflatable paddleboard, you need to spend approximately five minutes pumping your board full of air. Your board will need to fill with air—but yourfins should already be attached and need no adjusting.

The Pumping Process Will Take A few Minutes—and Some Strength.
As you fill your board with air, you’ll need a bit of upper body strength as your board reaches its capacity. At this point, your inflatable board’s interior reaches 9-10 psi, meaning it’s harder to physically pump air into it to reach the recommended 12-15 psi.

Check Your Board’s Inflation Valves, and Then You’re Ready to Paddle Away.
Part of the inflation process is making sure the valves are properly closed once the board is full. You can tell when a valve is closed once you’ve pushed its cap in, twisted the protruding plastic piece and press it into the board’s soft surface until it flattens.

When You’re Finished, Simply Deflate Your Board and Roll It Up.

After you enjoy your paddle on any body of water, it’s time to pull your board out of the water and head home. You don’t need to tie your board to your roof rack, though. Unplug the air valve and let the air flow out of your board. Then, you can roll or fold it up and store it anywhere.

Inflatable Paddle boards Do Feature A Few Functional Drawbacks.

As easy as it is to use an inflatable paddleboard, it can be a pain to pump these boards full, as the process must be done by hand. The more inflation, the better your paddle experience. It can also take from five to 15 minutes to deflate after use.

Stability can also be Difficult with an Inflatable Board.

Another potential drawback of inflatable paddle boards’ makeup is their lack of stability. When you face choppy waters, you may find it hard to keep your footing on the board’s flexible surface. You also may move slower as you work to stay steady while paddling.

Why Choose an Inflatable Paddle board Instead of Fiberglass Options?

Inflatable paddle boards are incredibly easy to carry, maneuver, and store. Instead of lifting a weighty board, an inflatable makes transporting your paddle board effortless as it weighs next to nothing. And once your adventure is done, your board won’t take up space in storage.

How Do I Know if an Inflatable Paddle board is Best for Me?

Your paddle board choice depends on how you’re planning on using your board. Inflatable SUPs are best suited for lakes, streams, and slow-moving or calm waters.

Are Inflatable Paddle boards as Durable as Fiberglass?

Inflatable paddle boards aren’t just comparable in their durability – they exceed the lifespan of traditional boards. Inflatables are better at handling damage and rocky riverbeds or paddling spots thanks to their soft nature. Unlike fiberglass SUPs that will crack and ding, inflatables with just absorb the blow.

Click here to read about the Inflatable Paddle Boards vs Fiberglass

How Much Can an Inflatable Board Handle?

All paddle boards are dependent on height and weight. With inflatables, the heavier you are, the more air pressure your board requires. And, if you’d like to add your dog on board, inflatables are perfect for doing so without your pup sliding around on fiberglass.

Rough Paddlers Will Love Inflatable Paddle boards for Their Lifespan.

In addition to standing up against rocky waters and even dogs, inflatable boards are ideal for those whose paddle boards experience rough lives. They can withstand bangs, bumps, and even scratches in and out of the water.

Just Make Sure You Inflate Your Board as Much as Possible.

If you want to make sure your inflatable paddle board lasts, inflate your board fully. A fully inflated board ensures a more rigid platform, better long-term performance, and the right stability to combat ocean conditions. If underinflated, you'll experience a bowing in the middle that will lead to a bad ride and wet feet!

How Easy is it to Maneuver an Inflatable Paddle board?

When you’re paddling along various waterfronts or rivers, maneuverability is key. Unfortunately, inflatable boards don’t respond as quickly as traditional boards. They are slower to turn and require maneuvering in advance of obstacles. The rubber PVC material just has more friction against that water that a material like bamboo or fiberglass doesn't.

Should You Fall onto Your Board, It’ll Cushion Your Fall!

Although paddling itself might be trickier on an inflatable board, you’ll be standing on a softer, more cushiony surface should you fall. Though inflatables are rigid when full, they help paddlers feel less impact if they fall and while kneeling atop it—a great benefit for kids or newbies.

Should Your Board Pop a Leak or Tear, Repairs are Easy

Don’t panic if your inflatable paddle board needs a repair. Repairing an inflatable board is as simple as using the included repair kit that comes with most boards. All you need to do is apply glue and more plastic to seal any holes or tears that appear.

If you spot increasing holes, tears, or problems with your inflatable paddle board, don’t hesitate to take it into a local paddle board or surf shop. These pros can do repairs beyond your manufacturer-included kit, and ensure your board holds air and you.

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