HOW TO INFLATE A STAND UP PADDLE BOARD
Inflating and deflating BOTE inflatable paddle boards has never been easier. Not only is there more variety of actual pumps these days (from foot pumps to hand pumps to electric), but the process is more efficient than ever.
The pros of owning an inflatable paddle board are obvious. They're lighter to carry, easier to store, and a blast to paddle. They win on portability and packability every time. Not to mention, each BOTE inflatable is designed with AeroBOTE or AeroULTRA technology, which is surprisingly soft and malleable when deflated, yet extremely rigid and strong when inflated.
So, if you're looking for an inflatable paddle board and curious how the whole "inflatable" part works, you've come to the right place to learn how to inflate a stand up paddle board. Here, we're breaking down inflation, BOTE-style.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PSI
PSI, or Pound-force Per Square-inch, is a measuring unit of pressure. Why pressure is important with an inflatable SUP is simple and super important: it makes the board rigid, stable, and buoyant.
If your board is under-inflated or over-inflated, your experience isn't going to be optimal. Just like how your car tires have recommended PSI, so does your inflatable paddle board. Let's say you over-inflate your car's tires. That's going to put a lot of unnecessary stress on the rubber, which can lead to structural damage. And if you under-inflate your tires, well, you're going to get worse gas mileage, your car's gonna wobble, and you're gonna have a bad time.
The same idea applies to inflatable paddle boards. Over-inflated SUP's run the risk of stretching the seams and damaging the material. Under-inflated SUP's are going to underperform in terms of keeping you balanced and tracking correctly. And yep, you guessed it, you're gonna have a bad time.
Optimal PSI in AeroBOTE boards typically ranges from 10 to 15 PSI. When you're in this range, your board will achieve maximum stability, making it easier both for you to balance and for your board to cut through the water.
For BOTE's line of chairs and docks, you'll want to go a little less rigid. For BOTE Docks specifically, 10 PSI will do the trick.
STEP-BY-STEP: HOW TO INFLATE A STAND UP PADDLE BOARD
Inflatable SUPs are kind of like iPhones. They're both sleek as hell and incredibly intuitive. Inflating an inflatable SUP is easy to figure out. That said, there are a few tips and tricks that can improve your inflation station.
Pro tip: The pin needs to be up before you start to inflate. Otherwise, when you detach the hose, the air is going to seep out quickly. Make sure you have a good seal on the hose and inflate it to the proper PSI.
Remove the safety cap from the inflation valve. Before you start inflating, be sure that the valve's pin is in the upright position. This means the valve is closed and will prevent all the air from rushing out when you are finished pumping. Making sure you have a good seal on the hose is important so that you can inflate to the proper PSI. Once the cap is removed and the pin is up, attach the pump hose end to the valve, turning to the right to tighten.
Get your pump on. With handheld pumps, simply stand on the base platform of the pump and move the handle up and down. Make sure the hose is attached to the INFLATE port on your pump. BOTE hand pumps have two settings: double action and single action. In double action, air will flow into your paddle board in both the upward and downward strokes. In single action, air will only flow during the downward stroke. We recommend starting in double action, then as that gets more difficult, switching to single action to finish inflation.
If you have an electric pump, you'll follow the same steps as above with the cap removal, ensuring the pin us up, and attaching the hose -- then you'll simply set the desired PSI and let it run. The pump will shut off automatically when the desired PSI is reached.
As the board begins to inflate, the pressure gauge will start to move. Once the pressure gauge reaches the recommended PSI, detach the pump hose from the air valve and replace the safety cap.
Voila! Your inflatable SUP is ready to go. From here, simply attach your fin and your leash, and you're ready to hit the water.
DON'T FORGET TO DEFLATE YOUR SUP
Deflating your SUP after the paddle adventure is crucial. Why? To protect the integrity of the board. As a rule of thumb, you generally don't want to leave it inflated when not in use because this can gradually put some wear, tear, and strain on your board over time. Releasing the pressure allows the seams to relax.
Deflating your board is even more simple than inflating. Simply push the pin down and twist to lock it in place; that will let the air flow out, and you can use your pump to deflate the rest of the way. To use your pump to get the remaining air out, attach the hose of the hand pump to the DEFLATE port on your hand pump, then attach the other end of the hose to the port on your board, and move the handle of the pump up and down to pump the air out.
Other steps to consider implementing:
Keep it Tidy
When you're done paddling, make sure to clean off any dirt, sand, or saltwater from the board with fresh water. Dirt and saltwater can slowly start to erode the PVC skin's integrity. Once you've freshened it up with fresh water, allow the board to dry before storing.
Release the Safety Cap
To deflate your board, remove the safety cap and push down on the central valve head to release initial air. If you've ever used a pressure cooker, the sound of air gushing from the valve is similar. After approximately 15 seconds, push down all the way and twist the valve head clockwise to lock the air valve open for the remaining air to escape.
Begin to roll up the board from the end opposite the air valve to push any remaining air towards the valve. When rolling the board, ensure that the fins are on the outside and the deck pad is on the inside to keep main components safe during storage. Once it's fully rolled up, use the compression strap to store the SUP back in its carry bag neatly.
One other note about storage: It's important to consider temperature control. For instance, air expands when it's hot. So, if you leave your board inflated and in direct sunlight for a long time, that's a recipe for added stress on the seams of your board.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PUMP
Not all pumps are the same. At BOTE, we offer a comprehensive collection of different pumps, including the foot pump, the hand pump, and the AeroPump Auto Electric Pump. When and how you use these various pumps is half the fun.
Foot pumps are great for products like the Aero Chair and Aero Couch since the foot pumps don't actually have PSI measuring gauges and these products don't necessarily require a set-in-stone PSI number.
Hand pumps, meanwhile, are the O.G. pumps—the tried-and-true vets that have been around the block and always deliver. Every BOTE inflatable is compatible with a hand pump, and each one comes with a hand pump. True, you might feel like some sort of Richard Simmons reincarnate as you sit there pumping and grinding, but there's an old-school charm to inflating your SUP this way. (And you can't beat the tricep workout.)
If you want to ramp up your inflatable game with unmatched ease and efficiency, it might be worth considering an AeroPump. These auto electric bad boys take all the grunt work out of pumping. Simply attach the hose to the inflation port, preset the desired PSI, press the "on" button, then sit back, relax, and let this pump do its job.