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Now you've got your shiny new inflatable SUP board it's time to learn how to take good care of it. We've seen a lot of weird stuff happening out there so here's a handy guide of do's and don't's.
All inflatable boards are made using some form of PVC materials and glue. Some manufactures opt in for the cheapest of the cheap (that we refuse to sell) some go for the more premium materials. However, no matter how good they are, there are certain things that will impact the lifespan of your iSUP.
This isn't an issue during the 350 days of British calendar year but we do get those 15 days of perfect sunshine. Lately the temperatures were hitting some serious figures - at the time of writing we've got over 25C in Scotland which, by our standards, is Apocalyptic level of hotness. Last level of hell. You get the gist. That doesn't stop a lot of newcomers to the sport from storing their boards inflated either inside hot-as-oven cars, laying in their gardens or being left at the beach unused for several hours.
Few things will happen:
- hot air expands - so the board you've pumped up to 20psi might now be over the limit. Single-layered boards are especially fragile when it comes to overinflation;
- heated up glue becomes soft, which, combined with high pressure, means the layers of PVC or rails can start getting dislodged from their original position;
- drop stitching might start letting go creating small (or pretty large) bubbles on the top or bottom of the board.
As a result - the board might explode. As in wreck-your-house explode - here's what happened to a someone's static caravan:
In another incident, an inflatable SUP board exploded inside a hot car blowing out the windows, windshield and, sadly, injuring two kids in the back seats shattering their ear drums. There's a lot of air going into these boards, after being pumped up hard they hold a lot of pressure. Be mindful of that.
For the same reason we refuse to sell cheaply made SUP boards. Risking ones life standing on top of a badly built board that can go pop at any minute because the materials used are not up to the task isn't something we're particularly interested in. So above all - make sure your board comes from a proper brand that took good care of making sure their gear is safe to use. Here's our guide to buying your first SUP.
Used it? Clean it.
That's right - remember mom kept telling us off for leaving dirty stuff around the house? Same goes for SUP boards. If you've been using your board in the sea make sure to hose it down after the session before you'll put it away. As soon as that board dries out the freshly crystallised salt can do some damage to your SUP. If you've been using it on a lake, loch or reservoir there's a lot of bacteria on the surface that will start turning your board green. Also, when you move between different bodies of water you might move some of the organisms too which is a no-no so wash your board when you get home.
Don't roll it too tightly.
Some SUP bags are smaller than others but try not to go too origami on the board. If you try to roll it too tight you might stretch the board's material but also put some stress on the seams. So keep it loose. Make sure the board is clean and dry before you roll it up. And check if there's no sharp objects on the ground too - these can cut through the board when you're packing it away.
Store your SUP at a room temperature.
We've talked about direct sunlight and heat when the board is inflated. Same applies to board that's packed away. Keep it away from direct sunlight and store it in a cool, sheltered area away from elements and rodents. If you don't have a garage to keep the board inflated - pack it up.
Don't drag it out.
I've seen a lot of paddlers dragging their boards behind them. Please don't - they are robust (at least the well made ones) but only up to a point. All the seashells, stones and tarmac will damage the board eventually, and, if you're unlucky, they will puncture your SUP. As mentioned above - you don't want a board to explode. Same applies to when the board is deflated and rolled up - we've seen a lot of damage to the rails as a direct result of badly moving the SUP. Rails of the board, when it's rolled up, form creases that are easy to rip open - so lift it up.
One more thing - it's OK to store your board inflated as long as you keep to the rules above. If you're storing it over longer period of time it's a good practice to release some pressure and top it up next time you're heading out.
And as always - if you have any questions give us a call or visit us in store for a friendly chat. Happy paddling!