Whilst inflatable SUP technology has advanced over the years, one thing remains true and that is that they still require the end-user (you) to take good care through responsible ownership. Inflatable anything, means PVC, seams, valves and a host of other weak points, which if not properly cared for, can lead to a partial failure or something more serious.The advantages of iSUP ownership are clearly related to convenience of transportation and storage, cost and low impact use and in general the benefits out weigh perceived limitations; limitations which are dynamic and by default, largely controllable. It would be easy to suggest ownership of an inflatable board is in fact a low maintenance proposition, but the facts are, laminated hard boards are more often easy to live with from the point of view of neglect – which should never be your relationship with your watercraft.
Common sure sign ways to recognise that you’re already failing in your responsibility to maintain and ‘love’ your inflatable will include;
If your relationship with your board is as above, expect;
This list is not exhaustive but you get the idea and indeed the most important issues relate to atmospheric and storage issues. The most critical failure an inflatable product can have is seam failure and is the most common major failure, while valve failure is relatively uncommon. These issues are of course avoidable so as to extend the life of your board beyond 2-3 years life-expectancy if you fail to take care of it.
PVC, like all forms of plastic, is oil derived and when the essential oils leak out of the fabric in which they are stabilised, this marks the beginning of the end of your boards life.
Strong UV will onset this process simply via intense heat and UV rays which draw out and dry out the PVC. Salt crystals will do the same as will high levels of humidity during storage, accelerated by wet storage or stowing somewhere humid, such as in a garage where there is a boiler, airing cupboard and even in the hold of a boat. With this leaching of the fabrics essential oils, this can result in seam failure on account of the seams drying out and ultimately letting-go.
Our boards are UV protected with a unique coating and we use the highest levels of seam technology, but we cannot protect you against yourself if you fail to care properly for your inflatable.
AFTER WINTER STORAGE
If you’re getting your iSUP out of storage after a long winter, it’s advised you take some time to do some basic maintenance checks at home.
All in all you need to have a dynamic and engaging relationship with your inflatable board being as it is somewhat more prone to mishandling and environmental factors of wear and tear and certainly unable to cope with too much abuse.
Love your inflatable and it will give you years of good service and in the meantime, we wish you many safe and happy hours of on water fun for the coming spring and summer!