Salt Water and Inflatables
Recently we read from a posting on a SUP facebook page that ‘You should not wipe dry your inflatable if used in salt water before rolling away because it will prevent mould’. Well here’s a newsflash for the genius promoting this nonsense.
Firstly, most all SUP brands will remind you within the details of their care and maintenance documents, that you must (ideally) rinse your board with fresh water and towel or air dry your board before packing away and this is especially important if you have been paddling in salt water – why?
Salt water because of its nature, will ensure that humidity levels at surface level of your board will remain high not withstanding that salt absorbs moisture from the surrounding air ensuring the PVC will remain ‘wet’. Continuous high humidity levels serves to leach out the protective oils (the suntan lotion of the board) added to the outer PVC layer and in addition will degrade adhesives used to secure EVA non-slip decking. Worst of all, the seams can be compromised being as the high humidity can break down the bond between the layers which can lead to separation and repair is near impossible to resolve to original integrity.
So the next time you think to store your ‘salty’ inflatable board for the apparent sake of negating mould think again. Preventing mould is as simple as rinsing with fresh water and drying throughly and if you have no access to fresh water – wipe down as best you can to remove salt crystals and make dry. Mould requires moisture. Store dry and this will limit mould forming – in addition keep your board stored where possible, away from humidity creating factors such as radiators, hot water tanks, on boats etc. If the seams of your board fail or the EVA begins to peel away on account of storing ‘wet and salty’ you will by default be negating any warranty claims for in fact creating the problem. Happy paddling!