If you’re fortunate to live where the winters are mild or even warm, then you’re probably going to be on the water at least occasionally leading up to spring and winter. On the other hand if the winters are cold and harsh you may be putting your board away for the winter months in storage – though as a suggestion, if you’ve the right technical apparel, some of the best days are blue sky, no wind days in winter and especially on inland waterways and on coastal estuaries. Keep on SUPing through Winter

One important misunderstanding about inflatable boards, is that while they may be easier to store in relation to space saving, due to their construction, they require care and consideration before rolling up and stuffing in a corner. Failure to take some preliminary actions, can reduce the life of your board and you have to be realistic and accept inflatable boards are not expected to last indefinitely in the same way a laminated board can. Five years is a good life span for an inflatable board if well cared for and potentially longer. But if neglected, there can be issues that can lead shorten is life. Storage therefore is not unimportant, whether short or long-term.

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.

One of the greatest myths and erroneous advice we have heard “If wet with salt water, leave the board to dry and do not wipe off the salt crystals as they will prevent mould” – Well this may be so, but salt attracts moisture and salt causes leaching of oils from the PVC so that the seams and any glues perish and your board will literally fall apart if stored this way!

So here’s a basic list for storage preparation:

Inflate to 5-10psi
Rinse with fresh water
Lightly scrub clean with washing up detergent
Your wanting to remove marks from EVA decking, sun oils, body oils
Rinse around fin box / valve area
Rinse clean and towel dry, leave in fresh air
Once fully dried, deflate
Fold towards the valve
Fold between the fin box, not over it
When all air is expelled, replace valve cap
Ensure bag is DRY, clean and free of salt crystals, moisture and debris
(No point storing a clean dry board, in wet dirty bag!)
Pack away neatly with fin / pump / repair kit
Do not over-pack to allow air movement
Leave partially open if bag has no air vents
Do not pack stuff on top of it
Ideally, store off the ground especially if concrete
Store in a low-humidity area with relatively constant temp
Avoid storing near house-boilers, radiators etc, humidity can damage seams
Do not store long term on a moored boat for example

If you can store inflated, follow all steps, let down @10lb psi and place on rack.
Check when on the rack the board does not bend out of shape in any way.
It needs to remain ‘in shape’ – if it is stored bent, it could deform.
Do not store outdoors, or in direct sunlight, in high humidity area.
The same environment and atmospheric rules apply.

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.

  • Inflate to recommended PSI
  • If stored deflated check fold lines are OK
  • Make a close inspection of the seams for any leaks
  • Do same with the valve and re-tighten using the valve spanner
  • Check fin box and fin fitment
  • Check D-Ring connections
  • Check deck pad
  • Check for any discolouration due to bacteria
  • Wash and scrub board with cool soapy water
  • Observe for any ‘bubbling’ caused by leaks
  • Make a note of psi and leave for 48hrs
  • Check PSI and note any lose of pressure
  • Investigate any issues and address / fix
  • For minor none seam leak issues fix using repair kit
  • Seam failure often requires professional input
  • Consider contacting inflatable boat repairers

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!

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Keep on SUPing through Winter

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