In this article we discuss ways you can keep your new inflatable paddle board in great condition for years to come!
At Atoll, our aim is to bring as many people into the sport of SUP as possible.
Because we know of the great benefits for both physical and mental health SUP can bring to anyone. The ability to spend time on the water, surrounded by nature, and exercise in a fun way has brought countless joy and peace to our customers around the world.
To that end, we set out to craft the perfect board to fit any body-type and made it affordable enough for entry-level paddlers to get started in the sport.
And we believe we’ve accomplished just that.
However, we still understand each purchase is an investment. Paddleboards and the gear that accompanies them are not exactly cheap no matter how affordable we try to make Atoll.
Because it is such an expense, we wish to see our iSUP boards last as long as possible for every member of our Atoll family.
The best way to do it?
Avoid these simple mistakes that we’ve seen cost people money long-term in repairs and replacements.
We’re going to go over a few of them here so you can avoid any problems with your board in the future and keep it in fantastic condition for as long as possible.
Let’s get into how you can keep your new inflatable paddle board — new!
Sunshine and Your Board
Sunshine and SUP go together like peanut butter and jelly – right? So, why are we telling you to avoid the sun when it comes to your SUP?
Well, it’s not exactly what you think.
Paddling in the sun is not a problem. It’s the best time to do it. There is nothing better than getting onto the water with the sun shining on your skin.
What we are talking about though is leaving your board on land under the sun for an extended period of time. Like anything else, exposure to the sun will cause damage to your board.
The results of this will be bleached colors, drying out of the surface which may cause damage to the stitching, and bubbles in the foam deck pad.
This happens to be the number one thing we see most often.
Paddlers spend time on the water, they’re happy but feeling a little tired. They get back on land and leave their boards for hours baking under the sun. No bueno.
If you are taking a break or if you are done for the day, make sure to either deflate, roll your board back up and store it in its backpack, or place it under shade away from the damaging effects of the sun.
Just this one simple step will help keep your new inflatable paddle board in great condition.
If you happen to make this mistake, the first component on your board that will likely get damaged is the foam deck pad. What happens is the strong glue that connects the pad to the body of the board will melt and cause air bubbles to pop up. While not exactly damaging to the functioning part of the board, they’re unsightly and can spread over time.
A quick way to fix it – take a sharp razor blade and slice a slight (emphasis on slight) cut into the foam. This will release the air from the bubble. If the glue is still hot you might be able to push the air bubble back down and it may stick. If this doesn’t work – grab a bottle of crazy glue and stick the small nozzle into the slit you created. Squeeze out a tiny bit of glue and press the deck pad down. The glue should stick, eliminating the air bubble, and the slit (if done correctly) will not be noticeable! A quick fix for an unsightly problem.
Ultimately, the best thing for you to do is avoid the problem altogether! Keep your board under a shaded area or properly store it in its backpack – especially during the hot summer months!
Keeping Your New Inflatable Paddle Board Inflated?
Some paddlers like to keep their new inflatable paddle board inflated after each use for an added convenience factor. With Atoll’s legendary durability, our drop-stitching, and reinforced rails- this is often not an issue. The board will retain its rigidity over a long period of time.
But where it does become a problem is again with the sun. If you want to keep your board inflated in between paddles we highly recommend a shaded area or even better – inside!
When a new inflatable paddle board is inflated and left in the sun what happens is the air inside will expand the hotter it gets. Then, when it’s put into the water the cool temperature will contract the air. What happens is a continuous expansion and contraction resulting in the seams being stretched over time. This can lead to small leaks, bubbles in the rail, and other problems.
If you want to keep your board inflated, store it properly. The only exception – when it’s cold outside it’s alright to leave it inflated and in the sun. The cold weather will naturally keep the air contracted and you won’t have any problems!
Fin In? Fin Up!
People like to take pictures of their boards before and after paddling – which is great! In fact, if you’d like to share your pics be sure to do so with us by sending them here!
But what can happen when your board is on land is damage to your fin or fin box.
One is gear. Atoll paddlers are adventurers. And any adventurer knows you need the correct gear to survive in the wild. This can lead to packing a cooler full of food and beer, errr, we mean WATER, and other necessities on your board. Overload your board while it’s on land and if you have your fin in, it can cause the fin to bend or the fin box to break.
Replacing a fin is easy and cheap. But if you can avoid it, do so. Replacing a fin box is not easy nor is it cheap. And sometimes can result in having to replace the entire board.
Avoid this problem by either loading your board when it’s already in the water and relieving the load when you make it back to land.
The second issue is with kiddos. We’ve seen it a few times before. Kids are excited to get on boards and try them out. This can lead them to be a bit overzealous and jumping on the board when it’s on land. With the fin in, this again can lead to damage to the fin or the box.
Avoid both by either waiting to insert the fin right before paddling or in a more convenient manner, whenever you’re leaving your board on land before or after paddling, make it a habit to place the board upside down with the fin facing up. This will avoid any damage to the fin or fin box. Just keep an eye out for the kids – a right-side-up fin is another potentially dangerous point of contact!
Shallow Water Paddles
Always be cognizant of the type of water you’re paddling in and especially what’s lurking underneath.
This is for your own safety and for the safety of your equipment. If you happen to find yourself paddling in shallow water and the bottom is mud or sand – no problem. If you get stuck you can easily free yourself and get to deeper waters with hardly any problems.
But if you find yourself near rocky shallow waters or even more dangerous – oyster beds along the rocks or sea walls, be very careful with the speed you are paddling and how deep the water is.
If you’re too shallow and you hit something hard you have a serious chance of damaging your fin or your fin box. Even worse – damaging yourself! When paddling with momentum, if you take a sudden stop you’re likely to fall forward on your board and into the obstacle which stopped you.
With an increased level of awareness, you can avoid both bodily harm and board damage.
Blacktop and Your Board
When you first get your board you might be surprised at the length and weight of it when inflated. It’s perfectly natural. In the water, paddleboards don’t look very big. Outside of the water when you carry them or stand them upright, they can look downright huge!
One issue to avoid – dragging the tail of your board when you first begin to carry it. Like anything else, damage can be accrued to your iSUP if the tail is dragging on blacktop, concrete, or gravel.
Pro tip: When you first feel the weight and size of the board upon inflation – make it a habit to carry your board with your dominant hand. Then with the paddle in your other hand use it as a counterbalance by placing a fair bit of pressure on the nose when walking. This will make sure you’re not dragging the tail on the surface you’re walking on and you won’t have any scrapes, cuts, or tears in the body.
A little practice and you’ll be good to go!
Clean and Care
The last bit of advice we have for you regarding keeping your new inflatable paddle board in great shape for the long haul involves clean and overall care.
Every time you paddle, we always suggest you clean your board. This doesn’t necessarily have to involve soap each time. A simple rinse down with fresh water can work. Though the cleaner you can keep your board the better.
Saltwater and even freshwater can eat away at the surface of your board with bacteria and other organisms. To make sure this doesn’t happen, a simple clean can avoid it. You can simply wash it off with a hose or use simple dish soap to wipe down the outside.
Once it’s clean, we recommend you don’t roll it up and store it until the surface it completely dry.
A wet surface that is trapped in your backpack or in the rolls of your board can lead to mold or mildew build-up, especially in the foam deck pad. These can both be cleaned away with a high-quality cleaning solution like those used on boating surfaces, but why not avoid the annoyance altogether? After each clean, make sure your board is dry and you’ll be good to go.
Once dry, the best way to store your board is in its carrying backpack. This case will keep it safe from the sun and create an extra layer of protection from sharp objects or moving damage.
Do these two things and you’ll be way ahead of the game!
Your board is an investment. Make sure you’re getting the highest returns by avoiding these common mistakes. Do that and you can be sure your Atoll SUP will last for as long as you want to keep paddling! Which we hope, is for a long, long time. Questions? Comments? Want to know any additional pro-tips on keeping your board in pristine condition? Or about paddling in general? Shoot us a message! Our inbox is always open. Until next time – adventure on with Atoll.