SUP Inflation Tips | Best Practices for Inflation and Care
A properly inflated board is essential for getting the best out of your session - It's important to adhere to a routine of correct technique and proper practice every time you inflate or deflate your board. Whilst these tips are intended for Earth River SUP inflatables we have generalized this guide so it can be applied to most inflatable SUPs. If you are not riding Earth River SUP always consult the specifics of your particular board to prevent potential damage. For a more specific step by step instructional guide and video for inflating your Earth River SUP board please see this how-to guide on using the ERS Dual Action Pump.
Inflation and Pumping Technique
Unroll your inflatable paddle board on a flat, preferably soft, surface. Turn the SUP board valve stem to the CLOSED (UP) position. This may seem counterintuitive, but it works because a closed SUP valve has a rubber stopper on a spring that allows pressurized air to push through the valve while preventing air from coming back out. If you leave the valve stem in the open position, you will lose all of the air pressure when you remove the hose.
VALVE STEM POSITION
Insert the hose into the valve end by pushing down, then turning clockwise until it will not turn further. If it does not fit or fits too loosely to stay in when you remove your hand, you may need to swap out the rubber washer that is on the hose end for a thicker or thinner one.
PREPARE AND CONNECT
Ensure the pump is connected properly and pump the board to 15PSI.
You should have the stopper inserted until it becomes difficult to pump on the upstroke, at which point you should remove it.
PUMP WITH YOUR LEGS
Save your arms and your back! Pumping SUP boards even with out great dual action pump can be a bit of work. Use your legs to pump up and down when it gets difficult and consider one of our industry-leading electric pumps - they are great time and energy savers!
TAKE A BREAK
When manual pumping, take multiple breaks and develop a routine to get your board pumped. Don't blow all your energy trying to do it one go.
CHECK YOUR PRESSURE
It is a great idea to do a secondary check of your pressure with the amazing SUP gauge from ERS. It is more accurate than an inline gauge and is a quick and easy way to check the pressure of any board without connecting your hose.
Deflation and Storage
To deflate your board, use your thumb to push the stem down into the OPEN (DOWN) position with a slight twist counterclockwise. You will hear the air immediately release and the valve will lock into the open position. To remove the remaining air use the pump with the hose connected to the upper chamber of your pump to pull the remaining air out. The key to getting your board to roll and pack well is making sure you remove all the air since if your board has residual air it will be difficult to fold.
Often, rolling the board in the opposite direction to squeeze all the air out before you unroll and roll correctly is a good method if you don't have your pump on hand. Using your body weight to lay down on a partially deflated board can assist in removing any remaining air.
Earth River SUP boards are optimally rigid at 15 PSI. However, we have designed them to reach safe levels of 17 PSI should you want your ride a little stiffer. Some boards on the market advertise very high maximum pressures but there is no practical benefit to inflating past 15-17 PSI other than shortening the life of your board and spending more of your day inflating when everyone else is out on the water.
DANGERS OF OVERINFLATION
Heat can expand a board more than 2 PSI, so this needs to be accounted for especially if you are either paddling or storing your board in a hot environment. At 15 PSI, all of our boards have plenty of overhead for expansion so don't worry - just pump to 15 PSI and paddle contently and if you want your board a little stiffer, just be aware of your storage and paddling environment and you will be fine.
DRY YOUR BOARD
Anything that is left wet can develop mold and potential odor, so it is a good idea to dry your board if you intend not to use it for more than a week. The materials we design ERS boards with will generally dry out in the sun in less than five minutes, but it's a good idea to give the board a quick pat down with a clean towel prior to packing, as it will attract less debris such as sand or river mud into your bag.