Flying with an Inflatable Paddle Board

Flying with your inflatable paddle board is a breeze if you plan properly.

Key Highlights:

  1. Unmatched Convenience: Ownership means ready access to the water without rental hassles, encouraging more frequent use and spontaneous adventures.
  2. Customization and Comfort: Tailor your board to your activities, ensuring a perfect match for your paddling style and enhancing your experience on the water.
  3. Situations Where Renting Makes Sense: Ideal for beginners or infrequent paddlers to explore different board types without commitment.
  4. Choosing Between Inflatable and Hard Boards: Consider lifestyle, storage, and performance needs to select the right type for you.
  5. The Social Benefits: Owning a paddle board can lead to new friendships and enrich your social life through community engagement.

bringing a paddle board on a plane


Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) has become an increasingly popular water sport activity in recent years, with enthusiasts seeking out new and exciting locations to paddle. However, traveling with a paddle board can be a challenging experience, particularly when it comes to air travel. Not only do you need to choose the right board for air travel, but you also need to consider how to pack it, the airline's policies and fees, and how to navigate the airport with the board. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to fly with a stand up paddle board, highlighting the key considerations and offering travel tips for making the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Choosing the right inflatable paddle board for air travel

traveling with a paddle board

When selecting an inflatable stand up paddle board for air travel, it's essential to consider the size and weight of the board. Most airlines have size and weight restrictions for checked baggage, and it's important to ensure that your board meets these requirements. Additionally, it's important to choose a board that is durable and well-made, with strong seams and high quality materials. This will help to ensure that your board can withstand the rigors of air travel and arrive at your destination in good condition.

Another key consideration when choosing an inflatable paddle board for air travel is the amount of space it will take up in your luggage. Inflatable boards can be deflated and rolled up, making them much easier to pack than hard boards. However, it's still important to choose a board that can be packed efficiently, taking up as little space as possible. Many manufacturers offer inflatable paddle boards that come with an iSUP backpack, which can be a great option for air travel as it allows you to easily transport the board through the airport.

Preparing for air travel with inflatable paddle boards

inflatable paddle board in a back pack

Once you have selected the right inflatable paddle board for air travel, the next step is to prepare for your trip. First, check with the airline to see if they have any paddle board carrier restrictions. Also find out if they have weight limits and bag limitations. Most airlines have a weight limit of 50 lbs for a travel bag.

One of the most important things you can do is to properly pack your inflatable paddle board for the flight. This will help to protect your paddle board from damage during transport and ensure that it arrives at your destination in good condition. To state the obvious: inflatable SUP boards will need to deflate them before packing them up. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for deflating and packing your board, as different boards may require different packing methods.

Most inflatable paddle boards come with a collapsible paddle so that you can put the paddle inside the SUP bag. The paddle shaft and paddle blade typically fit in the paddle board bag quite nicely.

In addition to packing your deflated board, it's also important to familiarize yourself with the airline's policies and fees for flying with a paddle board. Different airlines may charge an extra fee for checking a paddle board, while others may require you to sign a liability waiver. You should also check ahead for any restrictions on the size and weight of the board, as well as any restrictions on the type of paddle board that is allowed on the plane. Knowing these policies in advance can help you to avoid any surprises or extra fees at the airport.

Checking in at the airport

When you arrive at the airport, the next step is to check in with your inflatable paddle board. You will need to pack your paddle board in a carrying bag that is suitable for air travel. You can typically check your inflatable board although you may need to pay on oversized bag fee. Be sure to arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare, as checking in a paddle board can take longer than checking in regular luggage.

When checking in your inflatable SUP, you may be required to sign a liability waiver, which will release the airline from any liability in the event that your board is damaged during transport. It's important to read the waiver carefully and understand what you are signing before you sign it. If you have any concerns or questions, don't hesitate to ask a member of the airline staff for clarification. Once your paddle board has been checked in, you can proceed through security and board your flight, knowing that your inflatable SUP is safely on its way to your destination.

Boarding the plane

inflatable paddle board in a backpack

When it's time to board the plane, you will need to bring your inflatable with you if you haven't checked bags. You can typically carry an inflatable paddle board onboard the plane as a carry-on item. However, it's important to check with the airline in advance to confirm their policy on carry-on items. If your inflatable SUP is too large to carry on the plane, you will need to check it as oversized baggage. In this case, the airline staff will typically take care of loading the board onto the plane for you.

When boarding the plane, it's important to be aware of any restrictions or guidelines that may need to be followed. For example, you may be required to store your inflatable paddle board in a certain area of the plane or secure it with straps to prevent it from shifting during the flight. It's important to follow these guidelines to ensure the safety of yourself and your fellow passengers, as well as to prevent any damage to your paddle board during the flight. If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to ask a member of the airline staff for assistance.

On the plane

traveling with a paddle board

Once you have boarded the plane with your inflatable SUP, the next step is to store it safely for the duration of the flight. During the flight, it's important to be aware of any potential challenges that may arise, such as turbulence or damage to your paddle board. If you experience turbulence during the flight, be sure to keep a close eye on your inflatable SUP to prevent it from shifting or becoming damaged. If you notice any damage to your board during the flight, be sure to notify the airline staff as soon as possible so that they can take appropriate action. By taking these precautions and being vigilant during the flight, you can help to ensure that your SUP board arrives at your destination in good condition.

Arriving at your destination

paddle for a stand up paddle board

When you arrive at your destination airport, the next step is to retrieve your SUP board. If you have checked your SUP board as oversized baggage, it will typically be available for pickup at the baggage claim area. Be sure to check your board for any damage or signs of wear and tear, and report any issues to the airline staff before leaving the airport. If you have carried your inflatable SUP board onto the plane as a carry-on item, you can typically retrieve it as you disembark the plane.

If you plan to use your board at your destination, be sure to check local regulations and restrictions before hitting the water. Some areas may have specific rules or regulations regarding the use of paddle boards, and it's important to be aware of these rules to avoid any fines or penalties. By taking the time to familiarize yourself with local regulations and ensuring that your iSUP is in good condition, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable paddle boarding experience at your destination.


inflatable paddle boards

The wonderful thing about inflatable SUPs is their portability. Rather than renting a board at your destination, try traveling with it. As we have outlined here, it's not too difficult at all!