How to Inflate an Inflatable SUP Board 2023

Inflating your inflatable stand up paddle board doesn't have to be intimidating. We break the process down for you in this article.


pump gauge of paddle board valve pin

Inflating your inflatable paddle board is less intimidating than it might seem. Follow these steps and you will be out on the water in no time.

Unpacking your inflatable paddle board

inflate your paddle board tight in the upright position with electric pumps

When you receive your inflatable stand up paddle board, the first thing you'll want to do is unpack it. Begin by finding a flat, smooth surface free of any sharp objects nearby that could potentially puncture it. Carefully remove the board from its carrying case or box, being sure not to damage it in the process. Lay the board out flat with the bottom facing up, and take a moment to inspect it for any signs of damage or defects. Check for any tears or punctures in the material, and make sure that all the fins and accessories are included and in good condition. Once you're satisfied that everything is in order, you're ready to inflate your paddle board.

Remove the valve cap

electric pump gets all the air in your stand up paddle board

Before you can start inflating your inflatable paddle board, you'll need to remove the valve cap from the inflation valve. The inflation valve is typically located at the tail end of the board and is covered by a small cap or cover. To remove the valve cap, simply twist it counterclockwise, taking care not to misplace or lose the cover. Some valve caps may be attached to the board with a lanyard to prevent loss, while others may be designed to snap on and off. Once the cover is removed, you should see the valve opening. This is where you'll attach the pump hose to begin inflating your board. It's important to keep the valve cover nearby and replace it quickly after inflating the board to prevent any air from escaping.

Attach the pump's hose

pump gauge or psi gauge on hand pump

Once the valve cap is removed from the inflation valve, you can attach the pump's hose to begin inflating your paddle board. First, make sure that your pump hose is clean and free of debris, as any dirt or sand particles could cause damage to the valve. Then make sure that the valve stem is in the open position. To check this, make sure the valve pin is in the upright position.

Insert the pump's hose into the valve opening and twist it clockwise to lock it into place. Be sure to push the hose in as far as it will go to ensure a secure seal. If your pump has a locking mechanism, make sure that it is engaged to prevent the hose from coming loose during inflation. Once the pump is securely attached, you're ready to begin pumping air into the board. It's important to use a pump that is specifically designed for an inflatable paddle board and to follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper inflation. Over inflating or under inflating the board can affect its performance and stability on the water, so it's important to take your time and make sure that you're inflating it to the correct pressure level.

Begin pumping air into the inflatable SUP board with a hand pump or electric pump

the inflation process makes the board easier to paddle in fresh water

Once the pump hose is securely attached to the valve, you can start pumping air into the board. There are two types of pumps commonly used for inflatable paddle boards: the hand pump and the electric pump. Using a hand pump requires physical effort to pump air into the board and can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to fully inflate the board, depending on the size and model. A single action manual pump will pump air into the inflatable board as you push down on the pump handle whereas a double action hand pump

Using an electric pump, on the other hand, is powered by an electrical outlet or a car's cigarette lighter and can inflate your paddle board in a matter of minutes. Whichever type of pump you choose, it's important to make sure that you're inflating the board to the correct pressure level, as indicated by the manufacturer. With an electric air pump, you can set the desired PSI (pounds per square inch) and once you hit the recommended pressure, the electric pump will stop pumping. Electric pumps will cut your inflation time in half from the manual pump.

Keep pumping until your board reaches the desired pressure

sup board easier

Over inflating the board can cause it to become too rigid and potentially damage it, while under inflating can affect its stability and performance on the water. As you pump air into the board, periodically check the pressure level with a PSI gauge to ensure that you're inflating it to the correct level. Most pumps these days come with a pressure gauge or "pump gauge" that is attached to the pump itself.

Remove the pump hose

start inflating red paddle Once the board is fully inflated to the recommended pressure level, it's time to remove the pump hose from the inflation valve. Carefully unscrew the hose from the valve in the opposite direction that was used when attaching it, taking care not to not let it leak air from the board. Once the hose is removed, quickly replace the valve cap to prevent any air from escaping and turn the valve stem to the closed position. Some valve caps may snap on and off easily, while others may require screwing back on tightly. Check the manufacturer's instructions to ensure that you are replacing the valve cap properly. It's important to replace the valve cap as quickly as possible to prevent any air from escaping and to maintain the board's optimal pressure level. Once the valve cap is securely in place, flip the board over and install the fin or fins.

Check the inflatable board for leaks

severe injury at right pressure

After inflating your inflatable paddle board and attaching the fins, it's important to give the board a once-over to ensure that it is fully inflated and there are no visible signs of damage, loose material or leaks. Start by visually inspecting the board's surface for any signs of tears, punctures, or other damage. Run your hand along the surface of the board to check for any soft spots that could indicate a leak or underinflation. Check the fin(s) to ensure that they are properly attached and not damaged. If you suspect that there may be a leak or damage to the board, inflate it again and apply soapy water to the surface. Look for any bubbles that may indicate a leak, and mark the area with a piece of tape for repair. Once you're satisfied that the board is fully inflated and in good condition, you're ready to hit the water.

If the area around the valve pin is leaking, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Your repair kit should have a valve wrench in it. Place the valve wrench over the valve stem and turn it clockwise to fix the leak.

When it's time to deflate your inflatable paddle board

using an electric pump

To deflate your inflatable SUP board is just as important as it is to inflate it properly. Before you begin, make sure that you have a flat, clean, smooth surface to work on and that you are away from any sharp objects that could damage the board. Begin by removing the fin(s) from the bottom of the board. Once the fin(s) are removed, locate the valve cap and twist it counterclockwise to the open position to release the air.

As the board begins to deflate, use your hands to press out any remaining air from the board. Start rolling the board from the nose to the tail to remove any excess air. Once you roll the board tight, use the compression straps or bands that came with the board to keep it tightly rolled. If your paddle board did not come with compression straps or bands, use a bungee cord or rope to keep the rolled-up board in place. Once all the air is out of the board and it is tightly rolled up, place it back into its carrying bag. It's important to store the board in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Properly deflating and storing your inflatable paddle board will help to prolong its lifespan and ensure that it's ready for your next adventure on the water.


closed position or severe injury in fresh water

We hope you found this "how to" guide on inflating and deflating your inflatable paddle board to be useful. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.