Like most sporting equipment, an inflatable SUP is a significant investment. No one likes spending hundreds of dollars on something only to have it break down or stop working long before its typical lifespan is up.
Stillwater Outdoors wants to help you protect your investment. That's why we offer a 5-year iron-clad warranty on all of our double-layer technology SUPs. Fortunately, there are a few key steps that you can take to make sure that your inflatable SUP lasts for many years to come.
Step One: Wash the SUP After Use
This one may not seem necessary. After all, SUPs don't have the same nooks and crannies that kayaks do so there are fewer places for water, plant life, and other debris to collect. Even so, it's always a good idea to hose off your SUP after use, especially if you use it on salt water. Salt is never good when it comes to equipment ... or skin ... or just about anything for that matter. Do yourself, and your board, a favor and give it a rinse when you're done having fun.
Step Two: Keep the SUP Flat at all times
There are two factors to this step. One is fairly obvious - flat boards can't fall. Though inflatable boards are far lighter than their counterparts, they can still get damaged by falling off their sides (especially the fins). Two - the boards are built to handle weight and stress on their larger, flatter surfaces, not the sides. To avoid unnecessary wear and tear along the seams on the sides, keep them stored flat whenever possible.
Step Three: Fins Up and Out
Never set your SUP on the ground with the fins down. Yes, we know that the top of the boards are prettier, but the bottom is where all the magic happens. Dings and dents on your fins will make tracking difficult if not impossible. Along those same lines, while rolling up your inflatable SUP, make sure to roll it so that the permanent fins end up on the outside and not squished in the middle. And it's never a good idea to leave the removable fin in place while storing, so go ahead and pull that out as well.
Step Four: Don't Be a Drag
With inflatable SUPs, this step is far easier to follow. Their lightweight construction means just about anyone can lift and move them without dragging them across the rocks, sand, or grass. Carry your SUP down to the water and carry it back up again to keep it in prime shape.
Step Five: No Sun for SUPs
Of course your SUP is going to be exposed to the sun while in use, but in general it's a good idea to keep it out of the sun while you're taking a break. Why? UV light can damage your SUP's skin just as it can yours. The SUP will also absorb a lot of heat if left on a hot shore for any length of time. That heat causes the gases inside of the SUP to expand, which can put even more pressure on the skin and may cause the PSI to go well beyond the safe amount. If you do have to keep it in the sun for any length of time, consider venting a little air to lower the PSI and allow for future expansion.
Step Six: Don't Stack Things on Your SUP
Whether it's in a carrying case or is inflated, it's best not to stack things on top of your SUP. Besides the added strain (especially if stored for a long time) there is always a risk of puncture or other damage to the surface. Inflatable SUPs are durable, but its best to practice caution and keep them stored on top of anything else.
Step Seven: Dry Before Storage
This is an important step. Mold is everywhere - in the dirt, in the air, in your house. If you leave any water on the surface of your SUP before it goes into storage, all it takes is one little spore of mold to start a big problem. Make sure to dry your SUP thoroughly before putting it in any long-term storage. If you are camping or hiking with it and must put it in the carrying case while wet, be sure to air out both the SUP and case thoroughly when you return home before storing it again.
We hope that these simple reminders will help keep your inflatable SUP looking like new for years to come.