July 07, 2022 6 min read

SUP Inflation

GILI inflatable paddle boards

One of the best things about an inflatable paddle board is the fact that it can be deflated and stored in a small space no bigger than a backpack. 

For those living in apartments without adequate storage, inflatable paddle boards are an ideal solution to save space at home and also to enjoy everything SUPing has to offer. 

Inflatable paddle boards aren’t just for people that live in small spaces. Their sheer versatility makes them an excellent board option for everyone. 

Inflating and deflating your board before and after every use, however, especially if you’re an avid paddler, can be time-consuming and unnecessary. Lucky for you, if you have adequate storage and follow some extremely important storage rules, leaving your SUP inflated is possible and okay to do. 

So, if you’ve come to this article, you’re probably wondering, can I leave my paddle board inflated? We’re going to go into more detail about storing your board and the guidelines you need to stick to if you choose to leave your board inflated.

Over Expansion in Paddle Boards

There is no rule saying you can’t leave your paddle board inflated; however, we strongly recommend that if you’re leaving your SUP in storage for long periods of time, you should deflate it to keep it in its best possible condition. 

If you leave your inflatable paddle board inflated while it’s in storage, your SUP could succumb to over-expansion. Over-expansion occurs when there is too much air in the board, and the high internal air pressure causes the seams of the inflatable SUP board to burst. If that happens, you’ll end up needing to buy a new paddle board as repairs are complicated and expensive. 

Paddle boards have a recommended PSI, and over-expansion can happen in one of two ways. The first is by pumping too much air into the board when inflating it before your paddle. The second is when the air already inside expands from warmer temperatures. 

This heat expansion is why we recommend deflating your board completely, or at least a few PSI if you’re going to be placing it in storage. 

How to Prevent Over Expansion

Man on a red jacket inflating his gili inflatable paddle board

Reducing the risks of over-expansion are fairly simple, and there are a few steps you can take to keep your board at its optimal air pressure. 

  1. Inflate to the recommended PSI - All inflatable paddle boards have a recommended PSI given by the manufacturer. Before inflating, double-check the PSI and inflate your board to the desired range. 
  2. Keep your board out of sunlight - We mentioned before that heat causes the air inside the board to expand. If you leave your board in direct sunlight, this will significantly increase the board’s temperature, especially if your board is of a darker color. 
  3. Store your board in a cool place - If you don’t want to deflate your board after your paddles, it’s best to store your SUP in a cool, dry place. Ideally, you want a storage location that remains at a steady temperature.
  4. Release air when the paddle board is not in use - Releasing air will not only prevent over expansion in your inflatable stand-up paddle board, but it will also reduce any stress on the PVC material and seams. 

What Happens if I Leave My SUP Inflated While in Storage? 

If you choose to leave your paddle board inflated while it’s being stored, your board will gradually start to lose air over time. Usually, this is nothing to worry about; it just means you’ll need to top it up before your next paddle.

How Long Can You Leave a SUP Inflated?

You can leave your inflatable paddle board inflated indefinitely, as long as you store your board correctly.

If you release air, keep your board out of sunlight, and in a cool, dry place, your inflatable board can remain inflated, and little to no damage will come to it. 

Is It Better to Deflate My Paddle Board When Storing It?

Inflatable paddle boards at a river

The answer to this question ultimately comes down to you, your lifestyle, and your personal preferences. 

If you only take your board out a few times a year and you live in a small apartment, then deflating your board after each paddle makes the most sense. 

For people who regularly take their boards out, live close to a waterway or have adequate storage areas, then it may not be worth your time inflating it and deflating it before and after every paddle. 

If you have a safe, cool, and dry storage area, then leaving your board inflated on a board rack is totally acceptable.  If you only have space to fit the bag the SUP came in, then deflating it and storing it that way is also totally acceptable. 

How to Care For an Inflatable SUP

Regardless of whether you leave your board inflated or deflated in storage, there are a few steps you can take to keep your board in its best condition

Dry the Board

After every use, especially in saltwater, it’s recommended to rinse your SUP with clean water and thoroughly dry it before storing it away. This prevents mold or mildew growth and keeps your board squeaky clean and ready to use for your next trip. 

Reduce Air Pressure

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, if you’re leaving your inflatable SUP inflated, then release some air pressure to make room for over-expansion. 

Keep In a Cool Place

To prevent over-expansion from even happening in the first place, store your board in a cool, dry place. This could be a garage, shed, or somewhere in your house. The ideal location would have a steady cool temperature throughout the entire year. 

Don’t Leave It on the Floor

Gili inflatable paddle board on a wall rack

Thanks to good old gravity, if something falls, it’s going to fall down to the floor. Leaving your board on the floor makes it an open target for objects that could potentially damage the materials. 

If you prefer leaving your board inflated while it’s being stored, then invest in a storage rack and mount it away from any other objects.

Don’t Leave It in the Sun

Sun not only causes over-expansion of the air inside inflatable boards, but it also discolors the PVC material, making your board look old and unloved. 

Cover Your Board

To prevent any scratches on your paddle board while it’s being stored, loosely cover it over with a breathable fabric or tarp. 

Don’t, however, place the fabric or tarp directly on the board; instead, drape it over and leave a few inches gap between the two. This gap will prevent condensation and excess heat. 


🏆 Is it ok to leave a SUP inflated?

It is okay to leave your SUP inflated as long as you take a few precautions before storing it away. First, find a cool, dry storage area and preferably a paddle board rack that is mounted away from other objects. Its recommended that this storage area remains at a steady cool temperature throughout the entire year.

Next, slightly deflate the board to allow room for over-expansion. Over-expansion is when heat causes the air inside the board to expand, potentially busting the seams or damaging the PVC material. 

👍 Where should I store my SUP?

Your storage options ultimately come down to your lifestyle and the area you have to store it in the first place. If you live in a small apartment, your only option may be to deflate your board after each paddle boarding trip and store it in its designated travel bag. 

For those with garages, decks, or sheds suitable for a SUP, it’s best to invest in a paddle board rack to keep the board up off the ground and away from any objects that could damage it. With that being said, your shed or garage needs to be cool and dry as heat and moisture could damage your SUP in the long run. 

Storage racks come in free-standing, wall-mounted, or ceiling-mounted varieties, so if you’re leaving your board inflated, there will be a storage solution for all areas. 

🏝️ How should I store my deflated SUP?

Before storing inflatable SUP boards, you should rinse down both sides of the SUP with fresh water and thoroughly dry it with a towel. Drying the board will prevent mold or mildew from growing while it’s in storage. 

Next, open the air valves and release all of the air. Roll or fold the board from the opposite end to where your air valve is, pushing out any remaining air left in the board. If your air valve is at the tail, roll or fold down from the nose, and vice versa. 

Finally, place the rolled-up paddle board into its designated storage bag, and store the bag in a cool, dry area in your home.

❓ How should I store my inflated SUP?

Before storing an inflated board, rinse down the board with fresh water and make sure it is completely dry with a towel. Next, release some air pressure from your SUP to make room for any expansion that could happen to the remaining air.

Finally, place the board on a paddle board rack in a storage space away from other objects that could potentially damage the board. Your storage space should be cool, dry, and out of direct sunlight.

Megan Bryant
Megan Bryant

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