An inflatable stand up paddle board seems like it would make for easier transportation than a standard stiff plastic SUP. The good news is that it does! However, you still have to be careful with the board to keep it in tip-top shape. In fact, the care you need to show to an inflatable SUP is important to give it a long life. With an iSUP you have two options for transporting it and can choose the best option for your situation at a given time. It may be wise to practice the different options in advance so you are able to safely secure your SUP in any situation you may find yourself in.
Most people transport their standard hard board SUP on top of their vehicle. This can be a functional way to transport your inflatable SUP as well and may make more sense than deflating it and having to inflate it again repeatedly. If you know you’ll be using your SUP frequently this may be the best option for the lazy paddle boarder. However, it is important to consult your user guide as damage to your SUP may not be covered by your warranty if you transport it this way.
- Place the SUP on your vehicle roof with the fin pointing up.
- Use 8 ft or longer load straps or a SUP transport system designed specifically for this need to secure the board to the top of your vehicle.
- You can use some sort of foam for cushioning between the board and your car.
- Be careful to secure your inflatable SUP just as you would a standard SUP. The shape and lightweight of the board makes it easy for the wind to shift it dangerously while you are driving.
Note: I definitely do not recommend this method for inflatable SUPs, but if you’re determined to do it this way, then please follow my tips above to reduce your chances of damaging the board.
One of the distinct advantages of an inflatable SUP is the ease of traveling with it pretty much anywhere – whether by plane, bus or on foot. Deflating your SUP is the safest way to transport it as it was designed for regular deflating. If you will be carrying your SUP with you while hiking you will need an appropriate water-resistant bag to carry it in.
Once deflated a SUP can be folded into a bag. For traveling purposes you will need to also carry along a paddle that breaks down to fit the bag and a pump to inflate your board. If you’re traveling by car it is easy enough to carry along a paddle and pump, but if traveling another way you will need to plan in advance for this. You may also consider investing in a higher quality fin that can survive being packed up repeatedly. Newer options provide snap-in styles that don’t require you to also carry tools.
To transport your SUP safely and without damage
- Make sure your SUP is completely dry and clean before folding it up to prevent mildew and abrasions.
- Use an appropriately designed bag to pack your SUP into.
- Pack your SUP and accessories correctly to ensure your SUP will not be damaged by items that should not touch it
- If carrying your SUP during hiking or otherwise do not overload the bag with other items to ensure you are not carrying more than you can handle. Be aware that your SUP and accessories may be heavy.
- Be sure to keep your SUP away from excessive heat or fire and from objects that could puncture it.
An inflatable SUP is designed for travel and should last you well if you give it proper care and are thoughtful in how you transport it.