There are perils to packing an inflatable. Namely, that rolling up your board damages it. This video offers a 90-second tip to save your SUP, and make stowing it easy. More packing tips below!
Step 1: Release the Valve
First, find a soft surface to lay your board on. Remove the valve cover and brace your ears: This next step entails air releasing suddenly and loudly. Take your thumb and push the valve stem down till it hits the bottom of the valve chamber. Holding the stem down, gently spin it to the right. The valve should lock in an open position, allowing you to step away as the board deflates.
Step 2: Get All the Air Out
Provided the board is on a soft surface, lay on it (see video), or place your forearms across the center of the board — working remnant air toward the board’s valve, where it will exit. Avoid applying pressure to the board’s seams. For optimum ease of stowing, use your pump. Many pumps are two-way. As in, they can pump air out of the board. Two-way pumps typically have a switch on the pump’s main cylinder. Flip it, connect the hose, and get sucking.
Step 3: Fold Your SUP (Don’t Roll It!)
This is where perils exist. A big board, a small bag — it’s tempting to roll it, and roll it tight. DON’T! Rolling an inflatable weakens the board’s rail seams, which can lead to holes, and costly repairs. The right way to pack your inflatable is to fold it. For best results, each fold should be approximately 10-12 inches, roughly the length of your board’s primary fin box. It may take more than one try to find a fold length that allows an easy fit in your bag. Note where the first fold lands on your board’s deck graphics. It can be a great indicator to ensure successful stowing every time.
TJ Gulizia is the Big Winds’ SUP manager, as well as the head coach for the Big Winds’ youth JET Team. Click here for our full lineup of Starboard inflatable SUPs. Deluxe Starboard models include the Magic Suitcase shown in this post’s video.