One of the main reasons why people go for inflatable SUPs is because of their ease of transport. Roll it up when it’s deflated and it will fit anywhere. You can transport it in a small car, on a motorcycle, and even on a bicycle.
But if you’re a frequent paddler then inflating and deflating every day can be too much work. It will also take up some of your precious paddle boarding time. You may be wondering if you really have to.
Can you transport an inflatable SUP inflated so you don’t have to inflate it for every SUP session?
Yes, you can. I transport my inflatable paddle boards inflated all the time. It’s convenient if you have to travel some distance to your paddling spot. You don’t have to deflate your paddle board every single time so that you can transport it.
However, you should be careful to do it right for your safety and to avoid damaging your SUP. So here is everything you need to know about transporting your paddle board inflated.
How Do You Travel with an Inflatable Paddle Board?
Even with your inflatable SUP board inflated, it’s still possible to travel. There are numerous ways to transport your inflated SUP easily, efficiently and above all lawfully.
Check them out.
Using a Roof Rack
One of the best and safest ways of transporting an inflated board is using a roof rack. If you do it right, you won’t have to worry about damages to your board or breaking any laws.
You can purchase roof racks designed for paddle boards. These come in the form of hard racks and soft racks, and both are quite easy to use.
Alternatively, if you’re a handy type of person and aren’t afraid of a bit of DIY, you can make your own inflatable paddle board rack at home using foam blocks and buckled straps.
If you decide to use roof racks to transport your inflated board, here are some tips for you.
Let Out a Little Pressure
Change in pressure is one thing that can complicate storing or transporting an inflatable paddle board while it’s inflated.
When your paddle board is inflated, the air inside can expand, especially in hot weather. This could stress the seams and cause them to weaken. If it’s a poorly made inflatable stand up paddle board, it won’t take much to make it come apart.
Even well-made seams will eventually give in if they’re regularly stressed.
To avoid this problem, release a little air pressure before you load your paddle board onto the car. The air in your SUP will have enough room to expand without having to stress the seams.
This is especially important when traveling long distances.
Remove the Fins
Most inflatable paddle boards come with removable fins–which is awesome for a situation like this.
It’s always wise to err on the side of caution. If you have removable fins you may want to remove them, especially when stacking multiple boards.
While loading, transporting and unloading your inflated SUP, you could end up damaging your fin. It would be devastating if you got to your paddling spot only to realize that you can’t paddle because the fins are damaged.
Besides, many paddle boards have snap-in fins so it’s no trouble.
You can still transport your inflatable boards with the fins on–if they aren’t removable. However, with multiple boards, you’ll need to figure out a way to stack them neatly, with the fins on.
Consider Padding for Extra Protection
Many inflatable SUP boards are virtually indestructible. But they can still get cosmetic damages and minor tears, more so on the deck pad.
Stand up paddle board roof racks typically have padding for this reason.
Put some padding where the rack and straps come into contact with your stand up paddleboard. You can even use your beach towels if you don’t have anything else.
Arrange Multiple Boards According to Size
The good thing about a roof rack is that you can stack multiple boards. It’s fantastic for when you’re going paddling with friends or your family and you have to bring several boards.
If you’re carrying several inflatable paddle boards, have the biggest board at the bottom and the smallest one at the top. This will make the load more stable.
Place the boards with the paddle board deck facing down because of the rocker. This position minimizes air resistance and it’s safer too.
When stacking inflatable and solid stand up paddle boards together, towels between the boards can offer added protection and prevent scratches. It doesn’t hurt to take extra measures.
Make Sure the iSUP Is Properly Secured
You can’t afford to have your paddle boards fly off the roof of your car when you’re on the road. It’s dangerous to other road users and your paddle board may get damaged too.
Secure your SUPs properly. If you’re using a paddle board-specific system then the straps are most likely padded. You don’t have to worry about overtightening. When using regular straps, I’d recommend having some form of padding between the board and straps as mentioned above.
Try moving the boards with your hand. If they can move around, you need to tighten the straps again.
Transporting Your iSUP Using a Truck
Another good way to transport an inflated board is by using a truck. It’s also not complicated, because you can just put put the SUP on the truck bed, and hit the road.
But remember to strap the board down so it doesn’t bounce and move around too much (or worse – come off the truck all together). Before you place the inflated SUP on the truck bed, make sure the surface is clean, especially if you carry a lot of stuff back there.
You wouldn’t want to accidentally place your inflated board on something sharp and puncture it.
Will Transporting an Inflated SUP on the Roof Rack Void Its Warranty?
No, transporting an inflated paddle board on the roof of your car will not void the warranty–at least not with most top brands (though you should always check, just to be sure).
However, brands like iRocker and Thurso state that they will not cover defects caused by transport, loading, and unloading.
This means you have to be careful. Driving for a long distance at a high speed with your inflated SUP on the roof could deform it. This could also happen if you overtighten the straps.
Make sure you secure your paddle board properly and drive safely so you don’t void the warranty.
Can I Fly with an Inflatable Paddle Board
Yes, you can fly with an inflatable paddle board. But in this case, a deflated board is the best option.
With your inflatable board deflated and safely packed into its paddle board bag, you can go anywhere with it.
However, confirm the weight and dimension limits of the airline beforehand to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
So, can you transport an inflatable SUP inflated? Of course you can!
If you go paddle boarding on consecutive days, you don’t have to deflate and inflate your SUP board every time.
The best way to transport an inflated paddle board is on the roof of your car or the truck bed. You can even carry multiple paddle boards this way.
Place your paddle board deck down and secure it properly. Use padding at the contact points to avoid deforming your SUP. For multiple boards, have the largest board at the bottom and the smallest one at the top.
It’s best to remove the fins so you don’t have to worry about damaging them. But you can leave them on too, if you like, as long as you find a way to safely stack several SUPs with fins.