Unfortunately, you cannot inflate a paddle board using a bicycle pump – and it’s important to understand why. While some of the best bicycle pumps on the market do a great job of inflating bike tires, they won’t do the same for your paddleboard.
Most bike pumps are designed specifically for bikes, and can only be used as such. Let’s go over the mechanics and talk about why a bicycle pump won’t work for your SUP. At the end of this guide, I’ll share with you better ways to get your paddle board inflated.
Why a Bicycle Pump Won’t Inflate Your Paddle Board
The mechanics of a bike tire are similar to those of an air compressor, but bike tires are constructed much differently. They’re built to deliver low pressure. Plus, they don’t have compatible connectivity with paddle boards or other inflatable watercrafts. Here are the main reasons why a bicycle pump won’t work for your paddleboard.
You’ll Have Difficulty Reaching the Right PSI
Reaching the necessary PSI for your paddle board will be incredibly difficult if not impossible using a bicycle pump. Bicycle pumps draw in way less air than a standard SUP air pump. Because of this low transfer of air, it would take you forever to inflate an SUP.
Plus, bike pumps deliver such low air pressure that you’ll never be able to reach rigid inflation.
Good Luck Finding a Suitable Valve Attachment
Bicycle pumps are designed specifically to inflate the tires of a bicycle. This is because of the valve at the end of the connector hose. There are three types of bicycle innertube valves: Schrader, Presta, and Woods. These valves feature a very narrow opening with a spring loaded pin.
The types of valves used on a bike are completely different from the valves you’ll find on a paddle board. Paddleboard valves like Boston valves and Halkey Roberts (see video below) are much larger and require larger attachments because of the greater airflow. With SUP air pumps, you can switch out the valve types to fit the needs of whatever you’re inflating.
Bicycle pumps can come with adapters to connect a schrader valve to a different type of innertube valve. However, finding for example a schrader valve adapter that would connect to a Boston valve is pretty much impossible. Even if you were to find one (or jimmy one up) a bicycle pump would still offer too little pressure.
You Might Unintentionally Damage Your SUP
You heighten the chance of damaging your inflatable SUP if you try using a bicycle pump to inflate it. The longer you have to mess with the inflation process the greater chance you may end up unintentionally damaging it.
Whether it be from the pump itself, pulling on the seams, or jimmying up a valve attachment. Avoid this headache entirely by skipping out on trying to use a bicycle pump on your stand up paddle board.
ALSO READ: What PSI should a paddle board be?
Skip the Bike Pump, Use This Instead for SUP Inflation
Once you’ve given up using a bicycle pump (and we hope you do), it’s time to switch to something more practical. You don’t have to have top of the line equipment to get your inflatable paddle board up and running. You simply need a quality pump that offers a high pressure output.
A Manual SUP Offers the Portability of a Bicycle Pump
Manual SUP pumps are a great option for paddle boarders who don’t want to rely on a source of electric power. A manual hand pump or foot pump will draw in a high volume of air into your board.
Manual pumps are great because they allow you to inflate your paddle board no matter where you are. A downside to using a manual pump however is that it takes a lot of effort and a bit of time.
An SUP Electric Pump Will Get the Job Done Faster
If you want to cut down on time and energy, then an electric SUP pump is the way to go. An electric SUP pump will either use a battery or your car’s 12-volt connector for power.
A motor will draw in air through the pump and into your paddle board. Electric SUP pumps are great because they can significantly cut down on inflation time. Often, your board can be inflated in less than 10 minutes. Electric pumps are also great because once you’re done paddleboarding, you can use them to deflate your board as well.
SUP Pumps Will Offer More Versatility
SUP pumps are not limited to just paddle boards either. Most pumps will come with a variety of valve attachments. These velvet attachments will allow you to use the pump with a variety of paddle boards.
Not only that, but you can even use the pump on different inflatables as well. For example, you’ll likely be able to use your pump to inflate an air mattress, floaties, and other inflatable water toys.
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If you have a bicycle pump laying around your home, it’s best to keep that pump reserved for bikes only. Instead, look into purchasing a quality air pump to use on your stand up paddle board.
There are a variety of pumps on the market, but the pumps that work best are the ones designed for stand up paddle boards. You can check out our list of the best SUP pumps by clicking here. From manual to electric to portable pumps, finding one that fits your needs will be a game changer for you everytime you go out to the water.