Inflatable paddle boards are durable and can last for quite some time, but it does come down to how one handles the board and various other factors.
On average, the board can last about 2-3 years, and even longer if you take good care of it!
The quality of inflatable stand-up paddle boards is improving every year, and finding one that will last is not as challenging as it used to be.
Here’s all you need to know about the lifespan of an inflatable SUP and how to care for it:
Factors that Affect How Long it Lasts
Truthfully, there is no set answer on how long an inflatable stand-up paddle board will last.
But if you take these factors into consideration, they can give you a pretty good indication of what to expect from your inflatable SUP.
Construction of the board
The construction quality is a huge factor.
The way the inflatable paddle board was constructed plays a significant role in how long it will last.
Single-layer boards VS multiple layers. The boards are made from PVC material.
Boards with multiple layers of PVC are much more durable, and they have been constructed to be stronger so that they can resist extreme pressures.
Multi-layer boards usually have 2-4 layers and are better protected from punctures, tearing, and cuts.
Seaming design. The way the seams are joined together plays a role in a paddle board’s longevity.
Cheaper brands usually use seam glue, and due to the UV radiation, water exposure, and air, the glue will start to wear away, and the seams will burst.
Boards with a mechanically welded seam are recommended as they are more durable and can resist pressure.
The seam will likely last longer than the actual material of the board.
Protective layering. The paddle board should have a UV coating; this will repel the sun’s UV radiation and protect the board.
The materials used
The materials play a significant role in the inflatable board’s longevity.
The number of layers used and the thickness of the material are both important.
The material should be solid and scruff and abrasion-resistant.
How you care for the board
The board will likely last a lot longer if you look after it.
Storing an inflatable paddle board in a protective bag while not in use is vital.
When on the water, the board gets exposed to UV rays that can affect the board’s rigidity – storing it is one of the best ways to protect it.
Always make sure that the inflatable SUP is dry before putting it in a bag or storage unit because the residual water can cause the growth of mildew – and this is gross!
So dry your board. Good board maintenance is key!
Clean and hose the paddle board down before storing it because there is likely a lot of sand and dirt on the board.
The board and the sand rub up against each other, leading to wear and tear and scratch marks.
Cost and brand of the board
Reputable brands generally sell better quality boards; they excel at everything from the construction process to the material quality – they come at a price but are 100% worth it!
The board’s condition
A second-hand board will not last as long as a brand new one since it has been used more.
A board that is quite damaged or has needed multiple repairs also won’t last as long as one that has been well cared for.
How often it is used
It does come down to how often you use the paddle board. A board that goes out once every few months will obviously last longer than a board that is used every week.
If you go paddle boarding 1-2 times each week for fitness or recreational use, the board will probably last for five years.
If the board is used daily but is well maintained, it could last about 3-5 years.
And boards that are poorly looked after will last 3 years or less, depending on how badly the board is treated.
How and where you use the board also plays a role. Inflatable boards can only do so much.
Carrying loads of equipment and having pets on the board will cause some damage.
Using it for white water rafting and in rocky shallows will cause a good amount of wear and tear.
How to Make it Last Longer
You can do a few things to keep your board in tip-top shape for as long as possible.
Follow these tips, and your board will look brand spanking new for years:
Scrub it occasionally
After a few uses, a good scrub is needed. You can use a soft cloth and some detergent to remove grime and stubborn stains, and then some water to rinse. Then apply some UV concealment and buff it using a cloth.
The way you store it
Storage is essential. Storing inflatable paddle boards is quite simple since all you do is deflate the board, fold it up, and put it in a storage bag.
But you need to do this properly!
Once you have dried the paddle board, you can gently start deflating it.
Look for any scratches, damages, tears, or puncture wounds.
Ensure that there is no dirt or water in the air valve and that the whole board is clean.
Then close and lock the air valves and fold the board up!
Keep it dry and clean
When you are done using your inflatable paddle board, always give it a good rinse and a clean.
Saltwater and freshwater can damage the board’s coating, so rinsing it off will make a big difference.
You can either sundry the board or use a towel; this avoids the growth of mildew and removes water that can degrade the seams.
ALWAYS make sure that the board is dry before putting it away.
A good maintenance routine ensures you catch minor problems early on and fix them as soon as you notice them to avoid an even bigger problem.
Handle it properly
The military-grade materials mean nothing if you don’t handle your board correctly.
If you treat your board like trash, these durable materials will easily tear, rip, and get spoilt.
Never drag your board on the ground, do not put anything on top of the board.
Always make sure that the valves are closed and locked, and always deflate your board before storing it.
Inflatable paddle boards are becoming very popular; this means that more manufacturers are starting to produce them, and it means that the quality of the boards is improving every time.
A modern paddle board will undoubtedly last longer than an older one purely because of the advances in technology, the construction methods, and the improved quality of materials.
So, how long do inflatable paddle boards last? Ultimately, the lifespan comes down to how you care for the board and how often you use it.
Regular maintenance goes a long way, and putting the time into it will make your board last much longer.
It is also better to buy a board from a reputable brand and do a good amount of research to see how the board was constructed and what materials were used – this way, you can be sure that you are buying a top-quality board that will be by your side for years!