Whether you’ve made the first step to officially becoming an inflatable paddle boarder and purchased your inflatable paddle board or you’re simply still looking at your options, there are some important things you should be mindful of before adventuring out on your inflatable paddle board for the first time.
Purchasing The Right Inflatable Paddle Board For YOU
First and foremost, you’re going to want to have an idea of how much you are willing to spend on your inflatable paddle board. This is important because the price of inflatable paddle boards does vary depending on many different things including length of the board, brand, board composition, etc. In fact, inflatable paddle boards can range in price from anywhere between $200 to $2000+. I talk more about this in the following article: Are Expensive Inflatable Paddle Boards Worth The Money? Nevertheless, it’s important to know your budget and how much you are willing to (and can) spend to ensure you end up purchasing the right inflatable paddle board for YOU!
What Activities Will You Be Using Your Paddle Board For?
One of the things I love most about inflatable paddle boards is how versatile they are. Inflatable paddle boards can be enjoyed on just about any body of water (that you’re permitted to use of course) including the ocean, lakes and even rivers. If you thought inflatable paddle boards were just for paddle boarding, allow me to blow your mind! Yes, inflatable paddle boards can be used for paddle boarding – that’s the obvious but what else can they be used for? Inflatable paddle boards can also be used for fishing, to do yoga off of, to snorkel from, for surfing in the ocean or coasting down a river and a variety of other fun water activities. Regardless of what activity or activities you end up using your inflatable paddle board for, make sure that the durability of your inflatable paddle board matches up to the activities you’ll be doing. Speaking of durability, let’s get into why durability is so important when it comes to inflatable paddle boarding and picking the right board for you.
The durability of an inflatable paddle board will typically vary depending on the cost and sometimes even the brand of the board. Generally, inflatable paddle boards use one of three methods as part of the board composition for durability: Single or Double Layer Drop Stitching, Fusion Drop Stitching or Dual Layer Drop Stitching. Learn more about each of these techniques here: Are Expensive Inflatable Paddle Boards Worth The Money? Aside from the 3 different drop stitching techniques used, there is one more main ingredient to ensuring a durable inflatable paddle board: Military Grade PVC. Yes, you read that correctly. In fact, all inflatable paddle boards are made using some form of military grade PVC. However, if you are looking for maximum durability, you’ll want to ensure the inflatable paddle board you choose has anywhere from 2 to 4 layers of high quality PVC material. This is typically found in inflatable paddle boards that are on the higher end in price, however, the added durability is certainly worth the extra cost to help make sure your board is as stable and durable as possible while on the water to enjoy your adventures.
There are a variety of different accessories & safety equipment options available to include for an optimal adventure on the water. Some of these will depend on what types of paddling activities you end up doing and even what body of water you plan to adventure in with your inflatable paddle board. Some of the most common accessories and safety equipment include:
- Inflatable Paddle Board Anchor
- Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
- Electric Pump (this will help save your energy prior to starting your adventure)
- Dry bag for storage
- Paddle Board Rolling Cart
- Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
- Snorkel & Fins (one of my personal favorites)
- Coiled Leash
- Inflatable Seating/Kayak Seating
- Many More!!
However, you decide to enhance your adventure on the water, be sure you gear up before heading down for an optimal adventuring experience!
Be Prepared to Fall-It’s Going To Happen
Hopefully, you don’t fall ON your inflatable paddle board but if you do (and it’s possible you will), just know it at least hurts less than falling on a solid paddle board but is still rougher than falling in the water. Keeping the proper stance and positioning yourself correctly on your board can certainly help keep you from falling on your board or in the water. To help you achieve this, you’ll want to position your legs about shoulder width apart, near the center of your board (typically near the center grab handle). I go into this in more detail in this article How To Get Back Onto Your Inflatable Paddle Board. Be sure to get your stance down, especially prior to enjoying your first few adventures. You may still fall, but hopefully by positioning yourself correctly, using the right stance and getting your paddle stroke down, you can fall less and thus, enjoy your adventure more!
Different Strokes For Different Folks
Adjusting your paddle is a critical part to helping ensure you enjoy your adventure. If your paddle is too short, you’ll find yourself hunched over and will probably have a sore back after some time on the water. If your paddle is too long, you’ll exhaust your energy more quickly from constantly lifting your arms up too high. In order to properly adjust your paddle to the proper height setting for you, you’ll want to follow the below steps:
- Make sure you are on a flat surface in bare feet (if you plan on wearing some sort of water shoes be sure to have those on while adjusting your paddle)
- Open up the latch/clip (depending on your paddle this could be located up near the handle)
- Raise the handle until your arm is at a 45 degree angle
- Bring your paddle forward (in front of you) looking down the shaft of the paddle to ensure the blade and handle are flush with each other
- Once you’ve confirmed your blade and handle are flush and your paddle height is set, close the latch/clip on your paddle to secure it
Check out this video for a visual on How to adjust your SUP paddle:
Be sure to get an idea of the stroke that feels right for you prior to going out on the water. To do this, you’ll want to first start with making sure you are holding your paddle correctly:
- Start by lifting your paddle above your head
- Once your paddle is above your head, take one hand and place it on the handle and place your other hand on the shaft of the paddle, making a right angle with your elbows (similar to the touchdown hand gesture). This will ensure you are holding the paddle correctly.
When paddling, you’ll also want to keep your back as straight as possible and engage your core muscles. This is a critical piece to getting your paddling strokes down. This also helps you to thrust your inflatable paddle board forward and allows you to paddle stronger and more efficiently with smoother strokes. Aside from this, be sure to keep your paddle vertical (up and down) when paddling to ensure a solid foundation for keeping you paddling in a straight line throughout the water and an overall smoother, more enjoyable adventure.
Know How To Care For Your Inflatable Paddle Board
Properly caring for your inflatable paddle board helps keep your board looking nice as well as allows you to enjoy it for as long as possible. Ultimately, the best way to prolong the life of your board is to properly clean and maintain it after every use as well as properly store it and keep it from being exposed to the sun or other harsh elements for too long. For more specifics on how to care for your inflatable paddle board, check out the link to this blog post Inflatable Paddle Board Care
Now that you’ve got the basics down, get out there and enjoy your next adventure!
If you’re interested in learning more about inflatable paddle boards, check out the Paddle Boarding section of this website.