Safe Winter Storage for Your Inflatable Paddleboard
If you love paddleboarding, putting your inflatable stand-up paddleboard away for the winter can be kind of a bummer. But if you store it properly, you can experience that new board enthusiasm all over again.
If you don’t, you could be looking at things that make your board feel anything but new. Those include dings, scratches, stains, dirt, delamination, fading, and cracks. Mold and other bacteria can devour seams and glues.
However, even those of us living in colder climates with months of frigid temperatures can see our boards emerge from long winter storage in exceptional shape. Paddleboarders who’ve seen all these issues have learned to avoid them, and offer some great SUP storage tips on:
- Long storage over the winter
- How to roll up a deflated paddleboard
- Storing an inflated paddleboard
- How to keep your SUP from twisting in storage
- Dealing with moisture damage like mold and mildew
Their advice begins with common mistakes and their consequences. Once you know and appreciate the pitfalls that can occur during storage, you’ll be pleased to learn how easy it is to avoid them.
Remember these storage errors so you can forget about making them.
- Letting moisture and bacteria do their nasty work: Water droplets aren't as innocent as they look. Putting your SUP away wet provides the perfect pool party for bacteria. That can result in plenty of icky mold, mildew and other stains for you to clean up. (You're much better off cleaning up BEFORE you put your board away
- These germs can also wage biological warfare on the seams of your craft. You’ll also want to avoid storing it with anything else that’s wet, in a moist location, or near anything that spreads moisture – like a water heater.
- Rolling a deflated Inflatable SUP too tightly: Even if you do make an effort to dry your board, there may still be some remnant moisture. It will likely dry up on its own with enough airflow around it. If less air can reach it, more pathogens will.
- Airflow isn’t the only issue. Some parts of your SUP – like the fin box – aren't made to bend or curve around. If they don’t crack or break, a gap may open up between them and the PVC, which contaminants can occupy.
- Storing an inflated SUP at an angle: If you have room to store your clean-and-dried paddleboard in its inflated state, work with, not against, gravity. Leaning your board diagonally against anything may cause it to buckle and twist wherever the gravity is heaviest. Even distribution of gravity (or any other type of pressure) across the length and width of your board is key.
Storage of Inflated Paddleboards
Sunshine can be helpful drying a wet board in the summertime, but only for a limited time – and shade is preferred. Leaving an inflated board in direct or indirect sunlight all winter is out of the question. That’s because even in the winter, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause fading, delamination, or damage to your SUP’s deck and PVC material.
There’s a difference of opinion on storing it under your sundeck, but several experts believe that option may provide insufficient protective shade over long periods of time. That doesn’t mean you can’t store your board outside if you don’t have room inside.
You can find a UV-resistant tarp to cover your board, but it will need to be suspended above your board. Direct contact creates a perfect hiding place for moisture and mold. That means you'll also have to protect your tarp from rain, snow, leaves or wind that might weigh or knock it down.
You’ll also want to store your board where thieves can easily spot it. That’s just one reason why lockable sheds are popular for SUP storage.
Heat and cold present an even bigger issue than brightness. The recommended storage temperature for your SUP is between 40- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit. Some paddleboard experts will take that high number up to 110 degrees.
Just be warned that high heat can have dire consequences for fully inflated SUPS. Because warmer air expands, seams can be stretched to their breaking point. Inflatables have been known to explode when stored in sheds during summer months.
Cold air can also cause problematic changes in air pressure. So it’s best to let a little air out of boards stored anywhere you can’t control the heat. That makes a strong case for storing inflated SUPs where you CAN control the environment.
Storing your sup in your home or heated garage: Not just any room or space will do. A cooler place is preferable – one that lets in little sunlight. Your basement might sound like the perfect spot, but you don’t want your board too close to your water heater and the potentially damaging moisture it releases.
Available space is another issue, but it can easily be resolved by adding paddleboard racks. You can also stand your board lengthwise or straight up-and-down against a wall. Another option is suspending it from the ceiling.
Just make sure it’s not at an angle and that its weight is evenly distributed against whatever surface is supporting it, so it doesn’t twist. You can ruin that delicate balance by setting anything on top of your SUP. Warping or bending is especially likely if you pile extra weight on the overhanging, unsupported ends of your board.
Of course, there is always another space-saving option.
Storage of deflated Paddleboards
Totally deflating your paddleboard is a more compact alternative to leaving it inflated. However, it does come with its own rules. The cleaning, drying, and inspection steps still apply, but you have the option of following them before or after you deflate.
In addition to making sure everything’s together, clean, and dry, you’ll want to roll up your PVC correctly. Don’t try to make the job super tight. As previously explained, the extra space you save is offset by susceptibility to moisture, mold, cracks and broken parts.
Leave room for air to get in and evaporation to get out. Don’t force a bend or curve in items like fin boxes, which are meant to remain relatively straight. The exception to this rule is non-detachable fins. They’re generally made of rubber, so they can straighten out in the water after spending the winter semi-curled.
To bag or not to bag? That is an excellent question. On one hand, your paddleboard bag can protect your SUP from a lot of scratches and dings if it gets moved or bumped around. On the other hand, it can act as another trap for moisture.
A good compromise is to give the bag and the board time to dry out separately and then reunite them if you feel it’s necessary.
One last thing: When paddleboarding season returns, don’t get in a rush to pump your board all the way up. Your seams and their adhesives will have stiffened over the winter, and they’ll need a little time to acclimatize to the warmer air. Pumping your board too full too fast can cause a tear you’ve carefully avoided for months.
Caring for your board will have its reward.
You can start the upcoming water fun season right by doing the right things now. Proper cleaning, drying, inspection and storage practices will guarantee you and your SUP many great seasons out on the water.
It’s never too soon to talk paddleboarding at Flaman Fitness.
Whether you’re looking for winter storage tips or great gift ideas for the SUP-lover on your list, our team of experts can supply the advice and options you need. They’re well-versed in paddleboards, not to mention a wide array of fitness products that can help you greet spring looking and functioning as well as your board. Drop by your nearest Flaman Fitness location and let them show you how it can all go as smoothly as a glide on a warm summer lake.