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Filling Inflatable SUPs [ Manual Issues & Top Pumps ]

Many people like inflatable stand-up paddleboards (iSUP) over solid ones for the convenience they provide. But, if you are someone who has never used them, you might be wondering how hard is it to inflate a paddleboard?

Inflating an iSUP is not that hard at all. If you use an electric pump, it will take you only a few minutes to fully inflate your board with minimum effort. However, using a hand pump instead of an electric one will require some effort and time to get the job done.

Here, I will discuss how you can inflate your iSUP properly and point out some issues you might face when doing that. I will also recommend some of the best pumps that you can get for your iSUP. So, without further ado, let’s begin!

How Do You Inflate Your Inflatable Paddle Board?

To inflate your iSUP, place the board’s valve pin in the upright position, attach the hose of the pump tightly to the valve and start pumping. When the pump reaches the recommended pressure level, disconnect the hose, put the valve cap back in its place, and that’s it. Now you’re ready to paddleboard.

Inflatable stand-up paddleboard (iSUP) owners usually inflate their boards when they arrive at the paddling spot. That’s because it is much easier to transport an uninflated board rather than carrying an inflated iSUP from home.

Now, as for inflating your board, you can use two types of pumps – hand pumps or electric pumps. Usually, beginners start with hand pumps. But they require you to manually pump air into the board. This is not only time-consuming but also requires a lot of energy. That’s why experienced paddlers often shift to electric pumps.

However, no matter what type of pump you use, the process for inflating your iSUP is pretty much the same for both. Here, I’ve shared a step-by-step guide on how you can inflate your inflatable paddle board. Let’s have a look at it.

Step 1: First of all, take your deflated board out of the travel bag and unroll it completely.

Step 2: Next, check if the pin in the valve is in the upright position or not. In most cases, the pin comes in yellow color. If the pin is in the upright position that means the valve is closed.

Step 3: Now take the hose of your pump (hand pump or electric) and connect it to the valve and twist it counterclockwise to lock it. Then connect the other end of the hose to the “Out†port of your pump. Double-check if the hose is tightly connected or not. Otherwise, there you will lose a lot of air during the pumping process.

Step 4: Now start pumping air into your paddleboard. If you’re using a hand pump, you will need to keep a close eye on the pressure gauge. Keep pumping until you reach your paddleboard’s recommended pressure level. In the case of an electric pump, you can set the pressure level. When the pump achieves that PSI, it will stop pumping automatically.

Note: Usually, most iSUP manufacturers recommend 15 PSI pressure for the board. But achieving this with just a hand pump can prove to be quite difficult. Keep pumping until the pressure gauge reads 12-15 PSI. At least make sure you reach a minimum of 12 PSI to get decent performance from your board.

Step 5: Once you reach the recommended pressure level, twist the hose clockwise to disconnect it from the valve. Then put the valve cap back on.

Step 6: Disconnect the other side of the hose and pack your gear. Now you are all set to start paddling.

Issues When Inflating Your Inflatable SUP

When you inflate your paddleboard, you might run into several problems. Some of these issues are described here:

Having an Under Inflated Paddle Board

Typically, the recommended pressure limit for most iSUPs is 15 PSI. Any less than that means the board is underinflated and you might not get the maximum performance out of it. If the pressure is too low, your board will feel soft and easily bend in ways it shouldn’t.

As mentioned before, the air pressure inside your iSUP should be at least 12 PSI to get decent performance out of it.

Another thing to mention here, weather conditions can also impact the pressure level in the iSUP. If you leave your board outside on a sunny day, the temperature will increase its pressure. Similarly, cold water can reduce your board’s pressure. So, it is always best to carry a pump with you to top off your board to keep its pressure level within the recommended PSI range.

Overinflating Your Board With Electric Pumps

Electric pumps can quickly inflate your iSUP. But it is also very easy to inflate your board with too much air with these pumps. And overinflating your board is never recommended as this can cause damage to it. To avoid such circumstances, it is better to use a hand pump alongside the electric one.

Try to fill up your board with air up to 11 PSI using the electric pump and then switch to the hand pump to fill the rest. This might require you to waste some energy but it’s worth it. This will put you in full control during the pumping process.

Also, if you are using an electric pump that plugs into your car battery, make sure your car is running while the pump is operating. Otherwise, there is a chance that your pump will drain your battery completely dry.

Loose Valves

With continuous use, the valve in the inflatable paddle board can sometimes become loose. In that case, you will need to tighten it again. Otherwise, air will be leaking out through the loose valve.

The fix isn’t that complicated. Every iSUP comes with its own repair kit. And this kit often includes a valve tightener. Just use it to tighten the valve and lock it back to its original place. This should get rid of the problem.

Tears and Leaks

Leaks and tears are the most common issues with any inflatables. Although most iSUPs are built quite strong and durable, these problems do occur to almost any paddleboard.

The best way to avoid such a problem is by taking good care of your board. Keep your board clean from any dirt, don’t leave it directly under direct sunlight for a long time, and be careful not to drag your board on gravel or rocky surfaces too much.

If you can maintain your board properly, you won’t face leaking and tearing issues that often.

Best Pumps for Inflatable SUPs

Paddlers use hand pumps or electric pumps to inflate their boards. But if you want to make your life easy, you should definitely go for electric pumps. However, there are lots of options available in the market for you to choose from. Some perform really great and some perform average. Here I’ll be listing a few of the best pumps that you can choose for your iSUP.

Sevylor SUP Pump

First, comes the Sevylor SUP pump. It’s got a 12V motor and pumps at up to 15 PSI. It’s quite compact as well so considering its size and of course the price, I am thoroughly amazed at what it can do.

One feature I personally liked was the auto shut-off feature that stops the pump as soon as it reads a certain pressure that you select.

SerenLife Electric SUP Air Pump

If you have the cash to spend, the SerenLife Electronic SUP Air Pump is the best air pump you can get. It’s super compact and no bigger than a handbag.

It also has a rechargeable battery and can work without being hooked up to a power source. That is something most other pumps don’t offer.

The pump goes up to 16 PSI and has tons of convenient features to complement its high price tag. So, if you want the best of the best, get the SerenLife Electronic SUP Air Pump.  

Texsport Double Action Hand Pump

When you are out paddleboarding, relying on electricity can be a bargain. Many people don’t want to bother with that. If that’s you, then the Texsport Double Action hand pump is exactly for you.

This Canadian hand pump is compact, lightweight, and most importantly super cheap. And if you check out the Amazon reviews for this pump, you’ll see that it’s quite well received by its users.

Other than that, there is not much to say about this one. It’s a simple and straightforward pump devoid of any bells and whistles. And that is something that appeals to many paddle boarders.

OutdoorMaster 20PSI High Pressure SUP Air Pump The Shark

If you are looking for a top-of-the-line, high quality, long life, fast inflation then the Shark is the best way to go. The Shark is made to churn out up to 3 boards in a row without exhausting itself so if you go out as a family or like to help out others this is near perfection!

The Shark also features an automatic dual-stage pump: during the 1st stage it fills at its maximum speed of 350L/min then moves onto the 2nd stage of maximum pressure which runs at 70L/min.

The Shark also features an auto-off function to turn off the pump once the target pressure is reached while inflating.

This is currently a Prime fast shipping option and has amazing reviews!


So, how hard is it to inflate a paddleboard? Not much. Considering you have a good quality pump and know the proper methods, you’ll get your iSUP pumped and ready for action in no time. Just make sure you follow the steps I’ve provided and you don’t have to worry about a thing.

If you are just starting to look into paddleboarding we have a wide selection of guides to help assist you in finding the best option to suit your needs, check them out here!

I really hope this article was informative enough to help you with pumping your iSUPs. Thanks for stopping by.