Skip to Content

Inflating Paddle Boards: How To Know When Full?

The inflatable paddle board industry is rapidly expanding, and boards are becoming more solid, resilient, rigid, and stable than ever before. 

Inflatable stand-up paddleboards are a lot of fun to use and are very easy to transport store, and travel with. It is critical to inflate your board to the proper PSI to get the best performance out of it.

If you have doubts about how much to inflate a paddleboard and know when it’s full, then this article is for you. Continue reading to find out!

What is PSI?

As an owner of an inflatable paddleboard, you must be familiar with PSI. PSI stands for pounds per square inch. It tells you how much air to put on your paddleboard.

You want a fully inflated board and safe to use on the water, but not one that is so overfilled that it may pop if you apply too much pressure to it with your feet.

How much air pressure do you need to inflate your inflatable paddleboard? 

The recommended PSI for an inflatable paddleboard is 10 to 15 PSI, with a maximum pressure of 25 PSI. The average inflatable paddleboarder will inflate their board to 12 PSI or higher.

The PSI of the inflatable board can range from 10 to 20 PSI. Basically, the higher the PSI number, the harder the board. Making certain that your SUP is properly inflated will ensure: that it performs well, that it is as stable as possible, that it does not flex in the middle, and that it can support the appropriate amount of weight for its size.

It is critical to inflate your board to the proper air pressure. Here are several factors that are all influenced by the PSI of your paddleboard.

How Much Weight Can It Support?

Assume you’re standing on a floor made of inflatable material for the sake of this example. What do you think will happen if the material isn’t inflated to the proper air pressure and you step on it?

An underinflated floor will feel wobbly, whereas an overinflated floor will be too hard and unyielding. In either case, the inflatable material will be unable to support your weight.

Consider the inflatable floor to be your paddleboard. Because you’re still standing on it, the same premise applies here. You won’t feel safe on the water if it can’t support your weight because it’s been inflated too little or too much.

You can’t trust what’s beneath your feet, which increases your chances of falling off your board. So you may want to;

Check whether it’s straight across or has a bend in the middle

It may appear that you inflated your paddleboard perfectly…except in the middle. There’s a bend there that you can’t get rid of no matter what. The board’s two ends are firm, but the middle is a little mushy. That is not acceptable.

As previously stated, riding on a wobbly inflatable paddleboard can result in many falls into the water. It’s not enjoyable, and it can even be dangerous.

Examine its Dependability

Inflatable paddleboards are a viable alternative to epoxy fiberglass, thermoplastic, and other materials. You will not have to bother about stability with those boards, and the same should be true of inflatable boards.

However, you can only enjoy consistent stability if you fill your board with the proper PSI.

Check its Efficiency

An unstable inflatable paddleboard not only makes for an uncomfortable, if not dangerous, riding experience but also reduces your performance. The board lacks the firmness necessary to glide through the water as easily as it should.

Consider a swimming pool with an underinflated inner tube. Because there isn’t enough air, it just puddles around you if you sit on the tube. It’s not very useful. The same holds for an inflatable paddleboard with the incorrect PSI.

You won’t be able to break any speed records with it.

How To Know When Full?

The maximum pressure you should ever use to inflate a paddleboard is 25 PSI. However, that’s a lot of air pressure. Given the size of inflatable paddle boards and how quickly they fill, you should never get close to 25 PSI. There isn’t any reason for it.

But what’s the harm? With that much pressure, one of two things can happen. For one thing, as previously stated, your board is prone to popping or exploding. It is possible to overdo it with inflatables, as with anything else. Too much air puts pressure on the inflatable’s walls, causing them to pop when you step on it for a ride.

Assume you overfilled your inflatable paddle board but it did not blow up. Another issue with inflating your board to 25 PSI is that many inflatable paddle board manufacturers rarely test their products above that pressure. If something goes wrong, even the manufacturers won’t help.

If you like to fill up your paddleboard with a hand pump, you’ll notice that doing so becomes extremely difficult once you exceed 15 PSI. Another reason to avoid a higher PSI.

Pumping more air into the SUP board may become extremely difficult as the inflatable paddle board fills with air pressure.

This isn’t just you getting tired. When the board reaches a certain point of fullness, each pump you make becomes more difficult. This can make finishing a difficult task.

What If My Inflatable Paddle Board Is Saggy? 

So far, you’ve figured out the PSI range for inflating your paddleboard. The issue is that it becomes saggy when you fill up the board. Sometimes it’s just in the center, and other times it’s all over. When you try to stand on your inflatable paddleboard, it sinks like an old mattress in the middle.

In such a case, what are your options? You can use Red Paddle Co.’s Rocker Stiffening System (RSS) for starters. These battens increase the stiffness of your inflatable paddle board by up to 40% in some cases, increasing its weight capacity.

If RSS battens are not an option for you, our other solution for a saggy inflatable paddleboard is to increase the pressure.


To conclude, for the best SUP experience, you should know how much air your paddleboard requires (many brands print this information on or near the valve) and get the proper PSI inside. I have a list of the best pumps for paddleboards here if you need to get a better or faster pump!

If you choose to leave after inflating, you are free to do so. Again, because of its quality construction, you can be confident that it will stay inflated for extended periods without losing integrity if you do not deflate it at the end of each session.

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!

For the majority of the season, your boards can be stored on the roof of your van. Which begs the question, why are inflatables used at all? They’re simply more durable and robust than hard boards. And when you’re having fun with your kids on rivers, shingle beaches, rocky shores, etc., then toughness is essential.