Inflatable stand-up paddleboards are a great alternative to regular paddleboards. They are lightweight, packable and a fun way to get outside. Inflating these paddleboards is easy but deflating them so they are compact and easy to manage is another story.

Besides being big and awkward when improperly deflated, not properly removing all of the air can damage your stand-up paddleboard, and end your fun on the water in a hot minute.

In this article, we’ll share with you the correct ways to deflate your inflatable paddleboard. And we’ll talk about the best ways to use both manual and electric pumps to make the job easier.

If you’re considering purchasing a paddleboard, consider reading our other article covering how much an inflatable paddleboard costs.

How to fully deflate an inflatable paddle board

Paddling on the Indian Ocean is a delight in and of itself.
Photo by Aishath Naj / Unsplash

When you are done using your stand-up paddleboard (SUP), you’ll need to let out all of the air. This allows your paddleboard to be safely stashed and packed away for travel or storage. There are two ways that you can deflate your inflatable stand-up paddleboard: manually using your finger or using a pump.

As you start to begin the process of deflating your paddleboard, you need to make sure that you follow the right process, so you protect your paddle board. The first step is to remove the fins and straps from the bottom of the board.

Once you’ve removed the fins and straps, you’ll need to locate the two plugs on the side of the board, located on either end of the board, below the water level. You’ll know you’ve found the right plug if it’s located near an inflation valve stem on the top.

Following the proper steps, deflating your paddleboard is quite easy. However, if you do not proceed the proper way, you can cause harm to your paddleboard and injury to yourself. Our one word of caution is to never use a valve wrench to deflate your paddleboard. This can be very dangerous to you and your board.

Here are the recommended steps to deflate your stand-up paddle board manually:

  1. Start by rinsing the board. Make sure that you remove any sand or other debris from the outside of the board. Debris left on the board can cause damage to the board during storage, or if nothing else, cause it to be messy the next time you want to use it.
  2. Once your board is well cleaned and dried, remove the valve cap, and depress the valve pin. While holding down the valve pin, twist and lock the valve pin in the open position. You’ll hear a loud hiss of air when this is done correctly. It may be surprising the first time it happens. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal, even if it’s a bit of a surprise.
  3. When most of the air is out of the board, you’ll want to start rolling the board up. Start from the nose of the board and roll toward the tail, making sure the fin box is on the outside. This is the easiest way to get all of the air out of the board. Using the strap that came with the board, will keep the roll tight.
  4. With the board completely rolled up, you can now store your paddleboard. Use the storage bag it came with to store the board, fin, leash and paddle. Or tuck them in any bag or backpack that you find to be convenient.

Tips on deflating a paddleboard

Camping in the desert with some Tower paddleboards.
Photo by Tower Paddle Boards / Unsplash

As you are getting your paddleboard ready for deflating and storage, it is helpful to know some handy bits of information that will make caring for and deflating your SUP a bit easier and better for your board.

  • Use a pump if you’re not confident using your hands. Improperly deflating your board by hand can damage your board and can be hard on your hands. You can use an electric pump to make things super easy. Manual pumps also work well, but take some practice. If you don’t have a pump available, you can always sit on the board as you roll, and rock back and forth to remove as much air as possible.
  • Keeping water out of the inside of the paddle board is very important. Water inside of your paddle board, even a small amount of condensation can change the efficiency of inflating and deflating your board. Also, water inside your inflatable paddle board can damage your SUP if you are planning on placing it in storage for an extended period of time, over the winter for instance.
  • Place your SUP on a flat surface when you deflate your board. Make sure there are no sharp objects underneath your paddleboard when you deflate it. This will allow you to evenly press air from the SUP without damaging it.
  • Store your board clean. Whenever you’re storing your paddleboard, make sure it’s completely clean. By washing it off thoroughly after each use will protect it from debris that can damage the paddleboard when stored away.
  • Don’t use harsh cleaning products on your SUP. Many cleaning products have ingredients that can weaken the materials of the board and cause it to deflate and inflate improperly or fall apart totally unexpectedly.
  • Dry your paddleboard well before deflating it. Air dry or use a soft cloth to wipe off any remaining water from when you cleaned it. You don’t want your paddleboard to mold up.
  • Don’t store your paddleboard in sunlight. This is probably one of the most important tips on this list. You want to make sure you don’t store your paddleboard in direct sunlight. UV degradation can damage the materials your paddleboard is made of.
  • Don’t stack heavy things on top of your paddleboard. This can harm the balance of the board and make it travel improperly. If you have limited space, and can’t store your board inflated without stacking items on top, deflate the board and roll it into a compact package.
  • Take your time when deflating your paddleboard. Using too much pressure or going too fast can pop your inflatable SUP. Also make sure you keep sharp objects away from your board. Even fingernails can harm your SUP – so go slow and take your time deflating it.

Follow these tips and you can rest assured that your SUP will last a good long time. Like with any piece of outdoor gear, taking care of your paddle board will ensure that it stays stable and provides you years of fun and enjoyment.

How long does it take to deflate a paddleboard?

Inflating your paddleboard is easy and it doesn’t take a ton of time. However, it is important that you take your time to deflate it properly. Rushing through deflating your SUP can cause damage.

Even if you take your time and follow the steps that we’ve provided, it should only take a matter of minutes to completely deflate your inflatable SUP.

How long it takes to deflate your paddleboard essentially comes down to how good you are at deflating it and how big your paddleboard is. But generally you should be able to fully deflate your paddleboard within a few minute.

We’ve written another article covering which size paddleboard to get.

Should you deflate your paddleboard after use?

It isn’t necessary to deflate your SUP after every use. If you’ll be using it after just a couple of days, leave it inflated, but make sure you clean it well to protect it from damage.

However, if you are putting your board up for the winter or an extended period, deflating it is a great way to protect it from damage and allow you to store without taking up too much space.

Do make sure that you store your deflated board in a cool dry place. Heaters and sunlight can damage your board. So tuck it in a proper place where it is protected and will be ready to use, when the next adventure calls your name.

What are the benefits of storing your paddleboard deflated?

Photo by Alireza Khatami / Unsplash

While it may seem easier to store your paddleboard inflated, there are some benefits to storing your paddle board deflated.

  • More space for all your stuff. If storage space is an issue for you, you’ll soon see the greatest benefit for deflating your paddleboard. If you don’t have a large garage or other storage area that can manage your inflated SUP, it’s worth the time to deflate it when you put it in storage.
  • Extends the life of your board. Deflating your paddle board when placing it in storage is a great way to extend the life of your inflatable SUP. Pressure changes, the potential for sharp objects to puncture your board or even just accidentally having something heavy set on your board, can all be avoided just by deflating your SUP.
  • You’re able to transport it easier. When you’ve learned how to deflate your paddleboard properly, you’re able to bring it with you in your SUV, in your RV, or even in your micro-car. It’s a lot easier transporting a deflated paddleboard than a 10-feet long board.

You need to consider your particular benefits and downfalls of deflating your paddle board. If you don’t have a pump in your home, it may be more beneficial to store it inflated.

However, if space is a concern, deflating your inflatable SUP is a better solution. Just remember, your paddleboard will hold air for a very long time without losing shape or its functionality.

Final thoughts

If you are new to owning an inflatable stand-up paddleboard you may be apprehensive to deflate it for the first time. Don’t worry however, the process is easy, and deflating your inflatable SUP is a very good thing for protecting your investment. The more you deflate your inflatable SUP the easier it will become, and the more efficient the process will be.