Getting Ready for Paddle Season: Board Prep is

Last summer, my three inflatable paddle boards were in the water at least once a weekend. Paddle boarding in the summer of 2020 was a wonderful to safely spend time with friends outdoors. I own three boards so that I have options depending on how I want to paddle and so that I can take friends along. I have not regretted the investment in equipment.  I chose inflatable boards because they are the best fit for my home storage options and I can easily haul all three to and from the lake in my hatchback vehicle. 

The boards spent the winter slightly inflated and stacked in my guest room in a way that ensured no weight or pressure was on any of the permanent fins. Storing the boards this way helps prevent any creases made from folding the board to become weak or cracked spots.  Previously I have stored boards rolled for the winter, but I think having them unfurled it better for longevity.

On a warmish April Sunday afternoon, I deflated the boards and took them to a friend’s house. First the boards were washed with dish detergent and a sponge. As soft bristled brush was used on any spots that needed extra attention. The boards are showing wear from the heavy use last summer, so each one was carefully inspected to make sure there were no leaks that needed to be patched. Luckily none of the rubbed spots or scratches needed extra attention. On the water, I am always on the lookout for snags and take care to steer clear of hazards. I walk the board into shore to avoid rocks. I never leave the boards in a hot car nor do I store them in the direct sun. These precautions go a long way in protecting inflatable and hard boards.

After drying the boards, 303 Protectant was used to help avoid cracking and fading. The protectant was only used on the rubber areas and not on the deck pad. The deck pad provides a grip for your feet, adding anything that could make the pad slippery is not a good idea.

After buffing and completely drying, the boards were rolled. They are now in their summer storage spot near my front door so they can be quickly loaded for a day on the lake.

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