As we enter into the winter season the fair weather paddlers among us will most likely be thinking about packing their paddleboards or inflatable kayaks away for the winter until the warmer weather returns again in the spring. There are a few simple steps that you can take before packing your kit away to make sure that your stand up paddleboards and kayaks are in great condition when you come to use them again next year.
Clean your board:
Before deflating and packing your paddleboard or kayak away give it a good clean and get any sand, grit and dirt off the whole SUP to maintain the condition of your paddleboard and kayak. Remove the fin and pay close attention to the fin box as grit can build up in there over the season and make it hard to put the fin back in next year. Also make sure you wash off your accessories including the leashes, paddles, kayak seats (especially any metal clips) & fins. Two and three piece paddles can seize up if they are left with salt water or dirt on them so ensure that you take these apart and wash down the clamps. There are a number of products available on the market that you can get to clean and preserve your inflatable SUPs and kayaks. The most popular are August Race products and SUP scrub but if you do not want to buy these then washing up liquid always does a good job. Once your paddleboard has had a thorough clean you will want to make sure all of the kit is dry before storing it away for the winter season.
Check your paddleboard & accessories for any issues.
Whilst you have your paddleboard pumped up to clean it, it is best to catch any issues and carry out the maintenance so that they do not start to get worse. Check the valve is tight and that there are no leaks or significant marks or defects on the board so that when you get your paddleboard out after winter it will be ready to get out on the water as soon as the sun returns. If there is anything you are concerned about send us over some photos and we would be happy to advise and sort under the products' warranty if necessary.
Find a suitable location to store your paddleboard or inflatable kayak.
When you are ready to pack your paddleboard away ideally you will want to find a warm and dry location indoors away from sharp objects and without extreme temperature variations. Attics, storage cupboards and garages are all ideal places. If you aren’t lucky enough to have any of these and need to keep the board outside, then getting a waterproof storage box is a good idea. Wherever you decide to store your inflatable paddleboard or inflatable kayak make sure it is not sharing the space with any rodents that could chew through the materials. Mice love PVC!
Storing your paddleboard or kayak deflated.
Most of us have inflatable paddleboards and kayaks because we do not have space to store rigid SUPs and boats so will likely want to store them deflated in their storage bags; after all this is what they are designed for and what makes them so practical. When packing them away try to avoid folding them away too tightly to avoid creating pressure points. For paddleboards do not wrap the coiled ankle leash around the board as this can cause the leash to become damaged over time. If you are storing your kit in a location where the weather drops below 0°C and you get a perfect winters day and decide that you want to go out for a paddle it is advisable to bring it indoors to room temperature to avoid the cold PVC materials becoming too stiff when you unroll it to pump up. In these conditions it is also important to make sure the board is completely dry to avoid water freezing on the paddleboard which can affect the longevity of the deckpad and other materials.
Can inflatable paddleboards and kayaks be stored inflated?
If you have the space to store your paddleboard inflated for the winter this is perfectly fine. Again, choose a warm, dry location and make sure the board is not stored in sunlight or near heat sources such as radiators. Some people choose to store them on SUP racks keeping them off damp floors and freeing up floor space. Ideally release a couple of PSI out of both kayaks and paddleboards in case there are any temperature variations and to reduce the strain on the seams. Remove the accessories including fins and ankle leashes to avoid strain on the kit. Remember to add the extra pressure back into the SUP or kayak before you head back out on the water.
When the weather improves and the time comes to go paddling again it is a good idea to check over all of your kit before you head out to make sure that no damage has occurred while it has been in storage for the winter and that it is ready for another summer of adventures.