If you have an inflatable SUP, you will need a pump to ensure your board is rigid and firm enough to tackle the water. While inflatable SUPs generally come with their own pumps, not all of them are suitable (in fact most of them aren’t!). First and foremost, we’ll take a brief look at how to inflate your board followed by quick reviews of the best paddle board pumps on the market.
|SUP Pumps||Hand Pump/Electric||Rating||Price|
|K-Pump K20 HP SUP Pump||Hand Pump||$$|
|Advanced Elements Pump||Hand Pump||$|
|Bravo BTP Pump||Electric Pump||$$$|
Your 10 Step Guide To Inflating Your Board With a Hand Pump
Basically, you have two options, a hand pump or an electric pump. The downside of an electric pump is you’ll need a power source which means it’s not as portable. Also it is possible to over inflate an inflatable paddle board. Most manufacturers won’t honour their warranty if you damage the paddle board with an electric pump!
Your equipment consists of the SUP, the hand pump, a hose & washer and a pressure gauge.
- Ensure the board is completely flat and unrolled with the top side up as this makes it easier to inflate.
- Attach one end of the gauge to the hose and the other end to the pump; make sure the connections are tight and no air escapes.
- Take off the valve’s protective cap and use the washer to clean off any dirt or debris.
- When pumping, ensure the nipple is in the ‘up’ position to prevent air from escaping and attach the valve by pushing it down and turning it clockwise.
- Begin operating the pump and check the hose to make sure it is not tangled.
- Pump with both hands as this makes it easier to push it all the way down; this pumps the maximum amount of air into the board.
- Typically, 100-125 pumps should give you a pressure reading of 10 psi. The cheapest SUPs on the market are almost firm at this stage but better quality boards often need to be inflated to 12-15 psi.
- If you need to inflate to 15 psi, it should take a maximum of 175 pumps depending on that board. While it is easy to pump to 10 psi, it will get more difficult as you edge towards the 15 psi mark.
- When you are finished pumping, quickly remove the hose and attach the protective cap.
- The rocker on the bow of the board should be several inches off the ground. If it is still flat, this is a sign you need to further inflate the board.
Paddle Board Pumps Reviewed
At $119, the K Pump is far from being cheap but it is more than worth the cost if you own an expensive SUP and want it properly inflated for maximum performance. It has two stages which make it different to most paddle board pumps on the market. Stage one is a low pressure mode and this quickly gets your board to 6 psi. Once it gets tough to pump, you can move on to stage two which is the high pressure mode; this can reach 25 psi so getting to the 15 psi needed for full inflation in most SUPs is easy.
We love the Kwik Check gauge as it makes it simple to check the pressure as you pump; unfortunately, this handy gadget costs extra. As the K Pump is only 3 inches wide, 21 inches long and weighs just 2 pounds, you can take it with you anywhere. Although it costs far more than a hand pump, it is a worthy purchase if you hate hand pumping. It comes with its own storage bag, has a 2 year warranty and can inflate even the largest SUPs with ease.
If you are looking for a bargain paddle board pump, this offering from Advanced Elements may be just the ticket. It costs $35 and unlike with the K Pump, the gauge is free. It is specifically designed for inflatable SUPs.
It’s a little bit bigger to carry around then the K Pump as it 2 feet tall and 6 inches in diameter. Overall it did do a fairly good job of inflating the board. However, it is a hand pump and as we suspected, it got very tough once we hit 13-14PSI. The only other downside is the gauge itself isn’t terrible accurate.
Electric Pump or Hand Pump for Inflating a SUP?
When choosing a paddle board pump, you have to decide if you want to pay extra for an electric model or save money but be forced to pump your board manually and whether it’s worth risking damage to your board.
You have to be realistic, inflatable boards have a huge amount of volume and doing it manually is going to take 10 minutes and the strokes at the end become tough. Personally, I recommend an electric pump but use extreme caution that you don’t over inflate the board.