Author Topic: Inflatable SUP longevity study  (Read 3130 times)

blueplanetsurf

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Inflatable SUP longevity study
« on: December 21, 2018, 03:04:37 PM »
At Blue Planet we are all about sharing the stoke and helping people have more fun on the water.  We have been making and selling iSUP's since 2011 and the convenience and portability is hard to beat.
Lately we have been seeing a few iSUP's from several manufacturers with unrepairable damage (mostly leaks at the seams) and I'm curious if this is a common issue or a fluke.  Also if it is related to the climate, how the board is stored, how often it is used, how satisfied users are with their board, and if some brands hold up better than others.

I would like to ask all owners of inflatable boards for a favor, please take a few minutes and fill out the survey at the link below.  If you don't want to fill out the survey, please comment here how long you have owned your inflatable and if you had any issues.  Inflatable SUP's have been around for around 10 years now and I'm curious if anyone has an iSUP that is still going strong after 10 years.  We will compile the responses and publish the results within a month or so, thank you in advance for participating!

https://blueplanetsurf.com/news/inflatable-sup-longevity-survey/

Aloha, Robert Stehlik
« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 03:08:00 PM by blueplanetsurf »
Robert Stehlik
Blue Planet Surf Shop, Honolulu
Hawaii's SUP HQ
http://www.blueplanetsurf.com

kayadogg

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2018, 03:33:15 PM »
Thanks for doing this Robert. Despite owning hundreds of boards, I’ve never owned an inflatable, however, I have two in order that are arriving early next year. Definitely interested to see what the data looks like.

oceanAddict

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2018, 03:58:21 PM »
As a new owner of used iSUP my input could be limited, but I know the board history and planning to enter my info.



Thanks for doing this Robert. Despite owning hundreds of boards, I’ve never owned an inflatable, however, I have two in order that are arriving early next year. Definitely interested to see what the data looks like.
  John, you are welcome to try mine (SIC Air-Glide Bullet 14') when you are back to Boston and have some spare time.
 
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TallDude

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2018, 05:14:34 PM »
I think CapoBeachBoy will have the most experience, seeing he was involved with ULI I think even before SUPs. ULI used to make the lifeguard rescue ski mats.
Jim at ULI would also be a great resource.  https://uliboards.com/product/repairs/
I bought my first ULI years ago which was a 10' ULI Steamroller. Which brings to mind 'SteamRoller'! He'd have a lot of experience as well.
Anyway, the guy who bought from had bought it new couple of years earlier but didn't use it much. He stored it inflated on the side of his house. I had it for about 2 years and used it a lot. I kept it stored under full pressure out of the sun the whole time I owned it. I think I inflated it twice in 2 years. I then sold it to zoner APPST. I think he had some issue with the valve?
I remember ULI making some boards with lighter weight construction and they had issues with the seams leaking. My little brother was in Lake Tahoe camping and a group camping next to them had some cheap brand Isup. It was brand new. They pulled it out of the box, inflated it and left it leaning against a cabin. They took off, and about 15 minutes later my brother watched it blow up and make a huge dust cloud across the camp sites. Maybe they over inflated it?
I have had large heavy duty tarps like the kind the fumigators use. We would cover our construction site which them if it was going to rain. We always rolled them and never folded them until we quit using them. I was going to sell them and I noticed all the folded creases had little cracks that had developed. The stress of being folded caused the cracks to develop.

deepmud

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2018, 07:19:53 PM »
I had to go Icognito to get the surveymonkey site to let me fill out a 3rd form. :D 

The Isups have been great. All 3 usually sit in their bags under the house for the winter.

Area 10

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2018, 02:50:39 AM »
I’ve got one of the original Steamroller 10ft ULI Boards, from when they were first sold. Must be close to 10 years old. Maybe it is. It was actually only the second ever inflatable SUP in the UK. It’s still going strong, stored rolled up, inside in a cool dark place. The deck pad has had to be glued down a couple of times but it still loses less air than my recently-bought iSUPs.

I suspect that keeping the boards cool and out of the sun will be the critical factors to longevity. I live in a cool climate (the UK). Inevitably, also, two layers are likely to be more reliable than one. ULI really built those old boards. As a consequence they are very heavy, by today’s standards. But they sure are durable. Personally I’d rather have heavy and durable than a light board I’m always worrying about. But it’s harder to sell (and prove) durability than lightness.

steamroller

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2018, 10:28:27 PM »


this is THE first inflatable SUP ever made....right when the SUP sport forst started 12 years ago...we have inflatable surfboards going all the way back to 1997 and still surf...i still bring it out once in a while just for S's and G's

blueplanetsurf

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2018, 08:45:55 AM »
Thank you for the responses and to those who did the survey.  Steamroller, that video is a classic!
So far everyone that completed the survey has had no major issues, is still using their board, and is happy with it.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2018, 08:54:12 AM by blueplanetsurf »
Robert Stehlik
Blue Planet Surf Shop, Honolulu
Hawaii's SUP HQ
http://www.blueplanetsurf.com

gcs

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2018, 06:29:56 PM »
I know a guy that rents out all kinds of boards in a hot climate.  Last year someone left an ISUP on a sandbar in the heat and it literally exploded and pretty loudly.  Seam busted and once that happens it seems to repeat even after a repair.  Of course most boards will fail under abuse no matter how constructed.  I wonder if is practical or viable to fill an ISUP with nitrogen like they do with car tires to combat temp variances?  A good white water raft for commercial use can cost 5-10 k and they take incredible abuse.  Durability is attainable.  Seems Red make some of the more reliable inflatable boards? I prefer foam and glass..

deepmud

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2018, 09:48:30 PM »
Thank you for the responses and to those who did the survey.  Steamroller, that video is a classic!
So far everyone that completed the survey has had no major issues, is still using their board, and is happy with it.

I think as the industry moves to welded seams they are going to last until sun exposure causes the material to fail. If we used uv protectant a 15 year old inflatable at full performance might be reasonable as a resale item.

blueplanetsurf

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2018, 11:05:29 AM »
Thank you for the responses, please keep them coming.  We got 14 so far and the more participation we get, the more valuable the results are.  I posted a link that shows the responses we got so far, scroll too the bottom of the page for the results link:
https://blueplanetsurf.com/news/inflatable-sup-longevity-survey/

here is the direct link to the survey results, thanks for participating:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-X7ZYLXK2V/
Robert Stehlik
Blue Planet Surf Shop, Honolulu
Hawaii's SUP HQ
http://www.blueplanetsurf.com

blueplanetsurf

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2019, 02:12:47 PM »
We have 63 survey results so far, thank you to everyone who participated.  I want to make a video about the pros and cons of iSUP's and hope to get some ideas and feedback here.

This is the link to the survey results and they are quite interesting: https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-XW7FB8NCV/

The majority of iSUP owners would buy another inflatable or recommend one to a friend.  In the comments several stated that they have moved on to a hard board.

Would you buy an iSUP or recommend one to a friend?
Robert Stehlik
Blue Planet Surf Shop, Honolulu
Hawaii's SUP HQ
http://www.blueplanetsurf.com

Area 10

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2019, 06:05:10 PM »
I don’t think you can give a blanket answer to that. iSUPs are for travel, city dwellers, family fun, and recreational touring. They can also work ok for flat water racing, if there is special category for inflatables. But they are pretty awful for downwinding, surfing, or any kind of paddling in windy chop. So whether I’d recommend one would depend on what the person wanted to do. ALL the serious or even semi-serious SUPers I know have hard boards, and reserve the iSUP for particular occasions or applications only (eg. lending to newbies or children etc).

They are also inherently less safe than hard boards. I’d never paddle a single-chamber iSUP offshore further than I could comfortably swim.

But if you are a “leisure” rather than a “sport” SUPer, and will be just pootling around in the sun inshore on a nice day, then they can be a fun, cheap, and hassle-free way to do that.

RideTheGlide

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2019, 07:24:43 PM »
I don’t think you can give a blanket answer to that. iSUPs are for travel, city dwellers, family fun, and recreational touring. They can also work ok for flat water racing, if there is special category for inflatables. But they are pretty awful for downwinding, surfing, or any kind of paddling in windy chop. So whether I’d recommend one would depend on what the person wanted to do. ALL the serious or even semi-serious SUPers I know have hard boards, and reserve the iSUP for particular occasions or applications only (eg. lending to newbies or children etc).

They are also inherently less safe than hard boards. I’d never paddle a single-chamber iSUP offshore further than I could comfortably swim.

But if you are a “leisure” rather than a “sport” SUPer, and will be just pootling around in the sun inshore on a nice day, then they can be a fun, cheap, and hassle-free way to do that.

You would be surprised; look up Bart de Zwart's arctic paddle. A lot of people put serious faith in them. I had a few people trying to convince me to get one for open ocean touring. I can't get past that sinking feeling...
Odds are you would be fine in one, but I think even that small chance is too easy to eliminate to accept. I am glad I have my little inflatable for convenience, a loaner and small rivers, but out in the briny blue I am paddling by big hard board.
2016 Naish Glide 14x30 GTW
2017 GoPlus 9'9" x 6" iSUP (generic low end all around)

TallDude

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Re: Inflatable SUP longevity study
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2019, 09:30:19 PM »
I can tell just by the feel, if they are built well or not. The ULI's set the standard for the highest quality (and heaviest material of sups). When ULI tried to go lighter, they had problems. Every one uses 'Drop-stitch' fabric. How thick and how the seams are welded is the make or break components. http://www.duletai.com/product/drop-stitch-fabric/
On the cheap side the Sevylor Isup's were the first I saw people paddling around the harbor on. West Marine was selling the Sevylors with paddle and pump kit for about $300. Once the foamy Wavestorm's SUP's hit the market, the Sevylor's disappeared. My first time and first 6 months of SUP over 10 years ago was on ULI's. Mostly a 15' ULI. All on loan from the ULI rep CapoBeachBoy. I paddled the 15'r pretty far out in the ocean with no PFD. I naively felt safe out there, but those old ULI's do feel indestructible. Being in the 230 lbs range I always sort of 'Taco'd' the inflatables. They have stuck fiberglass batt's in pockets along the rail at mid-board to kind of reduce the taco. Some companies even went to crazy thick (like 8" Tower's) to reduce the Taco effect. Once I was introduced to racing and unlimiteds, it was epoxy only for me. So much faster.
I've surfed the newer ULI's with the wiki rails, and they are fun to surf. But,,, if you surf a lot, you know all the subtleties of what you want for a board to surf the way you like. You won't get that from an inflatable.