Do Inflatable Paddle Boards Sink?
The question “Do inflatable paddle boards sink?”, seems rather ridiculous at first glance, until you realize that paddling an inflatable paddle board is similar to paddle a balloon. YES, inflatable paddle boards can sink.
WHY INFLATABLE PADDLE BOARDS CAN SINK
It’s all about the seams.
All inflatable paddle boards have multiple seams running the entire length of the board. Every seam is held together by glue. Yes GLUE! If the glue fails, the board can instantly deflate leaving the paddler no choice but to swim to shore. That’s not a big deal if you’re 100 feet from shore, but most people would have difficulty swimming 1 mile back to safety.
A deflated paddle board will not offer the paddler any buoyancy. Without air, it is nothing but a large ripped plastic bag that will fill with water and sink to the bottom.
IS SINKING REALISTIC?
Yes, there is a REAL chance that an inflatable paddle board might sink. Paddle boards will not puncture when floating on open water, but the seams might split and cause instant deflation.
Split and leaking seams is such an issue for inflatable paddle boards that a Google search on the topic “inflatable paddle board seam repair” yielded 750,000 results. Amazon has more than a dozen different repair kits for sale. Clearly, these results indicate that split seams on inflatable paddle boards are an issue.
More importantly, in July and August of 2022, The UK Government’s Office for Product Safety and Standard issued two recalls for inflatable paddle boards for defective seams. The August recall specifically states the risk of drowning due to faulty glue.
IS THERE AN ALTERNATIVE?
Yes, there is an alternative to sinking and possibly drowning. It’s called a rigid paddle board.
There is zero chance of a rigid paddle board deflating in the water. No matter what happens while out paddling on a hard paddle board, you will always have the safety provided by a hard, solid surface to climb upon. A hard board will not sink. In fact, if it snapped in half, it would still be buoyant and provide a level of safety. This is something that an inflatable just can’t do.
There is a definite possibility that inflatable paddle board will burst a seam and sink, and that just isn’t something that will happen to paddlers on rigid boards. If you choose to paddle an inflatable SUP, you should take precautions. Never paddle further away from shore than you can comfortably swim to safety, and always wear a PFD. When the seam on the inflatable board suddenly gives out, a PFD may save your life.
The Wappa Blog
Written by Wappa's founder Layne Pennell, the blog's aim is to educate and share his love of stand up paddle boarding with anyone interested in SUP.
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