Tis' the season for vacation traveling. Masses of people escaping the harsh winters and jetsetting off into a much warmer sunsets. While laying on the beach is a nice escape from reality, there is only so much laying around you can take... and only so many pina coladas you can drink (or at least should drink.)
Instead of being a pile of laziness this vacation, have some stand up paddle board fun. Just because you've packed away your SUP for the winter doesn't mean you have to wait until summer to take it back out. Traveling with an inflatable SUP is easier than ever and a great reason to give it some winter action.
Here are the top things to keep in mind for when you decide to travel with your iSUP.
Inflatable over Hard Board
We suggest flying with an inflatable board over a hard board. It's much easier to check an inflatable in a bag as a second suitcase versus having to pay much more to check a hard board. On top of that, the chances of unpacking a damaged or dinged hard board is unfortunately very high.
Fees vary from airline to airline for checked luggage but generally is not very expensive. When you compare this price to the amount you would have to dish out to rent a board per hour, the small checking fee is most definitely worth it. That said, be sure to check dimension requirements for your airline to make sure your bundled board, paddle and pump meet the requirements. Airlines will tag on spendy additional fees for going outside of their dimension requirements. It's important to be aware of those in order to avoid them.
Most inflatable SUPs will clock in at under 50 pounds, with the pump, paddle and fins included. Every brand is different, so check with the board brand you own. Tower's Adventurer and Adventurer 2 will meet the dimension and weight requirements of most airlines.
It's a simple process of checking your board -- just as checking a regular suitcase. Once they weight it in and you pay the luggage fees, they will take it from there. We suggest that you put a luggage tag somewhere on the board bag with your name, address and phone number -- just in case something happens in transit.
You're going to want a sturdy carrying bag for convenience and protection of your board. You can either purchase Tower's convenience carrying backpack or find a large duffle to put the rolled up board in. The backpack does not have wheels but is easy to maneuver as is. We love the backpack because this allows us to roll our second suitcase.
Packing Your iSUP
Make sure you iSUP is completely deflated, you can even keep the air valve open to ensure there is no trapped air. Begin rolling the board tightly starting at the head and rolling towards the tail -- the fin box should be facing out. Secure the board with the provided carrying strap.
You'll also want to consider an easy to pack paddle, pump and fin. We suggest a three-piece adjustable paddle, which will be simple to break down and place in the carrying bag or duffle. The pump should also be able to disassemble so it can nicely fit in the bag, along with the fin. These shouldn't cause uncomfortable bulges that are going to shift and make the carrying process much easier.
Things you may want to think about bringing with would be a leash, patches, glue and a lifejacket, if you have extra room. A leash is fairly simple to place somewhere in your luggage without occupying very much space. The patches and glue are essential -- you never know what will happen while your bag is checked. You don't want to arrive in paradise with a hole in your board after all.