So you got yourself a Vanhunks inflatable SUP? Congratulations, you’re about to begin having some of the best fun there is to have! Now it’s just a case of learning how to use it. In this article, I explain to you everything you need to know about how to use your Vanhunks iSUP and what to do should it need some light repair.
First off, we address some safety aspects and precautions you should take to ensure you’re as safe as possible while on your SUP. Then we give some words to throw caution to the weather and other location red lights. We cover some safety rules and then go on to the inflation, deflation, and correct paddling procedures, as well as some other useful info we have for you, followed by pointers on how to carry out leak detection and do repairs on your inflatable SUP.
Inflatable SUP General Warnings
*A stand up paddle (SUP) board can be a potentially dangerous sport, especially if you’re out in the wrong conditions or locations. There are circumstances that come up unexpectedly, and you will need to think quickly. For instance, when you are learning, you’re going to come tumbling off your iSUP a few times. An inflatable SUP is going to be much more forgiving than an epoxy SUP if you ding your head or another body part in the process of falling off, but you can still hurt yourself. Always be careful when you’re out iSUPing, as misuse of the SUP could result in serious injury, or even death if it’s not your lucky day.
*We strongly recommend only trying out or using the iSUP, or any water sports equipment if you are strong and comfortable in the water, in good health, and can swim. You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of others around you when using the gear. We definitely don’t advocate for doing any water sports while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication; and any children under the age of 18-years-old need to be under supervision while doing it.
Important Safety Guidelines
- Before using your Vanhunks iSUP, consider taking a SUP lesson from a certified school. You’re going to need a few pointers on how to do it properly. Where to place your feet, your stance, efficient paddling, and so on. Always have a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device (PFD) on your SUP with you. It is regulation, and if you get bust without one, you could end up in hot water with the authorities. Also to be on the safe side, just have a PFD ready and available in case you get injured and can’t use your body to swim or get back onto the SUP properly.
- We always insist on using your inflatable SUP with a proper SUP leash. A loose iSUP in the water is extremely dangerous to you, and everyone else around you. Failure to use a SUP leash can result in severe injury or death. Also, check your iSUP leash regularly, and if you see any signs of wear and tear, replace it as soon as you can.
- In cold water or rocky areas, you will also want to wear booties and a helmet to protect yourself, and always head out with someone who has experience with an iSUP.
Weather Conditions & Location Warnings
- Always observe Coast Guard rules and regulations when going out on your iSUP. Never go out SUPing when there are offshore wind conditions, and you really don’t want to be out on your inflatable SUP when there is more than 10 knots of wind. Going SUPing in windy conditions is dangerous and you could get hurt or die. Don’t do it. Even carrying the SUP in windy conditions can end up causing some destruction or injury. Completely forget about even thinking about going out when there are thunderstorms or lightning!
- Make yourself aware of what your capacity is in the water, and never push yourself beyond what you know you’re capable of. This includes but is not limited to high surf, riptides, currents, and river rapids.
- Steer clear of other boat traffic and watercraft, and don’t paddle in crowded waters where there are loads of swimmers.
Inflation Tips and Precautions
- Your iSUP can either be inflated with the hand pump included in the kit or an electric pump. The electric pump can inflate the SUP to moderate pressure and save you so much time by inflating around 90% of the required air volume. You will need to use the hand pump to inflate the chambers to the right pressure.
- Whatever you do, don’t use an air compressor. You can damage your iSUP by overinflating it with an air compressor and damage to your iSUP from this is not covered by your warranty.
- Inflate your isUP with the Vanhunks pump included in the packaging. This pump is fitted with the hose and adapters to fit the valves on the Vanhunks Inflatable SUP.
- Choose a smooth, clean surface to unfold your iSUP.
- Unscrew the valve cap.
- Push the button in and turn it approximately 90 degrees, so it is in the ‘OUT’ position.
- Inflate the hose end piece and inflate until you reach the required pressure.
- After inflation, tighten all the valve caps (clockwise). Only the valve caps ensure the air in the iSUP is sealed tight.
- To release air from the side tubes and bottom floor tube, remove the valve cap and push the button in, before turning it 90 degrees to the ‘IN’ position.
- Before going out for a long SUP trip, we recommend inflating the iSUP for a full 24 hours to ensure it’s holding air. If you notice a consistent decrease in the air pressure/hardness of the iSUP, follow our instructions for leak detection in the Repair section of this post.
The maximum air pressure for the Vanhunks iSUP is 14PSI/.965 bars. DO NOT INFLATE YOUR iSUP BEYOND 14 PSI/.965 BARS.
- Clear any water or debris from out of the valve area, and slowly press down on the valve stem to start letting air out of the iSUP. There will be an initial burst of air (you’ll probably get a fright the first time this happens), which will then slow down. Once the airflow has slowed down, press the valve stem all the way down and turn it clockwise to lock it into the open position.
- Once you’re on the SUP, stand with your feet roughly shoulder width apart in a comfortable stance. Your knees should be loosely bent in a relaxed upright position with your shoulders back, looking straight ahead, not down.
- Your paddle grip should see your top hand on the end of the paddle handle, and your bottom hand approximately 24 inches down the shaft of the handle. In this position, you should be able to paddle in a comfortable forward motion, with arms slightly bent.
- To turn left, concentrate paddling on the right-hand side of the SUP. Paddling on the left-hand side of the SUP will steer it in a right-hand direction.
- You’ll mostly want just cruise around on flat water on your iSUP. It’s not really built for wave riding, so the length of your paddle should be 10 to 12 inches taller than your height for optimal comfort and stroke efficiency while you’re out paddling.
Inflatable SUP Leashes
- Ideally, you’re going to want a leash that’s got the same length as your iSUP. At most, it should only be one foot shorter to give the SUP room to shoot away and not bounce back and hit you on the head if you fall off.
- To set up the iSUP leash, or ‘install’ it, begin by pulling the leash string through the D-link eyelet.
- Fasten the leash string loop to the steel D-rind by looping it.
- Pull the ankle strap through the leash string loop. Open the velcro attachment and feed the flap through the leash string.
- Pull on the leash to ensure the attachment is secure.
- To attach the leash to your ankle, open the velcro ankle attachment and wrap the flaps snuggly around your ankle. Pull on the leash to ensure the attachment is secure.
Inflatable SUP Fin Installation
- You’ll need a Phillips head or a flat head screwdriver to install the center fin, and you can begin by ensuring the center fin box is clean and free of debris.
- Use the screw to slide the metal plate into place, and holding the fin at an angle, insert the metal pin of the fin into the fin box.
- Keep the fin at an angle and slide the fin into position and align the fin screw slot with the screw plate.
- Secure the screw into the fin screw slot, and screw it into the plate.
- Make sure the screw is tight and the fin is securely fastened, but don’t over-tighten it.
Inflatable SUP Leak Detection & Repair
This part may seem a little intimidating at first thought, but it’s not that difficult to pull off. When you bought your Vanhunks iSUP, a repair kit would have been included. If you are losing air pressure not caused by colder temperatures, check the iSUP for leaks, starting at the valves. A leaking valve is rare, but if you do find the valve is leaking, we can hook you up with a replacement valve. Just contact us to sort it out.
To locate a leak, we recommend using soap and water in a spray bottle. Spray around the valve, and if you see bubbles forming, check your valve seating and base, and be sure the valve insert is screwed tight. If you continue to have problems, it’s probably time to order a new valve. Replacement of the valve can be done with a simple tool that comes with the replacement valve.
If your iSUP is losing air and all the valves are good, there is potentially a small puncture. Small punctures can be repaired easily and permanently. With your bottle of soapy water, spray around the inside and outside of the iSUP until air bubbles become visible and mark the position of the leak.
If you don’t find air bubbles, inflate the iSUP to max air pressure and see if you can hear where the leak is coming from by putting your ear close to the iSUP. If you manage to narrow the area down, you can grab your soapy water solution and give that another go to pinpoint the leak area.
Punctures less than 3mm in size can be repaired without a patch quite easily. First deflate your iSUP, and clean and dry the area to be repaired. Apply a small drop of glue (in the kit) to cover the puncture and let it set and dry for 12 hours.
Inflatable SUP Small Repairs
Included in the box with your Vanhunks iSUP is a standard repair kit. If you’ve lost yours or used all the supplies from yours already, you can order a new one from your dealer.
- Check that the iSUP is fully deflated and lies flat.
- Prepare a round patch no less than 3 inches/7cm in diameter.
- Clean the patch and area surrounding the leak with alcohol.
- To control the spread of the glue, use masking tape to protect the surrounding area of the patch.
- Apply 3 thin, even coats of repair kit adhesive to both the surface of the iSUP and the patch. Wait five minutes between each patch.
- After the third coat, wait 10-15 minutes before applying the patch. Use a hand roller to apply the patch evenly. Pay particular attention to the edges to ensure a quality seal.
- Wait 24 hours before reinflating.
If you have a large or difficult repair, call us and we’ll advise on the best course of action to get your iSUP back in action on the water.
Work in a well-ventilated area and avoid inhaling toxic vapors or contact with skin or eyes. Definitely keep all you repair items out of reach of kids. Repairs to the welds of the iSUP must not be glued. Only our manufacturer can perform repairs on the glued seams themselves.
If you’re still not clear on something or need additional advice, feel free to contact us and ask. We anticipate we’ve covered everything you need to know about setting up and using your Vanhunks iSUP, and in the upcoming articles we look forward to teaching you how to care for your new favorite toy properly.