Inflatable SUP travel
One great advantage of having an inflatable stand up paddle board is that you can easily take it with you for endless inflatable SUP travel adventures …. even on overseas flights!
I recently travelled from Australia to Sweden with my family with a 3-day stopover in our previous “homeland”, Singapore. This was the first time we’d travelled by air with our boards so I thought I’d share some inflatable SUP travel tips and tricks that we learned along the way.
Checking in your iSUP
We flew with Singapore Airlines and had a generous 30kg luggage allowance each. A Kona iSUP in its backpack, including: board, fin(s), paddle and pump weighs between 15-16kg depending on the type of board and paddle. Even though we travelled to Swedish summer, where we have to bring clothes for warm and cold weather, it was no problem to pack within the 30kg allowance.
We each brought our favourite inflatable Kona stand up paddle board:
Sophie, 10yrs: Moloka’i 9’6
Georgina: Namaste 10’3
I (Svante): Cruiser 12’6
To save some weight we decided it was enough to bring just two pumps. We could have done with only one, but then we could inflate only one board at a time and we would have no back up if something happened to any of our bags.
Packing for inflatable SUP travel
Roll up the board and try to get as much of the air out as possible. The boards are not sensitive to hits or any handling that might happen to them at airports, so no special wrapping is necessary.
Take the paddle apart into 3 pieces. There are some areas of a paddle that could be damaged if banged around by airport luggage crew:
- Carbon paddle or Glass/Carbon: if you have a carbon or glass/carbon paddle I strongly recommend that you bubble wrap each piece of the paddle thoroughly. Even though carbon is a very hard material it is not very resistant when hit by other hard objects.
- Glass/Plastic paddle: The Glass/Plastic paddles are not sensitive so it’s not necessary to wrap the whole paddle. There are some areas I recommend to protect and that is the end of the shaft that goes INTO the other part of the shaft, see picture. This part is machined with very tight tolerances and if hit, might get a ding and then it may not be possible to assemble the paddle again.
The pumps pack well in the backpack’s outer pocket without any wrapping and both made the trip without damage.
Almost all taxis in Singapore have limited luggage space. After trying to fit our 3 boards and 2 suitcases in two normal-sized taxis without luck, we realised we needed a maxi-cab. Not a big problem, as Changi airport has an efficient booking service so we got to our friends place without any delay.
Paddling in Singapore
Our friends also have 2 Kona inflatable SUPs, so we decided to take all 5 boards and head to Sentosa. Siloso beach is a perfect place for stand up paddling. Even though we got some heavy rain showers, it didn’t matter since in Singapore the rain is warm! We met up with two more families and had a great day on the beach, taking turns paddling and playing on the boards.
This is what I love about stand up paddle boarding; 4 families, 5 boards, a couple of dogs – family and friends having a great time together that’s active and fun. For me this is what SUP is all about!
Packing up to fly with our iSUPs again
When packing up the boards again, we made sure they were completely dry. Water on the SUPs of course won’t damage them but will make them weigh more. If you pack with little margin to the weight allowance, it’s best to repack dry SUPs for your onward flights.
Inflatable SUP travel has brought a new dimension to our family holidays! I’m already looking forward to our next SUP trip wherever that might be…