Almost every inflatable paddle board comes with a manual pump in the package. But if yours didn’t come with one, can you use your friend’s or partner’s pump to inflate your SUP?
Also, if we’re being honest, manually inflating your paddle board can be quite the task, especially if you’ve carried your SUP some distance to get it to the water. Most of us would probably prefer to use an electric pump, given the choice.
But if you have several paddle boards–maybe one for each family member– you might be wondering if you’ll have to buy a pump for each one, or can you get one pump for all of them?
So the big question is: are paddle board pumps universal?
The quick answer is, no, unfortunately.
Different inflatable boards have different SUP valve types. However, there are adapters that you can use and most pumps come with multiple valve adapters so they can inflate different air valve types.
Can You Use Any Manual or Electric Pump on a Paddle Board?
As mentioned, different paddle boards have different valve types. You can only use a pump if it is designed for your paddle board’s valve type or by using the appropriate valve adapter.
The good news is that you can get a valve adapter easily. Plus, most pumps come with adapters so you don’t have to go through the trouble.
What Are the Different Inflatable SUP Valve Types?
Here are the different valve types you’ll find on inflatable paddle boards.
The Boston valve is more common in inflatable boats and other larger inflatables–not so much in inflatable SUPs. However, it’s still good to know about it, as you might end up with an inflatable with this valve type, especially if you’re an avid SUP fan. Besides, most electric paddle board pumps come with a Boston valve adapter, so it doesn’t hurt to know.
The Boston valve is a one-way valve (meaning that it only allows air to flow in one direction) and it’s designed for easy and quick inflation and deflation.
It has three key parts. The first one, which is the base and is attached to the inflatable boat, the middle part, and a cap that makes the third. It’s really not much more complicated than that.
The middle and first part of the valve are screwed together – so you remove the cap and attach your SUP pump to that middle part to inflate your boat. Since it’s a one-way valve, air can’t flow back out while you’re inflating. Once you’re done, simply screw the cap back on. That’s it!
When you want to deflate your inflatable, just unscrew the middle part and air will start coming out. You can use an electric paddle board pump to suck all the air out–most SUP electric pumps now come with a deflate function.
The Boston valve is that simple.
Halkey Roberts Valve
Most inflatable paddle boards have a Halkey Roberts valve. You’ll find this valve type on many popular SUP brands including Thurso Surf, iRocker, and Bote, among others. It’s also common in inflatable kayaks.
This valve type is simple and easy to use. It has three parts, just like the Boston air valve. There’s the base, which is inside the inflatable paddle board. The middle part is screwed onto the base and it has a pin or piston which is a key part of the valve.
The top (and third part) is the cap which screws onto the middle part.
To inflate your paddle board, unscrew the cap and lift the pin inside of the middle part.
Remember how I said the pin is a key part of the valve? When it’s up, the valve is closed, but when it’s pressed down, the valve is open.
If you inflate your blow-up paddle board when the valve is open, it will lose pressure once you remove the pump, and might not be as rigid as it should be. The video below explains the Halkey Roberts valve perfectly.
Most of the electric SUP pumps on the market are compatible with the Halkey Roberts valve. They’ll also usually come with adapters to make them compatible with the varying types and sizes of this particular valve.
While the Leafield valve is not very common in inflatable paddle boards, it has been around for quite some time and its quality is unmatched. You’ll find the Leafield valve in some inflatable kayaks, river rafts, paddle boards, and other inflatables.
NRS is one popular inflatable brand I know that uses Leafield valves for their products, including inflatable paddle boards.
Leafield Marine are constantly upgrading their air valve designs and they recently developed the D7 inflation and deflation valve and the A9 pressure valve. Each has an internal mesh filter and they’re great for paddle boards.
The Leafield valve works much like the Halkey Roberts. It has a stem or pin and it needs to be in the raised position while you’re inflating your SUP so air doesn’t escape when you’re done. To deflate the board, push the pin down to let the air out.
The Bravo valve is not common in SUPs. You’re more likely to find it in inflatable boats and dinghies.
Nevertheless, many electric paddle board pumps still include a Bravo valve adapter in their packaging.
So, are paddle board pumps universal? Unfortunately, no.
Inflatable paddle boards come with different valve types and a certain pump may be designed for a specific valve type. However, you can use an adapter to make an electric SUP pump compatible with your SUP valve type.
The Halkey Roberts valve is the most common SUP valve type. Most paddle board pumps are compatible with it. Many of the electric pumps I have seen come with multiple adapters so they’ll work with other different valve types as well.