Flying With Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards

A lot of people have been asking us at Treetown Boards about inflatable SUPs and how easy it is to travel with them. On a recent trip down to the Baja peninsula of Mexico we packed two Jimmy Lewis inflatable stand up paddle boards, a Maestro Air at 10'3"x33" and a Stiletto Air at 12'6"x29". We documented the process and have some good pointers for anyone thinking of flying with their inflatables.

 The Jimmy Lewis Stiletto Air rolls up into a compact size. Leaving lots of room in the included backpack to accommodate the pump, three piece adjustable paddle, fin, repair kit, leash, and inflatable pfd belt. 

The Jimmy Lewis Stiletto Air rolls up into a compact size. Leaving lots of room in the included backpack to accommodate the pump, three piece adjustable paddle, fin, repair kit, leash, and inflatable pfd belt. 

 We took the pump air pressure gauge off before packing it up. Because it is such an important part of pump, we wanted to make sure it was not damaged during transport. It then fit nicely into the repair kit tube. We packed some teflon tape for reassembly once at our destination. 

We took the pump air pressure gauge off before packing it up. Because it is such an important part of pump, we wanted to make sure it was not damaged during transport. It then fit nicely into the repair kit tube. We packed some teflon tape for reassembly once at our destination. 

 We packed the entire filled backpack into this large size rolling duffle bag. We did this so it would be easier to roll through the airport as well as help protect the board during transit. Even with some extras thrown in (snorkel gear, shower kit) the bag weighed 48 pounds. We were charged the regular checked bag fee ($25 each on Delta) to fly down to Mexico. 

We packed the entire filled backpack into this large size rolling duffle bag. We did this so it would be easier to roll through the airport as well as help protect the board during transit. Even with some extras thrown in (snorkel gear, shower kit) the bag weighed 48 pounds. We were charged the regular checked bag fee ($25 each on Delta) to fly down to Mexico. 

The Jimmy Lewis Maestro Air is packed in its standard backpack. We added a set of rolling wheels and two luggage straps for security and ease of transport. For an added layer of protection we wrapped the Maestro in a piece of marine grade vinyl. The vinyl doubled as a roof protector once we were in Mexico. 

 The Stiletto Air is unrolled and unpacked in Mexico.

The Stiletto Air is unrolled and unpacked in Mexico.

 We decided to pump up the inflatables in our hotel room, to take advantage of the shade and air-conditioning. We used the luggage straps together to secure the boards to the roof of our rental car. We only had to drive a few blocks down to the beach at pretty slow speeds. It would not be recommended to travel like this very far or fast without additional strapping.

We decided to pump up the inflatables in our hotel room, to take advantage of the shade and air-conditioning. We used the luggage straps together to secure the boards to the roof of our rental car. We only had to drive a few blocks down to the beach at pretty slow speeds. It would not be recommended to travel like this very far or fast without additional strapping.

 Down at the beach we are all loaded up and ready to roll. The gear nets at the front of both boards are really sturdy and could handle a lot of cargo. 

Down at the beach we are all loaded up and ready to roll. The gear nets at the front of both boards are really sturdy and could handle a lot of cargo. 

 We found the backpacks pretty easy to carry. At around 32 pounds you don't forget that you are carrying it but it wasn't too tough either despite walking in a lot of sand. 

We found the backpacks pretty easy to carry. At around 32 pounds you don't forget that you are carrying it but it wasn't too tough either despite walking in a lot of sand. 

 On another outing we used the shade of a random beach palapa while inflating the boards. In total it took less than 10 minutes to pump up both boards to around 15psi. The last few pounds of pressure take a bit of muscle, but once you get into a rhythm it's not bad. 

On another outing we used the shade of a random beach palapa while inflating the boards. In total it took less than 10 minutes to pump up both boards to around 15psi. The last few pounds of pressure take a bit of muscle, but once you get into a rhythm it's not bad. 

 The greatest payoff was being able to SUP in areas that were a bit off the beaten path, and having the water all to ourselves. 

The greatest payoff was being able to SUP in areas that were a bit off the beaten path, and having the water all to ourselves. 

Overall, flying the inflatables out of the country was pretty easy and economical. They arrived at their destination and back home in great shape. Next time I would get another large size rolling duffle to pack the Maestro in. Even though it is a shorter board, because it is wider, it takes a bigger bag when rolled up. Probably one that is at least 36"-38" long, would fit well. Having our own equipment was amazing. The Jimmy Lewis inflatables were far superior to some of the rental equipment that was available. We used our boards almost every day to explore new places. The versatility of the inflatables was great, and the fact that they fit with additional luggage into a small sized rental car was even better. Anyone thinking of traveling to destinations with water should strongly consider grabbing a pair of these boards. We saved money on rentals, the size of the car we needed, and space. Both inflatable models also work great back home in Ann Arbor, with all the flat water paddling around town. Anyone living in a apartment, condo, dorm room, or other tight living quarters could easily store these boards out of way for use around town, and basically all over the world. If you have any specific comments or questions about traveling with inflatable boards please feel free to reach out to us via email or comment directly on this post. We have both inflatable models currently for sale. If you are interested in trying one out before you buy, email us to set up a free private demo. I know the weather in Michigan does not currently resemble the tropical landscape of this post, but summer is right around the corner. With our financial partners at Synchrony Bank, we can offer special interest financing for up to 12 months, to qualified individuals. Save cash and SUP the world! Aloha, 

Ryan

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