When you first start pumping up your inflatable stand up paddle board by Red Paddle Co, you’ll notice that the needle on the pump gauge may not move very much. This can be worrisome until you discover the way the pump, gauge and the valve on the board work.
When you are inflating your paddle board, you first need to twist the valve into the “outer” or one way valve/inflation position. (See the complete inflation video guide.) This is where the board is sealed to outgoing air, but allows ingoing air. If you don’t twist it into this position before you start pumping, you’ll have a two way valve when you try to disconnect the pump and you’ll be back at square one with a deflated board!
Once you’ve set the valve into the correct position, you can attach the pump by twisting and locking it into place. Pump, pump, pump and you’ll see the gauge needle dance around a bit. Once you reach 12-15psi, the needle will hold it’s position a little better, however, the gauge will only read while you are pumping and the air is being pushed into the board. The one way valve in the board does not allow any pressure to be held in the hose and therefore not in the gauge either.
Then once you get the board tight enough, you should be able to see the gauge needle spike to the board’s actual pressure as you pump. The hose may hold some pressure, but you can only tell the true pressure as you pump (mid down stroke) and the valve is open (air is going in). Like I mentioned, it does take some time before the needle starts to move, 12-15psi, so keep that in mind too.
UPDATE: We’ve added new board pressure gauges to our store which give exact measurements, see the K-Pump Kwik Check Pressure Gauge here.
Some first timers will pump for a few minutes, the board takes shape and feels rigid, but the gauge has hardly moved. For the best performance, you want the board as tight as possible so you really need to pump to get the last few psi in there. During my reviews of the 10’6″ Ride and the 10′ Surfer, I managed to inflate the boards in 4min 47sec and 3min 56sec. This had both boards at an ideal 20psi.