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How to set up your Starboard Airline Inflatable Paddle Board

Today we hear from Raul, Head of Inflatable Paddle Boards at Starboard HQ. He is going to walk us through teh process of setting up your Airline equipped Starboard inflatable paddle board. A quick refresher of the Airline system. It is patented and exclusive to Starboard and makes use of a pre-set free-floating cable that is affixed to the nose of the board, runs beneath it, and terminates at the fin box. This pre-set cable is marginally shorter than the board, and when the board is inflated, the cable becomes taut, dramatically enhancing the board’s stiffness. In Starboard testing, they found a 3/4″ decrease in hull deflection, and it has received an endorsement from World Champion Starboard Paddler Connor Baxter.

The Airline system currently features on the All Star and Sprint inflatable paddle boards.

Starboard Airline Set Up

Today we’re going to show you how to assemble your All Star Airline board. The first thing you’ll need to do is take your board out of your bag. You want to make sure that the area where you’re going to assemble your board is clear of debris or anything sharp that could harm your board, and is big enough for you to roll out your board completely.

For your board, it is really important that you check the position of the pin in the valve to make sure that it’s on the up position so the air you pump into the board stays inside the board. This is the pin up, and by pushing it, it is down. You want to make sure that it is up. We’re going to start using the double action function of the pump, meaning it’s going to pump on the upstroke and the downstroke, making the first steps of inflation really easy.

For the Airline boards, it’s important to remember that you need to place the nose cone on the front of the board. The nose cone will be assembled with the Tiki logo standing upright, and you want to do this while the board still has less than 5 PSI, but has shape, so assembly is very easy. The Airline loop is going to wrap around the nose cone into the hook, and you want to make sure to assemble it in a position where it’s tight. In this case, we’re going to put it on the third level of tension, and we’re going to continue inflating.

Now, we’re getting close to 8 PSI, and the upstroke is becoming more and more difficult, so it’s time to switch from double action to single action by using this lever. Now, we will only be pumping on the downstroke, and up is going to be very easy. We’re going to continue this way until we have reached 18 PSI, and that’s it. We’ve made it to 18 PSI. Remember when we disconnect the hose, there will be a little release of air, which is completely normal. Make sure to close the dust cap on the valve before you go paddling to keep water and sand from getting into the valve.

Another very important thing to do before you go paddling is to assemble your fin. Otherwise, your board is not going to track. So now, the board is at 18 PSI, the fin is assembled, and the Airline is under complete tension, which can be shown by the fact that I cannot get my finger underneath.

Board Break Down

When you finish paddling, the first thing you want to do before you pack your board is rinse it. You want to remove the saltwater and the sand so your board stays clean and lasts longer.

This might sound obvious, but you might want to remove your fin before you deflate your board and pack it away to make it smaller. To deflate the board, you just remove the dust cap from the valve, and it’s important that you have rinsed your board, otherwise sand would fly out during deflation. Just press the pin down once, and air will start coming out.

Now that the pressure has been removed from the board, it will be very easy to remove the Airline loop from the hook and to remove the nose cone. This is a trick that a lot of people are not aware of, but Starboard pumps have a deflation system that will help you remove all the air from the board, thus making it easier to pack the board in a smaller size. Just put the hose on deflate mode, and in the same way as you did to inflate the board, connect the hose to the board and start pumping.

And now, as you can see, the board is completely flat. There is no air in it, and it will be very, very easy to fold and pack back into the bag. Start by the nose and work your way towards the standing tray area at the center of the board, and then towards the tail. And we’re done, it’s that simple. Happy Paddling!

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.