Drop Stitch construction is what allows an inflatable SUP to maintain its shape when it is inflated to high pressure. Without drop-stitch, the board would bulge out in the middle like an over-inflated air mattress.
Drop Stitch technology has been used in the aeronautical industry to make inflatable airplane wings. In fact, Goodyear created an inflatable plane for the military in the 1950’s. Though the US military abandoned the inflatable plane project (nobody wanted to fly an aircraft that could be brought down with a bow and arrow), SUP manufacturers were able to capitalize on the drop stitch technology that was used to distribute tension across the entire surface of the wing.
Using tens of thousands of tough polyester threads, drop stitch technology lets us build inflatables with flat surfaces that can be inflated to rock-hard rigidity. You get hard-shell performance along with the easy transportation and storage of an inflatable.
The process starts by joining two pieces of polyester woven support fabric with thousands of fine polyester thread lengths. This base material is made in strips from five to ten feet in width. Up to 400 needle heads may be used in the setup. Each needle sews a continuous, evenly spaced thread, back and forth between the two pieces of woven fabric, locking them together into an incredibly strong unit. These drop-stitch sewing machines are marvels of complexity. When a change is made in the spacing distance between the two pieces of woven fabric, it can take over 20 days to remove and replace the required needles.
Our SUP OnTheFly boards use the toughest drop-stitch materials in the industry. Our sidewalls use two PVC layers specifically manufactured for superior air holding. Unlike typical PVC tarpaulin, the specialized sidewall material features internal fibers coated in liquid PVC before incorporation with the outer PVC layer, making the layers more durable and resilient than ever before.
This incredibly strong construction allows SUP OnTheFly to offer a three year manufacturer’s warranty instead of the standard three month to two year warranty offered by other inflatable SUP manufacturers.