Earlier this month, we received our first shipment of 2018 Red Paddle Co inflatable paddle boards with updated Titan pumps. First developed in 2015, the Titan pump was touted as a game-changer, with the ability to cut inflation time in half.
For years, the standard inflatable SUP pump was the Bravo HP single-action, high volume/low pressure pump, a squatter, thick-barrel single-action pump designed to put in more air volume, which in turn took more effort to reach higher pressures. Higher pressures in an inflatable board vastly improve the board performance, by increasing rigidity (reducing flex).
In 2013, Red Paddle Co introduced the HP EZee single-action, low volume/high pressure pump, a taller, thin-barrel single action pump designed to put in less air per stroke, thus allowing one to more easily pump to higher pressures. As the pros and cons of each are obvious – one fills a board up more rapidly, while the other takes longer but is less of a struggle to reach 18-20 PSI – numerous paddlers opted to purchase both pumps. In response, some manufacturers expanded the slim-barrel design to a double-action pump, putting air in on the up and down stroke. While theoretically this will put air in twice as fast, in actuality it becomes a struggle on the “up” stroke.
In 2015, Red Paddle debuted the Titan pump. What made the Titan different? The Red Paddle Co Titan pump is an amalgamation of the two pumps. The Titan pump has two chambers, basically one side is a high volume/low pressure, and the other a low volume/high pressure. A unique double gear system actually combines the two chambers, so that when initially pumping, paddlers are using BOTH chambers to fill the board, allowing them to put in a whopping 4.71 liters, compared with just over 2 liters for the standard HP pump. When the pumping starts to get tough, one can switch the internal gear over to the high pressure chamber, allowing one to easily attain higher PSIs with less effort. An integrated pressure gauge allows one to monitor the process.
Over the past three years, Red Paddle has continued to tweak the inner design and construction, resulting in a killer pump with wider applications.
The new Titan pump – included with most of the boards – arrives rolled up inside the Red Paddle SUPs. If purchasing separately, the pump arrives in a box 24 x 13 x 6 inches weighing 6.2 lbs. Inside is the pump body with integrated pressure gauge, a detachable hose and a series of adaptors. Pump dimensions are 11 x 5 x 23 inches with a weight of just over 5 lbs. Basic instructions are printed on the pump body.
To start off, you will be using both barrels. While this is not mentioned on the initial instructions, on the back of the pump handle is a red plug with tether.
Insert this plug into the hole above the wider barrel and twist shut. What does the plug do? In conjunction with the inner pump design, plugging the hole allows you to use both barrels to push out air, increasing the air volume going into the board, and thus decreasing the amount of time it takes to fill the board out.
Screw the hose onto the pump. Tip #1: Make sure you screw the hose on carefully – if it gets cross-threaded, air will leak out and you will have a difficult time pumping the board up to necessary pressure.
The Titan pump now comes with a variety of additional adaptors – a Boston valve adaptor, nozzle adaptor and two screw-on adaptors. These are attached via a very nifty system, allowing one to use the Titan pump on inflatable kayaks, dinghies and kites.
In conjunction with this, the gauge now features three “green” zones – one from 1 to 4 PSI for lower pressure inflatables, one from 6 to 8 PSI for higher pressure kayaks and kites, and then the third from 15 to 22 PSI for paddle boards.
To begin with, twist the valve plunger on your board, putting it into the inflate position (air goes in but doesn’t come back out).
Then take the military valve adaptor (adaptor fixed on the end of the hose), and screw it onto the valve slightly to lock into position. Unlike some SUP pumps, the military valve adaptor is permanently affixed to the hose end, ensuring that the hose does not blow off due to high back-pressure. Start pumping up your board.
You will notice the gauge begins registering at about 1 PSI. At this moment we should point out that the gauge on the Titan pump works on back pressure. Original adaptors for the Red Paddle boards had bars inside, which allowed the plunger to be pressed open when the hose was attached. While this allowed one to get “real time” readings, the back pressure was so great that occasionally the hoses would be blown off the board – along with all the air just pumped in! On the Titan pump, the needle will rise as the pump is made, but drop back down when air is not entering, so watch how high it reaches to see what pressure you’re at.
Initially, pumping will be quite easy. Dependent upon your size and strength, pumping will start to get more difficult at about 5+ PSI – heftier people might even get it to 10 PSI.
When it is too difficult, switch to the single barrel mode by removing the red plug and putting it on the plug post – and out of the way. Once again, in conjunction with the inner barrel construction, this allows you to push air into the board using one barrel – less volume, easier pumping. Air running through the big barrel swooshes back out the hole, but as there is no “back pressure,” this is not an issue.
The imprinted instructions direct one to pump “into the green zone” which is 15 to 22 PSI on the pump gauge – recommended inflation for Red Paddle boards are 18 to 20PSI. Even the single barrel will get tough at higher pressures, so one may have to resort to the “half pump method” for the last few PSI. And while the instructions state the pump can inflate up to 30PSI, it’s more likely you would suffer a heart attack before then.
If using one of the other adaptors to pump up an inflatable kayak, dinghy or kite, begin by attaching the red coupler. Simply push the coupler over the end of the military valve adaptor, lining up the bar and slots, then twist slightly to lock into position. Attach the desired adaptor via the pin and slot system, and start pumping.
Some very nifty features make it a pleasure to use. First, the hefty, metal plungers feel solid, more-so than many of the entry level SUP pumps. And with double shafts, it seems less likely to pump off balance and crack.
The inline pressure gauge is also well-thought out. Pressure gauges are notoriously “touchy” and easy to bang, knocking out their needle. The built in housing takes much of this issue away.
Another neat feature – the ergonomic angled feet allow one to step back from the pump, making it a more comfortable stance and solving the problem of the pump handle hitting your knees. Additionally, the pump is designed not to “telescope” if you lift it by the handle; this is also aided by a clip system that attaches from the pump body to the red plug string, making sure the pump stays compact.
Not noticeable is the internal redesign to drastically improve pump performance and efficiency.
While some of the early 2016 boards included Titans with cracking handle issues, the later 2016 and forward Titans now feature beefed-up, reinforced handles to withstand more pumping pressure. The handles feel SOLID, and are actually wide enough to withstand some pressure and give some pressure.
In conjunction, the Titan’s have been designed for easy repair and replacement (see video above). Get a crack in the handle or gauge housing? The handles on the Titan pump can quickly be replaced by pulling up on the handle and unscrewing the shafts. If the pressure gauge needs replacement, the gauge easily unscrews from the housing. And 2018 Red Paddle boards actually include a replacement pump membrane in the repair kit.
We’ve used the Titan on Red Paddle boards, JP-Australia, Mistral, Jobe, C4 Waterman inflatable SUPs, as well as the AquaGlide, and Airis high pressure SUPS and kayaks and the Advanced Elements high pressure kayaks and floors with military valves.
And by utilizing the included red coupling, the Boston valve adaptor will work on Advanced Elements and AquaGlide low pressure kayaks, as well as attaching to the Innova adaptor. The screw-on adaptor from Advanced Elements can also be attached to the coupler.
All in all, the Titan high-pressure dual-barrel pump from Red Paddle Co is a winner, solving the problem of getting air in quickly, but with the ability to easily attain higher pressures with less struggle. While not as portable as many on the market (it’s bulkier and heavier) the Titan has become our go-to pump due to its diversity and ease-of-use. MSRP $149.95. See a video on the Titan pump, above.
You can also read our Guide to Inflating Your High Pressure Paddle Board. For more details or to purchase, visit the Red Paddle Co Titan Pump product page at http://www.AirKayaks.com.