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The Outdoor Master Shark II SUP Electric Air Pump is a high-pressure pump designed to automatically stop pumping the instant you reach the desired PSI for your inflatable board — up to 20 psi.
To get us a closer look at the new Shark II pump, Outdoor Master sent Man Makes Fire a review unit. After testing The Shark II against a quality NRS manual pump, this is what we learned:
The Shark II SUP Pump Review
Most good inflatable standup paddle boards, a.k.a. iSUPs or just SUPs, come with a manual pump. After all, you can’t use the iSUP if you can’t inflate it. The trouble is, manually pumping up your paddle board isn’t a trivial task. I’m a reasonably large and strong guy, and it usually takes me at least 10 minutes to inflate my NRS Whip. At which point I’m usually sweating up a storm and noticing a bit of a burn in my muscles.
On most trips to the river or lake with family and friends, I also end up inflating all sorts of water play toys — tubes, animal floaties, kayaks, and sometimes a floating dock. By the time I’m done — even when I’ve enlisted help — I’m ready for a dunk in the water and then a cold drink.
If you’re inflating multiple SUPs each time you hit the water . . . well, that explains why you’re reading this review!
Enter ‘The Shark’
The key to The Shark II is that it can inflate up to three SUPs in a row and/or operate for about 30 minutes without overheating. Many competitive SUP pumps aren’t rated for that level of use. In addition, the cheap ones simply aren’t made to last. When cheap electronics overheat, they often die . . . forever. Interestingly, Outdoor Master says The Shark II has a patented interior design that helps keep the pump from overheating.
The pump has raised feet and vents to help with airflow, and Outdoor Master recommends that you position the pump on a flat surface — like the top of your board — during use.
The Shark II vs Manual Pumping: ‘It’s Fast!’
The most important feature of an electric pump to me isn’t the ease of use — it’s the speed. Electric pumps need to be at least as fast as I am with a manual pump, and ideally significantly faster to warrant the investment.
To test the relative speed of the Outdoor Master The Shark II SUP Pump, I decided to see how fast I could manually pump up my 9’2″ NRS Whip SUP. For reference, it’s a versatile play board that’s 6-inches thick and has 295 liters of air volume. Out in the wild on hot summer days, I generally pump it up to 10 or 12 psi even though it’s rated to 20 psi. Once it gets out of the water and sits in the sun on the beach for 15 minutes or more, the internal pressure rises due to the heat — and I’ll adjust it if I need to. How do I know? I use a solar-powered TRiB airCap, which measures the internal pressure of your SUP (or raft) and displays the pressure in realtime. It’s cool — read my full TRiB airCap review here.
Meanwhile, back to the test.
It took me just over 12 minutes to manually pump up my SUP with an NRS high-pressure pump to 10 PSI. If I hit it hard and ignore the burn in my arms and back, I can usually get it done a little faster. But 12 minutes represents the amount of effort I’m likely to deliver on most trips to the river.
To make sure this was a fair fight, I completely deflated the SUP and sucked out the excess air.
I then plugged The Shark into a 12v port in my pickup and attached the high-pressure air hose to the pump and SUP. I then set The Shark’s PSI to 10, started it, and hit my phone’s stopwatch.
The Shark II’s air pump runs in two stages automatically. The first is a quiet high-volume mode, followed by a much louder high-pressure mode. At about 1 psi, it kicked into the high pressure mode. How long did it take? Just 6 minutes and 20 seconds!
I was impressed. That’s nearly twice as fast as it takes me to manually pump up my SUP. If you have multiple SUPs to inflate each time you hit the water, you’ll appreciate The Shark II.
Warning: Once you use an electric SUP pump, you won’t want to go back to a manual pump!
In fact, the drawback to The Shark II SUP Pump is that once you use it, you won’t want to go back to a manual pump. When technology delivers something that’s faster and easier . . . it’s hard not to want it all the time. After all, the whole point of inflating the SUP is to take it out on the water. Who looks forward to inflating a SUP? No one.
How The Shark II Works
The Shark II is super simple to use. The pump includes several nozzles to ensure that it’ll work with your SUP’s valve; however, not all of the nozzles have the rubbery gaskets attached but there are a couple extra in the packing bag. You’ll need to make sure that you use a gasket on the nozzle or you won’t be able to make a high-pressure seal on the valve of your SUP.
For power, you’ll need a 12v outlet in your vehicle. Once you attach the hose to the SUP, you can use the LED control panel to add pressure in .5 PSI increments, from .5 up to 20 PSI.
Hit the power button and The Shark II will start inflating. Once it reaches your desired PSI, it stops pumping . . . but a quiet internal fan will keep running, presumably to cool the electronics.
It’s that easy.
If you like to deflate your SUP, the Shark II SUP Pump has a deflate mode, too. Works great.
Drawbacks and Warnings
The only real drawback to the Shark II SUP Pump is that you need to be close to a vehicle for a 12v power source — which, generally, most SUP users are.
A second possible drawback applies to any electric SUP pump: You’ll want to keep it from overheating as much as possible. Overheating limits the life of most electronics — especially the cheap competition. While the Outdoor Master pump has some cooling features built-in, it’s not immune to the laws of physics.
Consequently, if you’re pumping up multiple SUPs in direct sun on a hot parking lot, you might try to position the pump in the shade of your vehicle.
Some Important Notes on Air Pressure
Many people like to run their SUPs at a relatively industry-standard 15 PSI — and your inflatable SUP might be too soft to use at pressures less than 15 PSI. Based on what I see in the wild, most recreational SUP users — with kids, families, and groups — don’t bother pumping their boards up to even 15 PSI.
I’m a pretty heavy guy, and when I do get a bit more serious about performance, I’ll ramp the pressure up — not because I’m good, but because I’m 220 pounds and a stiffer board is easier to run. Of course, the NRS Whip is a short and high-quality board. I typically need more pressure with longer SUPs.
Once I started using the TRiB airCaps, I noticed just how much internal pressure can rise when you beach a raft, IK, or SUP and let it sit in the hot sun. After investing in a SUP, the last thing I want to do is cause a failure because I’m too busy relaxing on the beach to realize the sun is increasing the internal pressure. Of course, today’s high-quality SUPs are super tough and rarely fail, but I remain cautious anyway.
What I’m getting at is this: With a manual pump, especially one with an inaccurate pressure gauge, you might have called it good at 10 PSI and you never had any problems. With The Shark II, it’s easy to set your PSI to 15 and let the pump do the work — and you will get 15 PSI into your SUP. If you let the SUP sit on the pavement in the hot sun for 20 minutes while pumping up other boards and getting gear ready, the internal pressure will rise even more. It’s something to be aware of, particularly if you have budget inflatable SUPs.
Some newer SUPs — like the NRS Thrive series — have built-in high-pressure reliefvalves that open up if the pressure gets too high.
Meanwhile, you should know that other kinds of inflatables — like tubes, air mattresses, rafts, and toys — are designed for much lower internal pressures. Seriously, most whitewater rafts and inflatable kayaks have recommended air pressures of just 2.5 PSI. If you use a high-pressure air pump to inflate rafts or toys, you’ll want to use very different PSI settings or you’ll blow out the seams of your inflatables. So you need to be aware of that so you don’t set the PSI too high.
Of course, some rafts and inflatable kayaks — like the STAR Outlaw rafts or STAR Kayaks — have SUP-like high-pressure floors built in that can take higher pressures.
The warning point is this: You might know all of this already, but do your family and friends know it, too? Make sure they understand the pressure differences among water toys and inflatables before they grab the powerful Shark II pump and “help out.”
The Verdict: Outstanding So Far
As the SUP season ramps up where I live, the Outdoor Master Shark II SUP Electric Air Pump has so far exceeded my expectations. It’s easy to use, and most importantly, it’s twice as fast when compared to my go-to manual pump. The ease and speed means I’ll add the Shark II SUP Pump to my SUP carry bag — and I’ll update this review along the way with a longer-term update. The overall verdict right now? Highly recommended.