There are a lot of materials out there on paddle board repair.
I collect what I believe to be the best methods on how to make your inflatable paddle board not just usable but back to its old self.
To be honest, unless the manufacturer skimped on materials, leaks do not happen too often.
“So far in my experience using 10 + boards I have never come across a leak. But that doesn’t mean they don’t happen!
However, this type of phenomenon is a lot more common in boards that are over 3 years old.”– Editors Notes
In this guide, we go through, how to find a leak, and how to fix the leak based on different locations on the board including the valve, a puncture, and seam repair.
Lets get into it!
For tips on how to prolong the life of your SUP check out our How Long Do Inflatable SUPs Last? article.
Supplies Needed For Inflatable Paddle Board Repair
We will be categorizing this into 2 different sections: Valve Leaks and Punctures.
- Soapy Water
- Valve Wrench (Usually comes with the SUP)
- PVC Patches
- Vinyl Glue
- paint brush
- plastic putty knife
- 220 grit sandpaper
- marker/ pen
- rubbing alcohol
- paper towel
- heat gun or hair dryer
- Clamps (for larger seam repair)
What Kind of Repair Do You Need?
So your paddle board is leaking air. Maybe you heard a “Pshhhh” sound and had to frantically paddle back to the shore. Either way, it can be a terrifying ending to what could have been a beautiful paddling day!
Locate the Leak
Sometimes you may hear the leak and will be able to locate it instantly. Other times it’s a slower leak. What You need to do is…
- Pump the board to about 10 PSI
- Spray soapy water all over the seams (edges) as well as possible folding points or areas that get a lot of use (like the bottom of the SUP)
- Spray Soapy Water on the Valve
As soon as you start seeing bubbles expanding or smaller bubbles rapidly appearing it means you have located the leak!
How to Repair a Valve Leak
We will start off with the easiest fix. Oftentimes, after continuous inflation/ deflation use the valve stem, can start to come loose and as a result, a leak may occur.
Most of the time it’s pretty easy to repair a valve leak.
- Once You see air bubbling the soapy water on the edge of the valve deflate the board
- Insert the valve wrench (Almost all SUPs come with one or you can buy one off Amazon in case it can’t be found)
- Turn the Valve Wrench Clockwise to tighten it until it’s snug (don’t crank it)
- After Valve is snug, inflate the board and check to see if you hear air
- Do a double check by pouring a bit of soapy water where the old leak was.
- Is it not bubbling? You’re good to go!
If not, you will need to remove the valve completely from the paddle board.
- Loosen the valve counterclockwise with the valve wrench
- Once loose, screw the valve cap on to easily remove it by hand
- Take the Valve cap off and look at it
- Is the washer in good condition?
- Does the valve spring back into place?
- Does the Pin work?
- If one of these is defective order a new valve from your designated manufacturer
- Screw the valve back on and inflate!
How to Patch a Hole
Patching a hole will require a bit more DIY. You got your supplies, don’t you?
- Inflate the board to about 10 PSI and spread soapy water over the board, do this until you find soapy bubbles expanding or rapidly bubbling.
- Once you have found your leak you will be using your PVC patch. Cut the PVC patch to that it is at least 3 inches from the hole in all directions, Make sure it’s cut in a circle so it does not get caught on anything
- Trace the patch over the hole using a marker or pencil. If it’s on the rail, keep the board inflated.
- Use 220 grit Sandpaper to Scuff both the rough side of the patch and the traced area. You don’t need to do this too much
- Start applying a generous amount of vinyl cement glue (found on Amazon or your local Marine store) both on the traced area around the hole and the rough side of the patch. Make sure you get a lot of glue around the edges.
- Let the glue dry for 5 minutes. Use a glove to test and make sure that the glue is not sticky
- Apply the patch onto the traced area
- Use a hair dryer or heat gun to reactivate the glue. Use a roller or a spatula to ensure there are no heat bubbles. Rinse and repeat for best results
- Give the glue about 24 hours or more
- Inflate the board to 10 PSI and spray soapy water on it to make sure it holds a seal
Repairing a Ripped Seam
The seam is where the two layers of the paddle board meet and it is usually located along the rails of the SUP. The below video is very fascinating because the ripped seam on their SUP was over 16” long. Apparently, after the repairs, they use the SUP in a wide variety of conditions.
If that’s not a good endorsement for a repair job I don’t know what is! As described in the video:
- Step 1: Use Acetone to clran the damaged seam area (don’t get it outside the area that you are patching as it makes paint come off
- Step 2: Use sand paper to scuff up surfaces
- Step 3: Clean debris with acetone alcohol
- Step 4: Use clamps on this, test the clamping method out first before using it
- Step 5: Glue Area
- Step 6: Clamp it area using wood planks (in this case this guy usuees 8 clamps for the 16″ seam failure)
- Step 8: Let it sit for a few hours
- Step 9: Unclamp and let it sit for at least a day
- Step 10: Inflate at 11 PSI
- Step 11: Check seams by running soapy water over the board
Most of the time seam repair should be left to the manufacturer or a local marine shop that can do PVC repairs. Especially if its in the warranty period The above advice is more for if you have nothing to lose on an old board and you are a DIYer who likes to fix things yourself.
Other Information on Paddle Board Repairs
Before purchasing any SUP you should be aware of what kind of warranty the paddle board comes with and the return policy. Most quality inflatable paddle board manufacturers come with a minimum 2-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
So if you find that there is a seam or puncture (not created by misuse of the external environment) then it’s best to get in contact with the manufacturer and follow the specific steps they outline to get either a refund or a replacement board.
How to Take Proper Care of Your ISUP
With one or more of the above steps taken you might be a little bit more careful with your SUP now! Here are some recommendations as to how to take care of your inflatable paddle board.
- Clean Your Inflatable Paddle Board after each use, especially if it’s been in Ocean water! Don’t forget to dry!
- Do not drag your board to the water! Carry it! If it’s too heavy use a carry strap.
- Do not keep your SUP sitting in the sun for an extended period of time.
- Be warier of things that lurk below. I know it can be easy to get distracted but watch out for sharp objects like rocks, oyster beds, logs, or other sharp objects that lurk beneath.
- Deflate your board every once and a while. Even if you like keeping it inflated, it does put stress on the drop stitching. I make sure I deflate and do a proper cleaning job before each winter.
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