Is your SUP deflating?
If you are on this page it is because you have a problem with your inflatable stand up paddle. You are in the right place to fix this problem and resume your walks on the water in complete peace of mind. Before you start looking for possible leaks on your paddle, be aware that the air temperature (inside/outside the board) can affect the pressure within your paddle.
Together, we will see that leakage problems on inflatable paddles are often easy to repair.
We give you some tips on how to repair leaks yourself in this article.
WHY IS HE DEFLATING?
If you want to solve the leakage problem, you must already understand why your paddle is deflating. This may be due to misuse (friction against the ground, impact in rocks…), normal wear and tear (loosening of the valve) or poor manufacturing quality. The quality of manufacture of low-cost stand up paddles is often the major cause of leakage. The quality of manufacture of low-cost SUP is often the major cause of leakage.
The factories then use tarpaulin peak used for waterproof bags while we use semi-rigid boat PVC. To reduce the amount of raw material, cheap stand up paddles are made of only one layer of PVC, they are made of “single skin” while we sell “double skin” SUP. This single skin is much more fragile and sensitive than a double skin that will last twice as long.
The rails of the board are also made of single skin on the low-end paddles, whereas they must have at least two to resist and stiffen the SUP.
FIND THE LEAK
To find the leak on a deflated stand up paddle, it must already be inflated (a pressure of 13 psi is sufficient for this operation). As with a bicycle inner tube, the easiest way to find the leak is to use soapy water. The best thing here is to spray this water on the paddle and write down with a pen where small bubbles form. The larger the bubbles, the greater the leakage.
In general, leaks are located along the board rails or at the valve.
The most common paddle leakage problem is in the stand up paddle inflation valve. This is a recurring problem because the valve is activated each time the board is inflated and deflated.
It is very easy to adjust thanks to the valve key in your repair kit. Indeed, the valve is composed of two parts aimed at each other. The first one is in the stand up paddle, among the dropstitch and the second one outside, the one you use to inflate your board. After many uses of the stand up paddle, these two parts can be unscrewed, allowing air to pass through. All you have to do is insert the key into the valve and tighten the upper part in the lower part.
At this point you have solved the most common leakage problem.
THE RAILS: A SCOURING PLACE FOR PADDLES THAT DEFLATE
Rails are sensitive area to leaks because they are the jonction between the top and bottom PVC. The risk of leakage is all the more important if you have a low-end stand up paddle made of single skin. Indeed, these low-cost models are not designed to last, for example, a single layer of PVC is applied to the rails when it is the most impact-prone area. Then, the rails must seal between the top and bottom of the board. This simple layer on the rails is not enough, it makes the rails of the board fragile and much less rigid.
To repair a leak on a rail, it is first necessary to define precisely where the leak is located and mark it with a pen so as not to lose it. Then, use a super glue and a vacuum cleaner. First empty the board of its air and vacuum it by connecting the vacuum cleaner to the valve. When this is done, glue is injected into the hole, it will be sucked into the hole and will therefore block the leaks. Finally, press with a thin, solid (but not sharp) object on the glued area for about 5 minutes. Then let your board dry for a few hours and you can inflate it again and spray it with soapy water to make sure there are no leaks left.
REPAIR A HOLE WHEN YOUR BOARD DEFLATES
If you open your repair kit you will find (at least at Sroka Company) a valve key, a Neoprene handle for high-end models, a piece of PVC and stickers. It is with this piece of PVC that you can repair a hole on a smooth surface. To do this, it is essential to mark the hole as seen above, then clean (with acetone) and lightly sand the surface to facilitate the adhesion of the glue. Cut the PVC of the kit according to the shape and size of the hole, leaving 3 centimetres of margin around the hole.
In addition, we do not provide PVC glue in our repair kits because we do not have the right (from a criminal point of view). We advise you to go to a hardware store and get a special pneumatic PVC PU glue : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kapokilly-Inflatable-Swimming-Puncture-Adhesive/dp/B07SC8MC93/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=1PY4XU27FLX09&keywords=pvc+boat+glue&qid=1562229340&s=gateway&sprefix=glue+pvc+boat%2Caps%2C176&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1
Once the glue has been applied according to the pot instructions, leave the paddle to one side for at least 48 hours before inflating it again.