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How to Properly Repair Your Inflatable SUP - Turn The Tide, a blog by HeySurf

iSUP Repair Guide for Beginners

Getting out on the water with your inflatable standup paddleboard iSUP is exhilarating and exciting. Removing yourself from the pressure of everyday life and being able to engage in so many versatile activities like surfing, fishing, racing, and even just exploring, is great for stress relief. However, a fun day out on the waves can quickly turn sour if your iSUP gets a puncture or tear. Luckily, we’ll go over some easy steps to follow so that if you do find your board slowly deflating, you’ll be able to perform a quick iSUP repair and continue on with your day!

Diagnose Your iSUP Immediately if in Doubt

HeySurf - How to Properly Repair Your iSUP - If in doubt, diagnose immediatelyDiagnose your iSUP immediately if in doubt: Hissing sounds, soapy water and bubbles, and eye for detail

If you’ve been pushing yourself and your iSUP to the very limit and suspect something might be wrong with your board, diagnose your board immediately by using the following 3 methods to check for signs of rips and tears:

1. Hissing Sound

In some cases, you might hear a faint hissing sound, which could indicate a small puncture where air is escaping. If this is the case, try and place your finger in the area where the sound is coming from. Once your finger blocks the source of the leak, the hissing sound should stop and you’ll know where your puncture is.

2. Soapy Water and Bubbles

Once your iSUP is filled with a suitable PSI, spray your board with soapy water and keep a lookout for any bubbles that form. Bubbles will show up where there is an air leak and will be clear indicators where your board may have small punctures or tears in it. 

3. Eye for Detail

In some cases, if the puncture or tear is severe enough, you’ll be able to see where it is. In these cases, your board may lose air quickly, so performing an iSUP repair is of the utmost importance.

How to Repair an iSUP Puncture or Tear

HeySurf - How to Properly Repair Your iSUP - how to repair your iSUPHow to repair your iSUP if it has a puncture or a tear?

In most cases, an iSUP repair is pretty easy. When buying an iSUP, you will usually also have a repair kit included, which has most of the things you’ll need for a great iSUP repair. If you manage to get to the puncture or tear before it gets too large, you’ll only need around 30 minutes to fix your board, but you’ll need to leave it for 24 hours before you can get back out on the water again. Below is a quick step-by-step guide on how to perform an iSUP repair. 

1. Locate the tear

Use any of the three methods listed above to find where your tear or puncture is. 

2. Sand the Surface

When you find a tear or puncture, use sandpaper to make the edges of the hole more porous. Only sand lightly.

3. Use Adhesive

Make sure you have a purpose-built iSUP adhesive, such as the Aquaplanet PVC Repair Glue that you can use. Using things like store-bought glue and super glue will not be strong enough, nor formulated to retain its bond when submerged. Apply the adhesive around the hole, using only a thin layer.

4. Cut out a Patch 

In most repair kits, you will find material that you can use to patch up your board. Cut out a patch shaped like the hole, leaving half an inch extra around all sides of the tear to achieve a perfect seal. 

5. Apply the Patch

Apply the patch over the adhesive and hold it down firmly. Make sure to remove any air bubbles as this will make the seal imperfect and continue to allow air to leak from the repaired area.

6. Let it Dry

Leave your iSUP to dry for 24 hours so that the adhesive has time to bond properly before it is put under stress.

FAQs About iSUP Repairs

If you suspect your board is definitely losing air but cannot find any trace of rips or tears, here are some commonly-asked questions that might help you to figure out what’s wrong with your iSUP.

1. Why is my iSUP Losing Air?

HeySurf - How to Properly Repair Your iSUP - what to do when your iSUP is losing airWhy is my iSUP losing air? - Air loss over time and faulty valve

1.1 Air Loss over Time

One of the most common ways that your iSUP will lose air is just through the passage of time. If you keep your iSUP inflated without adding air to it every so often, some of the held air in your board will escape. It’s sometimes hard to tell when this process happens since it’s so gradual and long-term. To avoid having to do a hasty iSUP repair on the waves, check your board’s air pressure regularly.

1.2 Faulty Valve

If your board has a faulty or loose valve, you’ll almost certainly have a board that can’t hold air effectively. While this may lead you to think you have a puncture or tear, make sure you always double-check that your valve is airtight and strong before taking your iSUP out for a spin. It is always a good idea to include a few spare pressure valves with your gear in case this occurs. This will prevent you from making unnecessary iSUP repairs.

2. What Caused my iSUP to Get Damaged?

HeySurf - How to Properly Repair Your iSUP - what caused your iSUP to get damagedWhat caused my iSUP to get damaged? - Sharp Objects, Broken Seam and Change in Temperature 

2.1. Sharp Objects

iSUPs are made up of extremely durable drop-stitch and PVC materials, which allow them to take a beating without losing any air. However, it is still possible for even the most robust iSUPs to get punctured occasionally. Anything from jagged rocks to sharp coral, and even just bumping into rough manmade objects, can cause a puncture. 

2.2 Broken Seams

The top and bottom layers of an iSUP have to be glued together at the sides. This glue can weaken over time and cause tears if its integrity is weakened. To prevent this from happening, make sure to avoid leaving your iSUP in direct sunlight for too long and keeping it at max PSI for long periods of time.

2.3 Temperature Changes

If you live in an environment where the temperature changes drastically, it can also cause your board to lose air and result in a tear. Expansion and contraction of your board allow air to escape, which is far more common where temperatures fluctuate drastically. Temperature changes could also degrade the integrity of your board and result in tears where glue is present or punctures if the pressure gets too high. 

What to do if You find a Tear or Puncture

If you’re out on the water and notice a puncture or tear, it’s imperative that you begin making your way to shore immediately. Even small tears and punctures can get worse if they are not fixed quickly. Once you’ve made it safely to shore, you can begin your iSUP repair.

Always Keep a Repair Kit On-Hand

When buying an iSUP, you will usually also have a repair kit included, which has most of the things you’ll need for a great iSUP repair. In case you’ve lost yours, or your board didn’t have a repair kit included, you should definitely pick one up so you aren’t left stranded if you have a rip or tear to fix. A repair kit is truly one of the must-have accessories for a safe time out on the waves and for your own peace of mind.

Remember, as long as you take care and prepare, you probably won’t ever need to perform an iSUP repair! 

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