If you frequently use a piece of outdoor sports equipment, then it may get scratches, dings, and gouges in it. Serious surfers and stand up paddle boarders have probably repaired several small scratches and dings on the bottom of their boards. Instead of taking it in for repairs, they have learned SUP repair techniques to save money and get back in the water right away.
Types of SUP Materials
Stand up paddle boards are made from several different materials, which will determine how to repair them. Foam SUPs are the most common type of paddle board on the market because they are lightweight and inexpensive.
There are four types of foam stand up paddle boards:
- A combination of epoxy and fiberglass.
- Inflatable boards or I-SUPs.
- Roto-molded plastic boards.
- All foam or EPS/PE boards.
Other SUP materials include PVC for other types of inflatable boards, bamboo, plastic, and carbon fiber. Foam SUPs mainly consist of foam, plastic pieces, and wood stringers. Unless a board has a deep gouge or is broken, you should be able to repair your board.
Repairing Damage to SUPs
Unless you crashed the board against some rocks, you might not notice scratches or small dings in it until it is rinsed off before you put it away. Surface scratches may not need immediate repair, but you shouldn’t ignore cracks, dings, or small gouges on the board because they can get worse.
After a day spent out on the water, a SUP should be inspected while rinsing or cleaning it. Scratches, dents, and dings can be found during inspections, and they should be immediately repaired if the foam core can be seen.
Along with a visible inspection, perform the “suck” test to see if air has leaked into the board. The suck test involves sucking on a scratch or dent to check for air and moisture. If the board has air or water in it, it shouldn’t go back into the water until it is repaired. If there is water present, allow the board to drain before fixing the damage.
If you’re an experienced paddle boarder, then you should keep materials on hand with which to repair your SUP. Rather than buy the materials separately, purchase a ding repair kit to keep in your car or garage.
Repair kits usually consist of epoxy putty and a 60-240 grit sand pad for stripping the board to allow for repairs. The sand pad can be used by hand, or you can buy the same grit sandpaper and use a hand sander if you’re repairing your board at home.
Many repair kits contain putty that doesn’t need to be mixed, so paddle boarders can make repairs immediately after the board is damaged. However, other kits have epoxy and other chemicals that needs to be mixed. They also include cloth, sticks for mixing and applying the putty, and other materials for fixing the board.
Inspect the Damage
Before attempting to repair a SUP yourself, especially if you’ve never done it before, assess the damage to the board. While some damage is minor and may have only affected the paint and epoxy shell, deeper cracks or dings may have damaged the board’s fiberglass or foam core.
A good way to assess the damage is using the aforementioned suck test. Pour some water over the damaged area and place your lips on it to try to see if you can suck out air or water. If bubbles come out of the board, then the damage is usually deeper than it looks, and the board will need to be resealed.
Remove Compression Screw
The first step in repairing a SUP is to remove its compression screw. A change in air temperature can change the pressure inside the board and cause more damage. If the screw is left in, repairing the board can be almost impossible to do because air will get in the board via the ding or puncture in the board.
Having air inside a SUP can cause the surface to delaminate, which can cause the material to become brittle and easily break when any pressure is put on it. SUPs usually have an air vent to release pressure caused by altitude changes or heat from the sun. You should open the vent after being out on your paddle board to prevent delamination.
If the damage to the SUP is minor and no bubbles emerge during the suck test, you can use a roll of clear ding tape to get back in the water in just a few minutes. After assessing the damage, use the tape to seal dings, small cracks or holes in the board.
Clean the area where the damage is and let it dry in the sun or wipe it down to dry it. Then, place the tape over the crack or dent, making sure to pull it tightly so no air can get under its surface. Let the board sit in the sun for about 15 minutes, and then you should be able to get back into the water to have more fun.
Epoxy Ding Repair
If the damage on the board is deep, then use an epoxy repair kit to fix the scratch, dent, or gouge. This type of SUP repair can be done immediately after the board has sustained damage or at home, depending on the repair kit you’re using. If you need to mix the epoxy, then repair it at home to avoid getting dirt or sand in the putty.
Sand the Surface
If the damage has gone down into the fiberglass or the foam core of the board, use the grit sand pad to remove the board’s layers until you reach the fiberglass or foam. If no bubbles emerged during the suck test, then the damage may only have reached the fiberglass.
If that is the case, sand the board until it reaches the fiberglass layer and then apply the epoxy to cover the damage. After it has dried, you can spray paint the surface to match the color of the board and hide the repaired area.
If bubbles did emerge, clean the area and allow the air and water to drain out of the board. Next, remove any material that has come loose or that has sharp edges before sanding down to the foam core. You will need to use a kit that contains an epoxy resin, hardener, fillers, and fiberglass cloth to repair the board.
Applying Materials to a Board
Follow the instructions to ensure the necessary materials are mixed properly and to apply them correctly. When working with these chemicals, use latex gloves and a mask to keep from inhaling them while you’re working. The key to a successful repair is preparation, so take your time removing damaged materials and sanding the layers from the board.
If a crack or gouge is too deep, then you may need to search for a company that provides repairs by typing in “SUP repair near me.” If you cannot locate a business that repairs SUPs, surf- or wakeboards, a boat repair company may be able to help you. Most boats are made from the same materials as most paddle boards.
Carbon Fiber Repairs
Carbon fibers are woven together to cover the surface of a stand up paddle board, and if the board sustains damage, the board may need to be sanded down or have the material cut away from it. Although someone with experience may be able to repair their carbon fiber board, novices may need to seek a professional to fix it.
If you want to fix the board yourself, then purchase a carbon fiber repair kit. Repairing the board will be like repairing a fiberglass board but using carbon fiber cloth inside of fiberglass. While an epoxy can be used for quick repairs, to restore the board’s integrity, you will need to use a carbon fiber kit to waterproof it and replace the cloth surface.
Caring for a SUP
Taking care of your paddle board can prevent damage to it. When you take the board out for the day, try to find a sandy spot to lay down when it’s not on the water. The sun’s UV rays can damage the surface of a board, and the heat can cause the air pressure inside of it to increase, which can cause delamination.
Don’t lay the board on a solid, rough surface like asphalt as the board can be scratched, especially carbon fiber boards because they are more susceptible to damage. When you take the board out into the water, avoid rocky areas and don’t get on the board until you walk out into deeper water to prevent scratches.
Before putting the SUP away, rinse it with fresh water to remove bacteria, and inspect it for damage. If you find damage, assess it to find out what type of paddle board repair will be necessary. You should be able to tackle a minor SUP repair and get back out on the water as soon as possible.