What Do I Do If My Paddleboard Gets Damaged

No matter how careful you are with your paddleboard there’s always a chance some mishap might occur.  It could be from slipping out of your hand onto a hard surface, or banging into a rock or something else while you’re on the water.  Scratches, dings, and dents are usually what we have to deal with when our board takes a hit.  So here’s a few options you have if you’re paddleboard gets a damaged.

First of all, paddleboards come in all types of sizes, shapes and constructions.  Some constructions can handle hard impacts and falls better than others.  For example, inflatable paddleboards made by red paddle co. are damn near indestructible.  But carbon paddleboards, which are incredibly lightweight, can damage more easily.

Most of us have regular EPS foam core paddleboards and these fall somewhere in the middle of the durability range and that’s what we’ll talk about.  But durability ratings can differ widely even among regular EPS paddleboards depending on what materials they are made out of and the way the manufacturer builds them.  In any case, they all (EPS paddleboards) basically can be repaired using the same methods.

There are a few routes you can take when your board gets damaged- fix it yourself, take it to a reputable shop for repair, or do a temporary fix until you can get it to a shop.  Most dings can be fixed easily enough using any number of epoxy based products available on the market.  But some may require removal of the damaged area and then rebuilding it with epoxy filler and new layers of fiberglass.  If you have a small ding that looks like it may take on water, there are also putty-type products that can be worked into the ding while you’re on the water to get you through the day.

There are online resources (The Board Lady, SUP Repair, Standup Zone) and books available that go into detail on how to properly repair a damage on your paddleboard.  For this post we’ll just go over some general aspects of paddleboard repair.

Assessing the Damage

The first thing to do if you ding your paddleboard is assess the damage.  Some impacts will crack the paint and epoxy shell of the board but not the underlying layers of fiberglass.  The way to find out is to pour water over the cracks and suck really hard.  If bubbles emerge as your sucking then the board is not watertight and needs to sealed.  If there are no bubbles then you can sand the damaged area down to the fiberglass and apply a few layers of epoxy.  You can then spray paint if you want to try and match the color.

Deep Cracks and Dings

Deeper cracks and dings will go through the shell and fiberglass plus the PVC or wood veneer and maybe even into the foam core.  In this case, the damaged area will need to be sanded down through all the layers to the core.  Any loose or jagged material from the core will need to removed and sanded evenly.  There are a number of materials that you will need to fix the ding including epoxy resin, hardener, filler (Q-Cell), fiberglass cloth and various mixing cups and tools.

There are kits you can buy that provide everything you need to repair several small dings to a couple of larger ones.  Or you can go to a marine store and purchase the supplies separately in bulk quantities.  You will also need to purchase disposable latex gloves and maybe an air filter mask for larger jobs as the dust from paddleboard materials can be very harmful to your lungs.

It’s messy work with all the sanding that needs to be done for preparation and adding new layers but it’s absolutely necessary to be thorough.  One important thing to keep in mind is that the more time you spend on prepping the damaged area, the better the repair will come out.  Learning to fix the minor dings is a good skill to acquire as it will save you some money and keep you on the water with less down time, so don’t be afraid to try it out next time your paddleboard has a bad day!


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