Why do stand up paddle boards have air vents? That question has been asked by many a new SUP buyer. After reading this blog, you will know the answer to this question and just about everything else there is to know about stand up paddle board air vents.
The Question Answered
So, why do paddle boards have air vents? Air vents release the gases that are created from the foam core that is the base of most hard paddle boards. If the gas pressure isn’t released, it may cause the board to expand which may cause material to de-laminate and the SUP fall apart.
The air vent also helps your SUP to regulate its internal pressure in environments that will cause the board’s pressure to fluctuate. Travelling through areas of with dramatic changes in altitude (mountains), or high heat (full sun on your SUP for hours on end) are perfect examples of such environments.
Types of Air Vents
Typically, there are two types of air vents that you’ll likely encounter. Self regulating air vents are hassle free. The vent comes with a fabric membrane that allows gas to escape from one direction while not allowing water to enter from the other direction. These are often described as maintenance free or hassle free air vents (which how Wappa Paddle Boards describes our vents). This is the superior of the two vent options.
Screw cap air vents, aka standard air vents are exactly as it sounds. Internal gas pressure can only be adjusted when the screw cap is loosened or removed. While the simple system is effective, the downside is in the practice. You have to remember to remove the cap when transporting or storing your SUP, and more importantly, you have to ensure that it’s screwed snugly when you’re on the water to prevent water from entering your board’s core.
Personally, I will take a self regulating air vent every day of the week. You don’t have to worry about anything with this type of vent. It truly is hassle free.
Does Every SUP Have an Air Vent?
No, every SUP doesn’t come with an air vent. Inflatable paddle boards do not have a foam core, so it isn’t needed. Paddle boards with a polyurethane outer layer also don’t use air vents. Polyurethane boards are constructed differently than traditional hard boards. Foam is injected into a polyurethane shell of poly boards. This construction method eliminates material layers so the possibility of de-lamination disappears. There are also a couple of fiberglass manufacturers out there that simply don’t use air vents. They simply believe their products may not de-laminate.
Care and Maintenance
There is really very little you have to do about the air vent in your stand up paddle board. This is especially true for self regulating vents. A best practice is to always rinse your SUP with fresh water after a day of use. Running water over your vent will help keep it clean and breathing. You don’t have to worry about removing a self regulating vent. Just keep it clean and forget about it.
Don’t get bent out of shape about air vents when shopping for your stand up paddle board. Most manufacturers shave not gone to the self regulating type of vent, but if you do see the screw cap, you should be aware of the differences. If you are comparing two boards that are equal in all ways except for the type of air vent, select the self regulating vent. As we say at Wappa, “it’s hassle free”.
The Wappa Blog
Written by Wappa's founder Layne Pennell, the blog's aim is to educate and share his love of stand up paddle boarding with anyone interested in SUP.
board performance explained
board care & maintenance
SUP for women
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