View Full Version : Help - Water in the hole!

Hugh Jarmes
17th October 2006, 03:04 AM
Can anyone help?

I discovered yesterday (after a week end racing) that the rubber 'O' ring had perished completely on the board vent plug of my SB Formula 160.

I don't know how long it has been like that but the board had taken in some water - not a lot but enough to be "wicked" up when I pushed a rolled up paper towel in. It may have only been in there for a short time but it also might have been accumulating over a longer period.

I've continued with this "wicking" and have put the board in a warm room. I've also turned the board over regularly. Hasanyone else had a similar experience?

Has much damage been done? Can it be undone? and if so how?

Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks

8th November 2006, 12:38 AM
I did send you a message, instead of posting it. If you did not get it, here is my anwser in brief: Should be no problem, I did the same as you did, I even checked the board`s weight when I bought it, I checked it with several boards having cracks/vent open and beeing used: No "gain" of weight . . .

8th November 2006, 01:06 AM
Hi Hugh and ttr1999,
Check out the other posts on this topic at:
It's pretty fully discussed there.

11th November 2006, 10:20 PM
So why do some boards have vent plugs and some do not. Also why are boards made with foam that absobs water? There is foam at the lumber yard that does not absorb water and it is just as cheap as the white stuff? big Question is why with all this new shapes and technoligy have no board manufactuers made boards last longer?

12th November 2006, 01:17 AM
Hi AB,

Referencing the earlier posts made on a parallel thread that Roger identified, I noticed that you raised exactly the same questions and ultimately received no response. Seemingly it was a topic that nobody really wanted to tackle. I'm not a manufacturer in the business, and a result, I don't necessarily have a totally clear picture why everything is the way it is. Nevertheless, I think I can offer some basic information to give you a reasonable perspective.

First, in my experience, the boards made without vent plugs were either manufactured using very high cost molds, or they are made like surfboards using polyurathane foam which is closed cell in nature and does not readily absorb water. The boards made with permanent high cost molds must be manufactured in very large quantities to cover the cost of mold. Given the fast pace of design change in the windsurfing industry today, to include a lack of a sufficient interest of the sport, it's clearly more profitable to go very limited life low cost molding techniques that can be augmented by the hand crafting methods offered by specialized operations like Cobra International. This approach also has the advantage of permitting the manufacture of a broad array of different board designs to satisy many different interests. Without a doubt, the industry couldn't do this using high cost molds. in addition, it's my understanding that the high cost molded product is not nearly as stiff and light, which are very critical points of concern to the market base today.

With respect to use of polyurathane surfboard foam, the foam is quite a bit heavier as a core material. There is a version of ESP that is also closed cell in nature, but with it comes with a much heavier weight too. When looks at the surfboard industry, which is almost entirely based of custom hand crafted manufacturing techniques, it's interesting how successful it has been. But, when one seriously looks how less robustly surfboards are manufactured, it becomes a little clearer why this technology had difficulty finding a committed core in the windsurfing community. To achieve the necessary strength and ability to hold up in a windsurfing environment, the weight of the product is substantial in comparison with ESP foam boards. Still, two boards in my five board quiver are made from polyurathane foam, but these are high wind boards where lightness and stiffness aren't as important.

There are high tech materials and design solutions available in the engineering community, but inherent costs of their use quickly goes off the map. In reality, the strength of the available market is just not there. Maybe a few folks can afford the novelty of having something really innovative that is manufactured from real special high tech materials, but I don't think the majority of windsurfers can realistically afford the 5-10K board, and it could easily be much more.

From a practical standpoint, I think the use of ESP foam and a use of current known manufacturing techniques offers an excellent balance of the possibilities. Really, I've never had a real problem with ESP boards that incorporate a vent hole and plug. Actually, the inclusion of vent hole is needed, because one needs the option of opening it when traveling to elevations where pressures on the structure need to be relieved so a reasonable balance can be achieved between inside and outside environments. Otherwise, the mating of the skin structure to the foam core would be compromised, and even irreparably damaged.

Regarding board life, I find that 6-8 years is quite realistic, as I have repeatedly achieved this kind of viability. What can often determine a boards fate is not necessarily wear and tear, but the evolution of board design. That is fairly easy to see since very few folks today would buy a new board designed in the late 90s. Kind of like old styled clothes that are no longer desirable or fashionable.

Hopefully some of the above thoughts are meaningful. Maybe others will expand the discussion to offer more background or a different perspective. We'll see.