How to find an air leak in an Inflatable kayak

Owning an inflatable kayak is all fun and games until you get an air leak. Although inflatable kayaks are designed to be robust and cope with the knocks and bumps that come with regular usage, even for the most careful kayak owner, it is likely that one day you are going to find a small air leak or puncture.

The first challenge before repairing your leak is trying to find it in the first place. What are the quickest and easiest ways to find an air leak on your inflatable kayak? 

Finding an air leak on your inflatable kayak

Pinpointing the exact location of an air leak for repair can be frustratingly difficult, especially if you are in a hurry to get back out on the water. There are a number of tips that can help you to find a sneaky air leak, these include:

1.   Listen for the leak

Find yourself a quiet location, position the side of your face close to the kayak. Look out for either the sound of air leaking or the sensation of airflow on your face.

2.   Use water

If you are at the beach or near a body of water, the easiest way to find a leak will be to bring your kayak out onto the water. Take the kayak out into water with a pair of goggles, go deep enough that you will be able to swim underneath it, whilst swimming under the kayak look at the bottom and see if you can see any bubbles escaping, this will identify the leak location.

3.   Soapy water

If you are not able to get into deep enough water, combine a bucket of water and liquid soap – preferably a soap that will lather well. In sections cover your kayak with the soapy water looking out for a concentrated or moving area of bubbles.

Once you have identified the air leak make sure to mark its location with something so that you do not lose it and have to repeat the whole process again!

How to avoid getting air leaks on your inflatable kayak

Stay clear of sharp objects

Although it might seem obvious to keep your inflatable kayak away from sharp objects, it is easy to get carried away when on the water and forget to check your surroundings. The most important surroundings are those underneath your kayak which are regularly forgotten about. Is there a fallen tree or branch underneath your kayak that could easily cause damage without your knowledge? Before setting out on the water it is important to understand the environment’s possible risks, corals, rocks and branches can be a particular nuisance when kayaking in shallow waters.

Do not drag your kayak on rough ground

When transporting your kayak to and from the water, in an ideal world you would carry it avoiding the risk completely, however when this isn’t possible it is important to keep an eye on the ground. Aside from gravel, twigs and stones there is also the risk of dragging your inflatable kayak over broken glass, bottle caps and other litter which can easily cause damage.

Do not leave your kayak in direct sunlight

Although it may seem obvious to watch the air pressure when inflating your kayak, in hot weather you should be extra cautious. If your kayak is fully inflated do not leave it in direct sunlight, heat causes air to expand meaning the air in your kayak will expand and put extra pressure on the seams. The longer it is left in this condition the higher the chances of your kayak seams suffering long term damage.  

Having an air leak on your inflatable kayak can be extremely frustrating, use these helpful tips to find the air leak and avoid future ones.

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