YOUR KITE IS LOSING AIR – BASIC KITESURF REPAIR
If you believe that your kite is loosing air it’s quite easy to spot where is the problem with some simple steps. My name is Petar Pavlovic and in this episode I want to share with you my experience with kite repairs.
We will see :
- How to spot where your kite is loosing air and
- How to fix a tiny pin hole on the bladder.
FIND WHERE YOUR KITE IS LOOSING AIR
Pump up the kite and first try to move the valves and listen if you hear any air coming out. In older generations of kites the valves might get unglued. In newer generations of kites the valves are not ungluing but they might break.
There is also a chance that the kite is loosing air from the deflate valve because of the sand damaging the thread while you are screwing on the valve. A hole in the pipe connecting the leading edge with the struts could also appear.
If this is not the case, than there is most probably a tiny hole somewhere in your leading edge or strut bladder. To find out if the leading edge or the strut is loosing air you have to close the pipes and secure the kite in beach position.
If the strut is loosing air you might easily see it after a couple of minutes. If after 15 minutes the struts are still fully inflated the problem is most probably in the leading edge.
Maybe you might already feel that the leading edge is softer, if the leading edge is not obviously softer you can now open the pipes connecting the leading edge with the struts.
If while opening the pipe you hear a clear air movement this means that there is air going from the strut to the leading edge. This is a clear sign that your leading edge is loosing air.
How to fix the problem if the strut is loosing air?
KITE STRUT IS LOOSING AIR
Disconnect the pipe connected to the valve of the strut. Push the valve into the strut, open the tip of the strut and gently pull the bladder out.
NOTE some kite brands might have the small line with the knot on top of the strut, you should undo it before attempting pulling the strut out.
I will show you in the next episode for what exactly this line is used for. Once the strut is completely out, you can take a pipe from the leading edge of the kite.
Put it on the valve of the strut and pump the strut simply with your mouth or with the pump.
Be careful to not exaggerate because you might damage the bladder. Close the pipe and put the bladder under the water. Once you see the holes I recommend to immediately mark them with a permanent marker.
- Take the bladder patches that you might find in your kite bag.
- First take out the sand paper and gently rub it around the holes.
- Cut the edges of the patch into a rounded shape.
- Deflate and dry perfectly the bladder around the hole. You can put the bladder simply on top of your legs or any other non sharp object.
- Patch the hole.
NOTE, always patch the hole with the bladder deflated. I recommend to again pump up the bladder and check if there are additional holes showing up.
LEADING EDGE ON KITE LOOSING AIR
How to find where the leading edge is loosing air? How to fix small pin holes? The procedure is unfortunately a bit more complicated than with the strut.
I do not recommend to immediately pull out the whole leading edge bladder of the kite.
First you want to find where approximately your kite is loosing air. You can do it with some water and soup on top of the leading edge and see where the bubbles are formed.
Anyway I prefer to put the kite under the water, in my experience it is way easier to spot the bubbles. Sometimes there are just couple of bubbles coming out, because of the air between the material but if you see constant bubbles coming out this is most probably the spot your kite is loosing air from.
Now that you know on which side your bladder has holes.
- Take out just this side of the bladder.
- Open the wing tip.
- Disconnect the pipes from the valves.
- Push the valves into the kite.
- Open the zip which you will find in the middle of the leading edge.
- Ask someone to hold the wing tip Canopy or attach the back line of the wing tip on a stable fix point.
- Now you can gently pull the bladder out.
- Once the bladder is out, analyze where approximately you have seen the bubbles coming out.
- Use a pipe with the clamp that you can take out from one of the struts.
- Roll the bladder from both sides of the part where the holes are.
- Pump up the bladder with the pump or just with your mouth.
- Put the bladder under the water, try to spot the holes and again I recommend to mark the holes with a water proof marker.
- Once you think you marked all the holes, proceed with patching the holes as we saw before with the strut bladder.
- If you spot many holes close to another, would be good to use the big transparent patch that you might also find in your kite bag.
You can buy it from a kite repair shop, often the patch is called “Typa A”. Once you patched all the marked holes, repeat the process of checking the bladder if there are any additional holes showing up.
NOTE : if the holes are super tiny it is super difficult or even impossible to spot them as they would need a lot of pressure to start leaking. But with too much pressure as we said before, the bladder might get deformed.
SHOULD I BUY A NEW BLADDER?
So if after putting the bladder back in place, you realize that your kite is still loosing air, maybe the best solution is to buy a brand new bladder.
You can find all the brands and sizes of bladders on Dr.Tuba web shop or just repump your kite every 30min during your sessions. Because believe me, it can be a real headache to search for super tiny holes. But if you have time and patience keep on searching !